Internet 3 Key Steps to Using Social Media as a Market Research Tool

3 Key Steps to Using Social Media as a Market Research Tool

Social media is not just about getting ‘followers’ or ‘likes’. It offers great potential even in terms of providing insights that businesses can use to fine-tune their products (or services). This is an excellent opportunity for small businesses that don’t have an additional research and development budget. And in case you have planned a budget for the same, you can decide to save that money by leveraging the benefits of social media as a research tool.

Asking your fans, followers or customers for their feedback on different social platforms is a proven way of collecting the raw material that you can use to fuel your market research program. But do you know how to go about it?

Well, given below are three key steps that you can follow –

#1. Get Ready to Ask
Before you start delivering targeted questions to your fans (or followers) on social media sites, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions first. The purpose of asking these questions is obviously to identify the goals of the research that you plan to conduct.

Consider asking yourself questions like these –

How can we modify our product to boost the sales?
Why are customers dissatisfied with our services?
What’s the percentage of our brand’s loyal customers (and how can it be increased)?
What new ideas can we use to reinvent our business?

Depending on your specific requirements, you can ask yourself multiple other questions which relate to your niche industry. Yes, asking yourself such questions can quickly help you define the research goals (information that you want to collect about your customers).

#2. Know How to Ask
Now that you have the goals (possibly focusing on one or two significant issues) very clear in mind, you know what exactly you need to ask your customers. However, that’s not all. The way you ask is more important than what you want to ask. Definitely, you don’t need to be an expert market researcher to do the job. However, there are a couple of things that you can keep on top of your mind to make the feedback-collection process a smoother one.

You can either conduct an online survey or take an online poll. Or else, you can also put together an online survey with a contest, to increase the degree of participation from your customers or fans. Offering prizes or freebies to participants can really take you a long way.

Creating online consumer communities is also an excellent way of connecting with customers for a steady stream of feedback. You can also use a hosted feedback forum to collect the same. UserVoice is a good example, if you want to try hosted feedback forum.

#3. Collect Feedbacks (and Analyze)
Finally, it’s time to analyze the feedback that you’ve gathered from your customers, brand fans or followers. Organize all the data in an efficient manner, so it’s easy to cross-reference. In the light of your research goals, you can now scan the entire data and eliminate confusing or inconsistent answers.

Going one step further, you can also break down the collected feedback on the basis of date, time, location gender etc. In any case, don’t forget to share the findings with other people in your team (if you’re working on the research project single-handedly) so that best decisions can be taken.

How do you use social media? Please don’t hesitate to talk about the research value of social media in the comment section below.

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Comments

VPN Software and Reviews 20-01-2012, 11:49

You have write great post regarding Social media, most of the peoples only knows how to like and share his material, but before the expand your content you should think what and why. A good research and plan will be better for every business
thanks for sharing these nice ideas.

Julia Agnes 24-01-2012, 11:18

Great post! But what social platforms I should use? Twitter, facebook, stumbleupon?