Most companies and business professionals are already involved in social media marketing trying to promote their products and services and generate leads. However in addition to using social media for marketing, advertising and promotion there is another big potential of social media which is leveraging the data available for your business research.
Social media is a perfect place for your business research for numerous reasons such as the fact that the data is already available free or for low cost depending on your research requirements, the data is real time so you can track and monitor important information for your business and social media in addition is an open communication channel to engage, get real time feedback and test your new ideas.
Let’s see some major benefits of using social media for research:
1. Social Media Focus Groups
Use social media to create your presence, build fans and followers and use this place for your focus groups. The single most important benefit of social media is engaging your customers and prospects. You can get real time feedback on your ideas, comments and questions and it is absolutely free. Your fans and followers are already pre qualified based on the fact that they follow your activities. Until recently this type of direct feedback and engagement was time consuming and expensive process.
2. Social Media Surveys
Use your followers for your surveys. By simply providing link to your online survey now you can get direct feedback from your followers. When you need small sample size you can generally finish the job in 24 hours. If you need a larger sample size you can include some free bonus to encourage larger number of respondents. For example, in a recent survey for new product development we needed to gather very short and specific feedback from at least 50 respondents and we used a short 3-question survey which requires less than one minute to respond. By using only two of our twitter channels (smallbiz1 and excel4marketing) we finished the job in 24 hours.
3. Targeted Engagement
Social media channels allow you to engage customers and prospects based on any criteria you need. For example Facebook allows you to target not only market segments but you can even target users at a specific individual level. By using Facebook ads for example you can target very strict set of criterions based on any demographics like age, location, social status, group affiliations, interest and engaging them at a specific times you define. With a well targeted and specific offer today you can engage anyone in the world.
You can easily identify your target market affiliations and interests in your competitors. How many followers they have, how often they engage them, how they communicate with their followers, what social media channels they use, what types of promotions they use, etc. You can do this research for free. All you need to have is a well planned approach and plan of what you need and you can monitor this periodically or even daily. You can learn some important lessons from the success of your competitors and apply them to your business.
5. Better Define your Target Market
There is no better place and media than social media when it comes to defining your target market. By having direct access to your followers you can easily analyze them. You can get all of the following information and even more based on what is relevant for you: location, individuals, businesses, what they talk about, how they engage, what they like, what makes them respond, their affiliations, what promotions they respond to, etc. This is a perfect information for defining who exactly is your customer and identifying ways on how to improve your business.
Just like social media is important for marketing, sales, promotion and branding it is equally important for your business to take advantage of these ideas and start using social media for your business research and analysis. Develop a plan what you would like to achieve and what are the important data and information you need to gather continuously and start doing it. It is simple, free and it will definitely help your business.
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