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Social Media Market Research Do's and Don'ts

Social media research and insight is a powerful tool for companies in this day and age. It’s more important than ever to understand why. Social Media Examiner found that using social media for marketplace insight ranked as the third most valuable benefit of social media, with 72 percent of those spending 11 hours per week using social media for research reported seeing benefits. That’s a huge number!

As companies turn to social media research, we wanted to share how to get the most out of this method.

The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Market Research

Is social media the new way to listen to consumers? Learn even more about using social media as a market research tool.

Using Social Media for Market Research

With 78 percent of companies planning to further integrate or begin integrating social media data into marketing campaigns, more and more companies are recognizing the value of social media.

In fact, 68 percent of business-to-business companies currently use social media for gathering intelligence. Business-to-consumer applications are slightly lower, but still more than half (59 percent) are on the social media intelligence gathering track.

What kind of data are these businesses looking for through social media? wanted to answer this question. In a survey of marketers, researchers found respondents use social media analytics tools for:

Key Takeaways from Social Media Market Research

With so many marketers using social media, there are sure to be some pitfalls, or “don’ts” along the way. Here are a few to watch for:

Making the Most of Your Data

With those negatives are some great positives, or things you can do. What is social media market research best for? Remember, social media produces a LOT of data, so you should take time and effort to find what you need for actionable insights.

Social Media’s Role in Research

Social media also impacts and complements other forms of market research. Social media can be used to measure the number of mentions of certain brands before a survey, which can in turn be used to narrow down the number of questions in a survey, lessening respondent fatigue and leading to increased responses. Social media also can be used to complement traditional surveys by providing easily dividable demographic data. Interestingly, a major incentive for survey respondents is information; they want to know what comes of the survey. Traditional surveys are generally proprietary and cannot, therefore, be shared, while social media data generally can be.

Kinds of Research You Can Do with Social Media

The bottom line is that social media can and is used for just about every kind of market research. It is in need of some adjustments and wider adoption by market research specialists, but much of the resistance to it is rooted in its stark contrasts with traditional research methods, which makes for a good balancing pair.

Social media is great for identifying and quantifying trends over time and in real time, in fact, it is not unusual for social media analysts to sift through more than 100 million conversations for the purposes of study. It is a cost efficient tool for research; it improves customer targeting; it helps to identify industry influencers; it’s great for tracking competition; and it helps to inform and contribute to traditional research methods. Social media also can be used to search for qualitative insights, a process that does not necessarily require a great quantity of comments, and an “aha!” moment can come from as little as one.

According to Ad Week, 52 percent of brands use Facebook analytics to monitor the customer experience. Thirty-eight percent focus on brand identity, while 32 percent look at corporate identity and crisis management within its analytics. Public relations also scored high at 31 percent. However, only 23 percent of social media analytics programs are initiated in marketing and communications departments—a sure sign of potential for growth in the New Year.

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