The Role of Social Media in Market Research: SoDash
As an undergrad student, I recall working on a new product development project for a retail company in my final year. In order to get a good understanding of customer needs and wants, I had to recruit a number of individuals to get their ideas on the new product that the company planned to launch.
At the time, I undertook a survey, the only way to really observe and understand the market back in those days. Although this procedure was quite common, it was very expensive and time consuming. Fortunately, things have changed for the better in the last few years and, if you know where to look, you can find a wealth of information that can help inform your marketing strategy.
Today, with the existence of countless social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it’s far easier to get customer opinions before you launch a new product, service or start an advertising campaign. Of course, whilst social media platforms are full of valuable information about your customers, you need in-depth analysis in order to make sense of it all.
That’s where an online tool like SoDash comes in that can connect to a larger number of social media data sources than any of its competitors. It allows you to listen and collect social media commentary and information that relates to your product and industry and make far smarter marketing decisions.
Setting the Right Goals
It is vital to set clear goals and objectives before you start any marketing research. A clear idea of what you actually want to achieve with any research helps you ask the right questions and access the appropriate data that can benefit your company.
For example you may want to ask:
- What do our customers think of this new marketing or advertising campaign?
- How many people are thinking of buying the same product or service from us compared to our competitor?
- What are the things that customers like about our product?
Once you set clear goals then you can generate a relevant report based on gender, age, and time frame as well as other parameters which can lead to more in-depth analysis. For example you can run a traffic report based on a particular geographical location for a particular gender.
Remember social media is a very noisy environment with lots of irrelevant messages. You can get more accurate reports by refining your search criteria by using a social media tool and gain greater insight into your customers by doing this. It can be a complex process but success brings huge benefits which ultimately boosts your visibility and productivity.
Learning from Competitor and Customer Responses
You can also learn a lot by watching your competitors’ customer feedback on a similar product or service to the one you are going to launch. This can help you to avoid the mistakes they make as well as learn from their more positive experiences. It can also help you to find the areas where new products will be a success.
You can use social media to predict customer reaction: For example, before launching your next big TV advertising campaign you can first test the waters by using social media. You can find out what your core fans think and feel about your campaign before you actually spend large amounts of money on buying media space.
Good market research can, of course, also help you to avoid PR disasters as well as save you money from implementing badly thought out advertising campaigns. One recent example was the Sainsbury’s Christmas campaign where they spent a large budget tying in their products and services with the general interest in the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The campaign attracted a significant amount of negative opinion, something that could have been spotted had the company used a tool such as SoDash to initially test the waters before getting out their cheque book.
The Report you need to make you the best social media marketer
One of the benefits of leveraging the information available on social media platforms could be setting monthly or quarterly reports based on same date searches. The big benefit is that this can be done in a very cost effective way with a social media tool like SoDash.
- You can get a sentiment breakdown report to see what people think about your brand every month.
- You can see which channels are more important for your audience.
- You can discover what words or phrases have been used by your customers compared to last year or last month.
This can help you to find the best keywords related to a particular industry or brand to use in your own advertising. These brand attributes will help you to shape your marketing and partnership strategy and ensure you stay on message with your audience.
In summary, a good social media strategy using a tool such as SoDash can help to categorize your data and gain more insight into your customers buying behaviour. It is a highly cost effective way of carrying out market research that outperforms the old fashioned survey and, when used properly, can add great value to your marketing activities now and in the future.
By: Alireza Ajam