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Social Media: The essential market research tool

Market research can be costly. It can also be so time-consuming that the results are outdated by the time you get them. So how can social media play a role in giving you affordable and up-to-date market insights?

Market research plays a pivotal role in shaping brand strategies, from product development and customer service through to advertising campaigns. Previously, in-depth research was an expensive and arduous process. For example, if you wanted consumer feedback on an advertising campaign in the past, you’d usually only get it weeks after the campaign had run to its conclusion. These time and cost implications can create a significant gap in your market, competitor and customer intelligence, which are likely to translate into lost business opportunities.

Luckily, social media monitoring offers a way to fill in these holes, giving you ongoing insight into the latest developments in your consumer environment and competitive landscape. Any marketer that isn’t using social media to learn more about his or her audience, their needs and brand perceptions is ultimately missing out.

Let’s consider three scenarios where social media provides a powerful research tool:


Hearing the voice of the customer

Social media chatter is a valuable source of information, giving marketers highly accurate insights into what consumers think about their products and services. Rather than framing questions in your own corporate language, you’re hearing opinions from the consumer’s point of view whilst in their personal social environment. It is these unfiltered consumer insights that can often be the most enlightening.


Gathering competitive intelligence

Social media listening provides a window into your competitor’s businesses, not only in terms of their content and positioning but also the public’s engagement with their brand. These kinds of insights are invaluable in understanding the competitor landscape, and deriving successful engagement tactics with your target audience.


Tracking marketing performance

Social listening tools can yield fascinating insights into the performance of your marketing and advertising campaigns. These tools give you access to some meaty quantitative data – Are people talking about the campaign and how much of the conversation has a positive or negative tone? – as well as qualitative information – Do the conversations show that people are taking the right message from your adverts? Effective tracking is the key to measuring the success of your marketing efforts.


Building research communities

Social media communities are a great way to build up a research group. For example, if you’re a makeup company, you could ask your Facebook fans what they think of a new shade of eyeliner you’re considering launching. You can then use this input to shape product development and market positioning.


Closing thoughts

Listening to conversations about your brand on social media platforms can provide valuable consumer and market research insights. Social media monitoring should play a vital role the creation and execution of a strong online marketing strategy.

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