market research

In 2016, Dove started their famous #SpeakBeautiful campaign, which turned out to be a global success. The campaign helped them double their sales and, most importantly, significantly reduce the number of body shaming comments on Twitter.

What’s interesting here is the fact that the entire market research for the campaign was conducted on social networks.

Social media has become one of the most powerful forms of market research, as it has a high ROI, have real-time data, and help you collect unbiased and accurate results.

Here is how you can use these channels for your market research.

Choose the Right Social Networks

When doing your research, you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin across all social networks out there. Each social network is different, as it has a diverse target audience and caters to different niches. For example, if you are in the fashion industry, you will focus on conducting your research on Instagram and Pinterest, not LinkedIn. You need to choose those channels that make sense for your business and that your customers use.

Collect Both Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Quantitative data comes in a form of actual numbers you can compare it and use it to assess your strategy’s effectiveness. As for social media, this could be likes, shares, comments, the number of followers, subscribers, reach, share of voice, mention volume, etc.

Qualitative data, on the other hand, represents the sentiment about a particular topic. It could be sentiment analysis, word contextualization, theme categorization, or industry trends. This form of research tells you what your customers think about your customer services, products, or brand, without providing you with the exact numbers and stats. To conduct qualitative analysis, you need to listen to your target audience on social networks and there are numerous social media monitoring tools that will help you here.

Perform Competitive Analysis

The number of businesses selling the products similar to yours is rising. And, if you don’t know how to put yourself in front of the right people, you won’t survive.

This is why you need to perform social media competitive analysis. This is the only way to see what groups of people they target, what marketing strategies they use, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

By monitoring their performance on social networks, you will be able to identify and replicate their most effective marketing techniques, as well as avoid the same mistakes they make. You will also be able to find out what type of content resonates well with your shared audience and focus on it to boost your engagement rates.

Find Influencers

Influencer marketing gives your brand credibility and boosts brand awareness.

However, finding the right influencers may be tricky.

To recognize an influencer on social networks, you need to know that they have:

  • A wide following
  • A niche authority
  • An understanding of marketing
  • A solid brand image
  • Brand consistency, reflected in their content, as well as their tone, voice, and language
  • High persuasiveness and target audience engagement

Start by analyzing your social media followers, check their profiles, and see how authoritative they really are.

You can also analyze your most prominent hashtags. For example, if you’re selling organic food, you will look for people who are using this hashtag and look for influential people among them. You can use hashtag research tools like Rite Tag, Hashtagify, or Trendsmap to make this process simpler.

Collect Real-Time Insights

The major benefit of social networks lies in the fact that they give you the opportunity to gather your customer insights in real-time.

For example, with the help of social media monitoring tools we’ve already mentioned above, you can easily track your brand and product mentions, as well as get notified once someone mentions you.

This is especially important for those businesses that are experimenting with new forms of content, changing their branding strategy, or launching a new product and want to hear what people think of it.

Never Use Social Media Research Alone

No matter how valuable they are, social networks don’t have to be the representative of your target demographics. Precisely because of this, you should combine it with other research options.

For example, social networks go hand in hand with paid surveys. The way this works is pretty simple- you choose a reliable survey platform, set up a survey, and then promote it widely on social networks. And, knowing that they will get paid to take surveys, the participants will focus on providing honest answers.

You could also post a survey on your site, send them via emails, or work with focus groups.

Just make sure that you make your survey about your target audience and not you. Explain that the purpose of the survey is to make them happier and to provide them with a highly personalized user experience.

Review, Clean, and Publish Your Data

Now that you have your data, you need to review it one more time. Try to detect all irrelevant, misleading, and low-quality answers and remove them from your report. This process is extremely time-consuming, but it helps you focus on those aspects of the research that really make sense.

Then, you need to segment your data. You could classify it based on different target demographics (their age, location, etc.) or even your learning objectives.

Finally, you need to publish your results. It could be anything- a case study, a whitepaper, an infographic, a slideshow, or a podcast episode.

Build a Strategy Around Your Data

Your social media market research helps you understand what strategies work for you and what not. Most importantly, it will help you understand your customers better and tailor your marketing efforts to their expectations.

This is why you need to use the data you’ve gathered to set some realistic objectives, make goal-oriented decisions, and mitigate some common problems.

Do your market research regularly, keep pace with the trends and changes in your industry, and make sure your data is accurate and up to date.