Analytics, Data & Metrics, Social Media Marketing

Marketing Research: How to Use Social Media to Get the Answers You Need

Marketing research is critical to effective marketing, but it can be expensive and time-consuming. Use social media to connect with your audience now and get the answers you’re looking for without breaking your budget.

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Social media can be an invaluable tool when conducting marketing research. A large portion of your target audience members are on their social media accounts right now, scrolling through their newsfeeds and passing the time. Connecting with them via social channels can help you answer some of your most important questions—without the expense and complexity of in-depth market research. If you aren’t leveraging their potential, you’re missing out on this crucial aspect of engagement. Your followers on social media can make a significant difference in your ongoing marketing research.

Start by Asking Questions

The easiest way to get the answer to a question is to simply ask it. Use your social accounts to ask customers questions you want answers to. This can be done either directly or indirectly, and the worst thing that can happen is that nobody answers. If you have enough followers, the chances of getting no answers are relatively slim.

What kinds of questions can you ask? You can ask anything that is relevant to your target audience. You might ask a straightforward question like “What do you think about our newest commercial?” You could also set up a poll to gain an in-depth understanding of which product or service your customers find most useful. Games such as “This or That” can be used to both get answers to an important question (or two) and engage with your target audience in a fun, hands-on way.

Asking Is Easy, but Listening Is Harder

If you ask questions but don’t listen to all the answers you receive, it won’t do your company any good. In fact, the way you listen to your customers speaks volumes about your business. Remember that not all the answers you get will be ones you want to hear, but that’s okay. That is, in fact, a big part of what marketing research is about—and those negative responses can be used to identify areas where your company can improve.

Don’t Be Afraid to Spy—A Little

While it sounds sneaky, social media is the perfect place to spy on your competitors. This doesn’t mean you should steal any of their ideas, but knowing where your competitors currently stand and what they’re doing can be an invaluable part of your marketing research.

As a bonus, keeping an eye on the competition will also allow you to see what your target audience is saying and doing. Your direct competitors have the same target audience, so “listening in” to what their customers are saying can help you with your own business.

Track Social Media Engagement

Engaging with your target audience is a key aspect of inbound marketing. The idea of engagement is to make customers feel important and to help build trust in your brand. If you don’t know how well or how often your target audience is interacting with your content, however, then you can’t be certain anything you do on social media is working.

Use analytics to find out which topics and types of content your followers engage with most. Your best-performing content platforms and formats are where you’ll most easily get the answers you’re looking for from your followers.

You can use social media to get the answers you need when conducting marketing research. By asking questions, actively listening, tracking your competition, and monitoring engagement, you can get many of your questions answered. The best part about leveraging social media market intelligence is that it’s based on direct feedback from your most important audience—and it can help improve relationships and engagement along the way.