Streams of data are being generated every second on social media, making it a goldmine of information for marketers. Social media analytics has grown to be a significant part of market research. Although the term is often misunderstood, it refers to both the collection and analysis of data from social media platforms. A large amount of data can be gathered through social media analytics, thanks to the widespread use of smartphones as well as the emergence of numerous online communities on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, more recently, Tik Tok.
It’s our job as marketers to understand the wants and needs of our target audience. Since we want to better understand our customers and discover new business opportunities, we conduct market research every year.
Consumer preferences can shift rapidly, making traditional market research insufficient in some cases. Focus groups are useful for gathering information before launching a new product or campaign, but they are less so for gathering feedback from customers after the product or campaign has gone on sale. Furthermore, annual polls reveal little about what current events or trending topics are most important to the public. You need to incorporate social media market research into your strategy to stay on top of the latest trends and keep a more accurate pulse on your audience.
It is possible to better understand your brand’s intended audience by conducting market research on it through social media. Sprout Social allows you to collect and analyze data from all of your brand’s social media accounts in one place, even if you don’t use social media for market research.
The data collected and analyzed from social media can go a long way toward ensuring that insight professionals remain aware of the larger market and pointing in the right direction when measured against the business and individual departments’ SMART objectives. We can use it as a sort of road map to follow and change course as necessary.
Social media isn’t really about brands, but rather about people connecting over common interests, whether they be with family, friends, or total strangers. This is important to keep in mind as we try to use social media to advance our strategies. ‘Likes’, retweets, shares, and comments on both consumer and brand posts, as well as the keywords that appear in those posts, are all forms of social media data. To cut through all the noise, there are tools that can help us sort out the most valuable data from that posted daily by millions of users.
Is this relevant to market research? To be sure, social media insights can be applied in many different ways to improve an organization, but the best way to ensure that a brand makes the right choice is to combine various research methods. With all research methods, there are flaws that can be easily remedied by other techniques: Consumer behavior on all platforms, not just on social media, can be better understood using behavioral research techniques; virtual and augmented reality techniques can be used to immerse participants in a situation and see what they will actually do rather than relying on what they say they will do.
There are a few mistakes that an insight professional might make while conducting social media analysis, but with the help of resources and guides, blending social media insights with other research methods will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of our audience.
Benefits of Social media market research
- Affordable: The advantages of social media market research are within reach of the average consumer. Surveys and focus groups can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size and complexity of your research panel, but social media is much less expensive.
- Quick. Because social media is constantly updating in real-time, traditional market research methods can take a long time.
- Comprehensive: As of 2020, there will be 3.6 billion social media users in the world, and tools like social listening make it easy to analyze the conversations and trends surrounding your entire industry, not just your own business.
Methods for Using Social Media in Market Research by Businesses
Let’s take a look at three ways that brands can use social media to conduct market research:
- Analyzing Qualitative Content with Analytics
Brands can use social media analytics to see how their social media pages are doing in terms of engagement, likes, comments, and shares. Brands can gain a better understanding of the types of content and products that are most well-liked by their target market by evaluating these various metrics.
In addition, brands can use these metrics to compare their own social media pages with those of their competitors in order to conduct competitor analysis. There are many ways in which a brand can try to outperform its competition on social media by using the same strategies that its competitors are using to gain more likes, followers, and engagement.
A brand can get an idea of what kind of content they need to post on Instagram if they post a picture and notice that it is being shared more than their average post.
- Social Listening
Listening to what people are saying about your company, brand, product, and/or service on social media is known as social listening. It enables brands to learn what their customers are saying, how they feel, and what they need from them. In order to improve their marketing, operations, and financial metrics, companies can collect and analyze this type of customer data. You can even use social listening to find out what the public has to say about your competitors.
It is possible for a company to search through tweets that contain the hashtag of their brand or product name, for example. An assessment of the various conversations about their brand will help them better understand the positives and negatives that are associated with it.
- Conducting surveys or polls
In order to better understand the preferences and opinions of their customers, brands can use social media to conduct polls or questionnaires. Twitter and Instagram, two of the most popular social media platforms, both include polling capabilities.
As an example, Instagram’s ‘Instagram Stories’ feature allows its users to conduct polls. Most of the time, the people who follow the user will read and respond to these stories. In addition to the poll’s results, the user can see who voted for each option, as well as the total number of votes.
Brands can quickly and accurately learn more about their target audience thanks to social media marketing research. Using social data to identify new opportunities and improve customer relationships empowers brands to make better business decisions.
Social media insights have the power to transform organizations in a variety of ways, but the idea to ensure that a business is making the right choice is to combine various methods of research. With the use of KPIs like cart desertion rates, repeat order rates, and comparisons to a historical baseline, some data analytics companies like Algoscale have started with a campaign analysis to ascertain the success rate of the various price promotion campaigns. With this solution, they pinpointed KPIs that made it easier to select and carry out successful promotional activities.