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How to Improve Your Market Research with Social Media

In order to run any kind of consumer-fed business, you need to have an understanding of your target market which adapts as that market changes. It's nowhere near as clear cut a process as it used to be, but social media has given rise to an incredible set of tools that sit directly beneath your fingertips, it's just a matter of knowing how to use them.

An understanding of analytics is one thing and having a good social media presence for your business is another, but if you aren't using it to properly research how to develop your sales structure, you're sitting on a pile of wasted potential the size of The BFG's favourite pimple. With the right know-how, you can turn market research into an essential tool which is neither costly nor time consuming. These tips will help you to figure out how to use social media to optimise your market research aims.

Find the Right Platforms

Assuming your business caters to a very particular target audience or demographic, there will invariably be social networks they spend more time on than others. If you're selling handmade throw-rugs and your primary social media platform is Snapchat, someone left the cake out in the rain. Once you've figured out which platforms are more worth paying attention to, you have to dig a little deeper. Facebook, for instance, has so many different arms of communication, each with their own patrons. Groups largely appeal to those who are minded towards sharing and promotion, whilst others use event pages to earmark things they might be interested in later down the line, even if they aren't actual events. Refine that even further and you'll have direct access to reams of information which you can use to hone your marketing plan.

Understand Trending, and Make the Most of It

Trending topics are essential to market research, as they reflect what people are talking about most at any given time. Finding parallels between different trends and comparing and contrasting them can help you build a cross-section of their audience and further probe into what they do and do not respond to. All you really need to do is track a few key hashtags and add and subtract day-to-day as new things come up and old ones fade away. If you dig a little deeper though, you can use it to figure out exactly how to communicate with your audience in a way which they are responsive to. Learn how a 'like' relates to a 'share' and how they accumulate to yield the best results. If you figure out how to broadcast content in such a way that it gets signal boosted by other users, you're giving yourself a huge leg-up.

Get Survey and Focus Group Information Effortlessly

In the days of yore, you had to actually go out into the street and survey people, or invite them into focus groups in order to pull vital information about target markets. Now, that information is all online already, all you have to do is find and interpret it. Say you're running a company for car parts and you want to whether customers prefer to be offered mechanical advice or actual service. Jump on Twitter and Facebook, search for a few key words, start collating the data and boom, pie charts everywhere. You can even sift through promotional posts by other companies and look at how often they've been shared or liked to gauge exactly how popular the offer was. You can even look for post-offer feedback. If the marketers of yesteryear could see just what a vast pool of resources social media has granted us, they would probably wet themselves.

Language is Absolutely Key

Once you have a better idea of your target market, you need to learn how best to communicate with them. In the same way that different demographics favour different platforms, they have different ways of communicating based on age, location and many other parameters. If you come across like a company trying to understand your audience, rather than one which actually does, you're going to alienate yourself from them. It's not enough to simply ask questions, you have to figure out which questions are worth asking, and then you have to word them in the way most likely to garner a response. Nobody will believe that you want to engage with them if you don't appear to understand them. Pay close attention to key words and phrases on social media, as well as the structure of posts and use that to figure out how to structure yours.

Manage Your Time Around It

While market research is vitally important, it doesn't need to eat up a great deal of time. In fact, you can quite easily map it around the rest of your schedule in such a way that you're spending less than an hour a day on it. There are a wide range of analytics tools online which allow you to collect and collate social media stats without much effort on your part at all. Happily, we already wrote up a handy list of the best one, so be sure to head over and check that out to see which one suits your business best. Beyond that, you should have a consistent presence on social media anyway, so work that to your advantage, take information down each time you check your traffic and user engagement, compare it with previous loggings and try things out to see how they land. Social media is constantly changing and you have to keep pace with it, but as long as you're active on a daily basis, it's not that hard.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info: TheSMFGroup.com
How to Improve Your Market Research with Social Media Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, October 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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