Market research gives your small business a significant competitive advantage, providing valuable insight into customer behaviour and buying trends in your industry. And with 80 percent of internet users active on social media, never before have small businesses had such access to consumers and what makes them tick. By integrating social media into your market research, you can keep your business ahead of new trends and give your customers exactly what they’re seeking.
Niche Identification and Customer Engagement
Though your business has probably carved out a niche, within every profitable niche are dozens of micro-niches that wax and wane in popularity. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer search features that let you quickly determine the niches that are hot or emerging. A quick industry-related hashtag search is often all it takes to discover an untapped goldmine.
With social media, you can also engage with customers directly and in real-time to assess how they respond to a new product, idea, or marketing outreach effort. Rather than administering market research surveys in the form of rote questionnaires with which respondents rarely engage deeply (if they respond at all), you can get on the same level as the consumers you’re studying and engage with them as a peer.
Market Research in Minutes, Not Days or Weeks
With traditional market research methods, it takes days, weeks, and even months to begin collecting data. Not only can this delay you from confidently moving forward with a new product launch or marketing campaign, perhaps catching a new trend with perfect timing, but it also poses the risk of supplying you with outdated data. In a fast-moving, technology-driven society, the shelf life for “hot” and “trendy” is short and getting shorter.
By conducting market research via social media, you can obtain valuable research data in hours or even minutes, potentially giving you an immediate green light to move forward with what could be your business’ breakthrough idea.
Identifying New Ideas by Listening and Observing
Perhaps the most significant drawback to traditional market research is the researcher steers the conversation, scripting specific questions beforehand for respondents to answer. The result is the responses are often limited by the researcher’s preconceived ideas, and no new thoughts or new information gets brought forward.
Social media market research lets you get in the trenches with consumers, listening to them rather than leading them, letting them lead the discussion and dictate the conversation, and you often pick up new ideas in the process. Social media also gives you a wider scope of research. You have literally millions of consumers at your disposal, people you can quickly sort by any criteria you like, moving swiftly from one demographic to the next at the click of a mouse to gain a wide range of perspectives.
Market research tunes you into the pulse of your customers and helps your business give them what they want when they want it. By combining the power of market research with the reach of social media, you can make your product launches and marketing campaigns more successful than ever.