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Things to consider before using Social Media in Market Research

The internet and use of social media have fast become part of the everyday lives of our society. Many people check their accounts before even getting out of bed in the morning and before they’ve even made that integral first cup of coffee. Social networking has become one of the most efficient ways of connecting with a widespread audience and was even predicted a top trend for 2018 in being a powerful tool to provide ‘good customer experience’, but how useful is it for the market research industry?

Most businesses and organisations make use of at least one form of social media. In terms of benefits, this allows an organisation to…

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However, when it comes to market research, organisations are usually wanting to find out about specific aspects of their service or attitudes and behaviours of their consumers. We previously posted a blog explaining four ways social media can be used as a useful tool for market research, however, to do so effectively there are a few points that should also be considered.

Lack of detailed opinions

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Whilst using social media monitoring analysis can provide a vast amount of real-time customer opinions, when commenting online individuals often fail to speak in-depth about their experiences usually focusing on one specific good or bad area. Market researchers therefore need to be conscious of the lack of context and potential bias when analysing online comments about a company’s services and be wary that these comments alone may not provide enough insight.

 

Inaccurate target audience

Social media can be a great way for companies to gain an idea of their target audience as customer insights are readily available and keywords can be easily 

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tracked. Having said that, if the aim of research is to gather specific information on this target market such as location, age, ethnic groups or gender then this can be difficult by monitoring online communications alone, since many individuals can often be wary of having too much personal data online. For example, comments made on forums can often only be associated with the username of the account as no other personal identifiers are shared. This means brands may be left unaware of the specifics of who they’re successfully, or unsuccessfully, appealing to and how they can improve.

In addition, an issue of sample bias can arise since avid users of social media will not be representative of the entire population. The networking format means not everybody is able to see everything posted on the platform, but only what is circulated within their own network. This can cause issues for market researchers, especially if administering a survey, since the results will more likely suffer from a degree of bias and therefore will lack population validity.

Continual evolution

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The world of social media is one which is continually growing and developing with a daily increase in users and the dynamics of each site frequently adapting to cope with this increase. This causes an issue with drawing conclusions from data collected at different periods as the way it’s collected and distributed online will quickly change, becoming less valid for the company and possibly less representative of your target audience. Issues with the technological capability of surveys can also develop from this, as any surveys will need to be appropriate for multiple platforms whilst also being able to cope with the changing nature of respondents.

 Whilst it is true there are many benefits of using social media in the market research industry particularly with new ideas for optimisation continually evolving, it is evident that these social platforms do have limitations that should be considered and accounted for before being relied upon to collect data. 

 

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This entry was posted in Market research, Social media, tagged Social media, Mobile research, Market Research and posted on July 17, 2018


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