Friday, June 1, 2012

The Value of Social Media as a Market Research Tool

You've got a Facebook page and/or Twitter account for your business.  You're letting followers (hopefully also your customers!) know when you're market is open, what's happening on the farm, what events you've got planned for them, specials you're offering, and so forth.

Source: http://www.homegauge.com
This article, that appeared on Mashable, reminds business owners of the value that you can pull from social media engagement with your followers. So, how can the messages and information on social media help you and your business?  Here are the author's five points:

1. Shed light on perceptions of your brand.  While you may not think you have a brand, you do.  You have a reputation and the public and customers have perceptions of you, the business, the products you produce and/or sell, your employees, your customer service, etc.  So take advantage of social media and take note of comments and questions that followers make. 

2. Peek into your customers' heads. By keeping tabs on what your customers are saying, you learn what is important to them.  This knowledge can help you frame questions that you may have, determine what you can provide that they will value, or if you should make changes to keep up with new trends.

3. Understand which products resonate the best.  When you post something to Facebook or Twitter, which items are generating the most buzz?  How many comments are followers making and what are they saying?  Are your posts being shared? This information is there, use it.

4. Learn from major customer issues.  Sometimes a follower/customer will post a complaint or question(s) that you thought was clearly communicated.  These things happen. Rather than becoming defensive, take these occurrences as opportunities to learn and make necessary changes.  Remember to respond to these complaints and questions, on- or off-line as appropriate.  Kathy Kelley provided tips on responding to negative reviews in this past blog post.

5. Construct a social media customer conversation plan. Similar to developing a social media strategy (for content sharing), consider developing a plan on how you and your team will interact and converse with followers/customers on social media.  How will you categorize social media feedback?  What conversations do you want to have?  If you have more than one person involved in your business's social media presence, who will be responsible for different actions?

Source: www.buzzom.com

Make sure that you're taking advantage of the information your followers and connections are sharing via social media.  You could be missing out if you're not "listening" as much or more than the amount of sharing you do.

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