Whatever industry you operate in Market Research is an essential element to help understand who your customers are and what they want. Once you truly comprehend your target market and their demands, then you are poised to become a genuinely customer-centric company.
Conducting Market Research via traditional channels can be expensive and time consuming, but Social Media provides your small business with a platform to reach a vast audience and best of all it’s free – apart from your time.
As a small business your ideas, strategies and approach to your company is limited to your internal culture and way of thinking – why limit yourself?
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Co-creation is basically as it sounds – the process of creating products & services with your customers to enrich customer experience.
In a world of homogenisation and same same same, co-creation can help set you apart from your competitors big and small. The level of involvement is dependent on your industry and company and you can choose to co-create with customers at a very basic level or collaborate with your most creative and talented customers to help shape your future products and services. Having your most talented customers design your products/services is also an excellent method of recruitment.
For those customers who aren’t involved in the co-creation process, they’ll see you connecting and collaborating with people just like them and identify you as a creative company who cares about what customers want. So many brands nowadays are capitalist driven managed by power hungry egomaniacs – the exact opposite of innovative co-creation.
Ask your Customers
How do you know what your customers like and dislike if you don’t ask them? Asking questions is the easy part, it’s how you listen that’s important.
Joining groups on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook will enable you to conduct Market Research by asking direct questions to your customer base. Be creative and create polls to gather feedback, they’re easy to set up and quantify into useable statistics – this is known as Quantitative Research
Qualitative Research is the process of understanding the opinions and experiences of your customers which can be collected by asking more open questions. Groups and forums are ideal platforms, but also consider using something like Google Hangouts which can be used much like a focus group.
Explore & Discover
Market Research doesn’t just have to include asking direct questions, running polls and facilitating focus groups. The beauty of Social Media is the ability to listen to your prospects, customers and close competitors.
Groups are an ideal way to engage in Social Listening, but you can dig a little deeper into their comments with friends, family and other brands. Determine their likes/dislikes and attempt to identify any patterns common to your type of customer.
Spy on your competitors too, especially the larger companies as there’s a ton of conversations which will allow you to understand trends and provides a higher level insight into your industry. Local competitors should also be monitored so you can identify any gaps in the market where you can tailor your products/services to fill that gap.
How have you conducted Market Research on Social Media and what successes/failures have you experienced?