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Five Effective Ways to Use Social Media For Marketing Research

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There is a great way to explode your business through marketing research, by learning social media techniques to capture more customers than ever before. Traditional methods like focus groups, observation studies and product sampling often require extensive time, energy and expensive investment capital.

Thanks to the wonder of social media, the world's most powerful communication method, marketing research can now easily reach hundreds of thousands, even millions of potential customers, to grow your business exponentially. A global pipeline of data keeps the world connected, and nowhere is its presence felt more strongly than in social media. Every split second around the clock, photos, emails, and feeds are transmitted, including live conversations taking place, from every part of the world.

For example, how many of us know that:

  • One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook
  • Approximately 3.540 million tweets are transmitted daily.
  • Pinterest is the social network that skews most heavily towards female users, while Google+ is predominately used by men.
  • Over 300 million photos are uploaded daily to Facebook via Instagram
  • 61 percent of members use LinkedIn as their primary professional networking site.
  • So now, do you get the picture? - Platforms with access to many potential customers.

    Utilizing social media to grow your brand attracts buyers for your products or services, reducing your costs and the results can dramatically improve your investment, and obtain immediate results, while simultaneously expanding your market.

    Five Best Techniques Using Social Media For Marketing Research

    1. (1) Outline a plan:
      To maximize returns, develop a list of questions and submit them to targeted social media networks. You must decide beforehand if you plan to answer questions - or if you decide to observe the participants, and if so, this can help to optimize your plan further.

      Once your blueprints are created for research, a follow-up is easy to execute.

    2. (2) Identify Target Groups:
      After selecting a group, research social media networks that most internet users prefer using, particularly if what you are trying to sell will cater to certain age groups. Although social media is worldwide - some people only use selected networks on a regular basis. Identifying your targeted group and choosing social networks appropriately, you are maximizing your potential to collect information to interact with the audience.
    3. (3) Opportunity:
      Dealing with social media feedback allows several opportunities to shoot off questions and comments on conversations. Social media experts say there is much gain by monitoring trending topics and live interactions which likely to be progressive-with exceptions of some negative feedback.

      Asking pinpoint questions to gather opinions from participants the process can move forward quickly. So consider creating a hashtag to keep things flowing. A hashtag is a word or phrase prefixed with the symbol#. Social media users can search for a hashtag and get the message that contains it. Winning over potential customers is more likely when it's easier for others to join the debate.

    4. (4) Simplify the Process to Utilize Lists and Search Features
      Don't let this scare you. It's easier than you think. Social media also include searching, tagging and tracking features. For example. Google Circles and Twitter lists are prime examples. Compiling potential targets into lists, a business owner can check in on conversations, those who share data and postings, and with a few "clicks" this mode allows the marketer to separately bypass monitoring profiles and streams.
    5. Use Third Party Tools to Enhance Research

      Here are four popular tools you can use to maximize research:

      1. HootSuite: a powerful, useful and configurable social media management application, with many options and settings. You can monitor and post to several popular networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Plus. Premium options allow access to many more profiles, for example, for social media managers with multiple clients. Hootsuite runs on your computer, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. On a Mac desktop, Hootsuite runs via "Fluid" on OS X, and is said to use much less resources than Adobe Air (used by Tweetdeck).
      2. tweetdeck
        Tweetdeck screenshot

      3. Tweetdeck: Now owned by Twitter, Tweetdeck operates with an internet browser, or installed as a separate program on your computer or other devices. The desktop program is based on the Adobe Air platform, which is free, safe, and easy to install. Tweetdeck runs on iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Chrome browsers, where you can watch streaming updates in real time.
      4. SocialOomph: SocialOomph allows you to schedule tweets, track keywords, promote profiles and create unlimited profile accounts without charge. The premium services expand on what you can do for free and add a huge range of desirable options.
      5. Ping.fm: Ping is a one-stop shop that that provides access to almost every known social networking platform. If you have hundreds of social media profiles and accounts, Ping.fm is a great option for updating them by using one application.

    Other tools like Buffer, Twitterfeed, Spredfast and SocialFlow are additional tools for effective use.

    There are so many tools that it is hard to keep up, plus over the past few years, there have been many consolidations, buyouts, and shutdowns. Choose a tool from one of those above and try it out to see if it suits your needs. Then you will have a base to work from, and you can do more research on tools if needed.

    Social media is a massive source of marketing research information, and to succeed, you must understand the benefits of creating an effective research plan and use the available tools to maximize your search for customers.

    Clarence Walker is a veteran business writer, news media journalist, as well as a writer of (SEO) search engine optimization material, and blending social media writing into articles for blogs and websites. As owner of Communication Specialists in Houston Texas, Walker provides a variety of writing services, such as: writing business plans and proposals, ghostwriting, copy writing business research and editorial services. Reach Clarence at communicationspecialists@aol.com Read more of this bio and stories by Clarence Walker.

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