Imagine you've decided to buy a new camera, choose a restaurant for the anniversary, or book a hotel in a place you've never been before. Would you just take something that is first on Google search or rather ask your friends and community for advice? According to American Lifestyles 2015, 7 out of 10 Americans seek other's opinions on products or services before making a purchase.
Since 2015, when this research was done, the only thing that had changed is that people are now looking for advice on social media. For that reason, brands need to pay extra attention to how their products are perceived on social. Social media research can give an answer to this and many more questions.
What is social media research, and how does it differ from traditional methods?
In a nutshell, any research method brings you to the same result, which is data. The difference is how you collect this data, which amounts you can process, and how precise the final information is.
When talking about traditional research such as focus groups or in-depth interviews, people share their thoughts and beliefs realizing, they are interviewed. In this case, what they say is biased, no matter how objective they try to be. Humans try to rationalize their decisions by nature, so it's almost impossible to find the exact reasons behind their actions.
Also, classic research methods are limited by the number of participants that a brand can afford to interview. Besides, unlikely that you would be able to gather people representing all the age groups, education or income level, and other demographics.
On the other hand, social media research allows solving all the mentioned issues. Using a social media intelligence tool like YouScan, you can discover undistorted opinions of the needed audience faster and cost-effectively.
How social media research can help your business
As with any marketing activity, you should first decide why to conduct research and what answers you plan to get. Also, you can do research in-house or delegating this task to a dedicated team. For example, some of our clients prefer to request Ad-Hoc research from our team to save time and resources.
What are the main business tasks that social media research can help with? Below we will list the main ones:
Brand health evaluation. Get an understanding of your actual brand media coverage and reputation. Learn your audience better, including demographics, customer's sentiments, influencers, and platforms popular among your clients.
Campaign analysis. Evaluate the effectiveness and coverage of your campaigns. See how the audience reacts to your ads and whether you've reached the planned KPIs. Discover user-generated content and the most influential creators.
Audience research. Become closer to your customers by examining their geography and demographics, discovering top influencers, brand advocates and detractors, find out the popular consumption situations as well as the extraordinary ones.
The main trait of social media intelligence is that you can discover more sophisticated insights rather than simple metrics available via the social platform's built-in analytics.
How to gather and analyze social data?
Analyzing the effectiveness of a global marketing campaign, for instance, requires processing large volumes of mentions within multiple social platforms, geography, and even time periods. Nevertheless, a social media intelligence tool can effectively leverage this task without involving focus groups in each country, region, and city.
For example, in March 2020, Nivea has launched the Share The Care campaign, encouraging people to take care of each other. The initiative was widely discovered worldwide, so analyzing the audience's reaction in different regions was crucial.
With the help of YouScan, you can discover where the campaigns became most discussed and the audience's sentiments in different countries. For instance, Nivea's promo received the most significant response in India.
Meanwhile, the campaign has got primarily positive perceptions in Russia, while Spanish users mostly disliked it.
Find out more details and tips on social media research regarding geography in our article dedicated to cultural insights.
Brands can also research industry trends to create products in demand and appealing communication campaigns to promote these products. YouScan offers several features that let our users track and monitor tendencies, and the Trending words chart is one of them.
In the case of cruelty-free cosmetics, which also refers to natural and organic products, we can see the significant change in what types of products people are discussing more on social media. It turned out that the interest in natural skincare products is fading while organic products are becoming more discussed than before. Maybe brands should pay more attention to getting organic certificates to satisfy their customer's needs?
Even if your company doesn't plan to refuse traditional methods, social media research can effectively accompany and expand the dataset for further analysis. While people share more and more content online featuring their experiences with products and services, monitoring social media for customer insights is strategy number one for each marketer for the upcoming years.
Do you want to conduct research by yourself? Request our free demo and discover the hidden insights easily.