Market research is an essential part of successful online business. Even the most perfectly designed product is useless if no one wants to buy it. And if your business model is hopelessly out of step with reality, your competitors will eat you alive.
The problem is, formal market research can be costly to do properly – especially for a startup on a tight budget. However, social media can come to the rescue in a very effective way.
There are millions of conversations going on constantly across every major platform. Social media users talk about every business, every niche, and every interest. This is a deep wellspring of information there for the taking. But how can you use it profitably? Here are five approaches to consider.
Improve Your Products
Using social media, you have a direct line to people using products in your niche, uninhibited by the pressures of formal research or surveys. You can learn what’s missing in your products, what people love or hate in your competitors’ offerings, and what they’d love to see in the future.
You can do so by finding out where people are talking about your product, and immersing yourself in the review content. Search hashtags related to your product on various social medias and look at the platforms where your intended target audience often times posts on. You can even find the reviewers with the strongest voice, and reach out to them directly to gain more insight and market research.
Improve Your Service
Every company makes mistakes from time to time, but not every customer takes the trouble to call support when they have a minor issue. Often, they’ll simply vent to friends – and they’ll do this just as readily on social media.
Picking up on negative comments about your brand gives you a chance to fix the damage. But even more importantly, you can also learn valuable lessons about how to improve your service in the future. By getting in touch directly with these customers and inquiring about what went wrong with the product or service, they will feel more confident about the company and can be compelled to feel less disappointed in the issues they found regarding their purchase.
This is honest, true feedback that they did not have to put out there, they wanted to. Analyze trends in the response of customers and work internally to avoid these pain points with future prospective customers.
Monitor Your Competition
Any business worth their salt has a social media presence. Most use it for a mixture of customer support, product announcements, and – yes – market research. And it’s all in public.
Following your competitors, either openly or anonymously, gives you the inside track on their tactics and future plans. You can also learn plenty from the missteps they’re bound to make along the way.
It may be an interesting tactic to begin following some of your competitors biggest fans and putting yourself on their radar. See how they interact with the competition and do what you can to turn them into a fan of your business.
Find New Markets and Angles
You may think you have a good handle on your market, but monitoring your keywords on social can throw up some useful surprises.
Which kinds of potential customers have you been neglecting or completely overlooking? Are people using your products in unusual ways, which you can reference in your marketing? Can you repurpose your products slightly to appeal to a completely new market?
All this information is accessible with a little digging which can go a long way.
Learn from Influencers
Influencer marketing has been one of the hottest digital channels in recent years. Even if you’re not directly using it yourself, you can still learn plenty from monitoring potential influencers in your niche.
They’ve achieved their popularity for a reason, and watching how they operate can spark powerful ideas for your future marketing direction. Rather than paying to reach their audience, you can gain ideas on how to increase your own follower count using the same techniques.
Connecting with Micro-Influencers
Because your budget is tight doesn’t mean you need to cut out the idea of influencers all together. Micro-Influencers (10,000 – 30,000 followers) tend to have a strong voice in niche fields of interest and have a deeper connecting with their audience.
By finding the leading micro influencers in your industry, you can contract them to talk and post about your product or service. This can increase brand awareness, drive new sales, and enhance the connection the intended audience has with your company.>
If you’re looking for a platform to search for, connect with, and execute campaigns with Micro-Influencers; you can apply for a Brand Page on Glewee’s exclusive platform here.
Social media should be built into the foundations of any modern online marketing strategy. However, it’s capable of much more than simply displaying ads on Facebook, or building a huge Twitter following that you’re not sure how to monetize.
Careful observers of social activity in their niche can steal a valuable march on their competition, by reaching directly into their customers’ opinions, likes, and desires all just by clicking around.