There is no doubt that social networking has infiltrated our lives, I can virtually guarantee that every one of you reading this right now actively uses a Facebook or Twitter account. It could be argued that social networking sites are perhaps harming our ability to communicate, but I would say they are opening up new channels and broadening our reach.
This especially applies in a business sense, through social networking it has become easier than ever to maintain and develop relationships with consumers. A recent study has shown that an astonishing 80% of customers would be more inclined to use a business if they have a large online presence via social media platforms. This has resulted in a vast array of opportunities when targeting customers, every business practice from marketing to market research can be enhanced by the use of social media sites.
Market research is an imperative part in any successful business, social media has opened up an entirely new method to explore all the all-important factors in the market. While social media provides an instantaneous form of research, it is essential that other methods of market research such as surveys, focus groups and data collection are still pursued as equally important avenues of market research. Decision Fuel are a market research company who can help contribute insights into consumer thinking in key markets through the use of surveys, the research provides a quick and effective alternative to handing out surveys yourself.
Anyone versed in the operation of a business will understand that researching the market plays a pivotal role in the potential success for any company. Social media can provide a scope much larger than other methods used in market research, often delivering a vast range of responses from the targeted demographic.
An indispensable role in any effective research is understanding the customers and their role in the market, social media sites such as Twitter provide tools to analyse the latest trends through the use of hashtags and customer behaviour. A simple search can provide updates, overviews and latest interactions about your company, competitors, products and even the industry as a whole.
Communication with existing and potential customers plays a key part when researching the market, a successful business first and foremost targets the needs of the customers and therefore gathers an essential knowledge of how customers behave and operate in the market. Knowing your customers will help you develop a means of effective communication and give insight when building a brand which appeals to the consumer.
But building a successful brand is not only about the consumers of your service. Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer – the use of social media is market research has never made this expression more apt. Competitors themselves are just as important as customers, entering a market without understanding the competition will result in certain failure. Social media can be used to provide fascinating insights into your competitors. Numerical data like Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter followers are now valuable commodities in determining the reach of your competitors. Social networking also allows a constant check on what your competitors are doing and customers’ perception toward them.
The application of social media within a business environment will continue to diversify and grow, with new opportunities to expand the brand opening up all the time. The uses of social media extend beyond market research and can literally help fuel a business to success.