6 Tips Marketing Researchers Can Learn From Social Media

This post was
originally published on Lightspeed
GMI’s blog
.

Social media has caused a massive shift in the way people
communicate, interact and share experiences and personal interests. Consumers
are always on, always connected. Consumers build unique online relationships;
they are connected to brands, athletes, teams, family, friends and co-workers
on multiple channels. Sharing everything from political views to favorite
products, social media users are leaking valuable information and insights for
researchers to take advantage of.

Marketing researchers have adapted Mobile
First best practices
; but are we also looking to benefit from the same
openness and flexibility that social media platforms have to offer? There are
six ways to successfully engage and capture relevant and actionable
feedback from your panelists based on social media best practices:
1.      
Focus on
people, not metrics: Our
industry refers to panelists, not people. Are
we focusing on why individuals are dropping out of surveys? Are we worried
about their enjoyment of a survey or just survey completes? Create consumer
conversations, not metrics.  
2.      
Stay
authentic: 
According
to Digital Stats, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media like personal
recommendations above other forms of advertising.
 Authentic brands do
better on social media, but trust is earned over time. If you want to capture
genuine consumer insights, treat your online survey as you would a social media
account. Be honest and upfront about your intent.
3.      
Engage,
don’t push:
 Want to get better research? Consider the way you are
asking questions. Similiar to social media posts, consumers favor shorter,
visually appealing surveys with a strong narrative structure.Engage
your respondents first, ask questions later.
4.      
Let the
consumer decide:
video, text or photo? Social media platforms are
constantly evolving, but they always remain focused on consumer adoption. According
to Spinklr, marketers need to find new ways to capture the attention of the
consumer who has seen just about everything
. Every day, more and more
individuals are starting surveys on their mobile devices over PCs. They are
deciding when and what device to take the survey; why not let them decide on
the format? We design for cross-device research, so why not design
cross-format?
5.      
Be
relevant: 
Across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you want to reach
your target audience with relevant content ‘ photos, posts and videos. Like
social media, marketing research is a crowded space; panelists are flooded with
survey invites daily. Be relevant: ask
the right questions, in the right sequence to the right audience.
6.      
Interactions
first, technology second:
 Social media planning 101 = interactions
first, channel second. Allow your panelists, not technology, to drive the
future of the industry. Are marketing researchers allowing technology to
dictate the future or panelists? Are you focused on building mobile research
apps or consumer feedback apps?
Gaining success in social media isn’t easy; it’s a process,
a way of thinking. Social media can be used to create and collect customer
intelligence through listening techniques. And this can also ring true in the
online survey world. Think about it: Brands have the capacity to cultivate
conversations with consumers…but often don’t. Researchers who are successful
in gaining insights from surveys are the ones who allow the consumer to take
the wheel and drive how marketers can collect information from them. Platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram allow users to be
creative and communicate in whatever method is enjoyable to them.  Why not
allow online panelists that same freedom? By allowing panelists to communicate
with you through mediums that are most enjoyable to them, through video for
example, you could garner more authentic and elaborate feedback. Rather than
force tedious or possibly challenging lengthy open text responses, try allowing
an option for using text or video responses. Instead of requiring respondents
to rate a product on a variety of features through a MaxDiff exercise, try
engaging them in conversation through communities or discussion boards.

The perfect solution for the survey world isn’t available in
140 characters or less, unfortunately. But the successes of social media are
ours to grow from.