Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites are even better than forums and question sites. There is a lot of discussion and engagement on all sorts of topics. You can use them to find out what’s trending and how people feel about it.
Most social networking sites have a way for users to express their interest in content they like. On Facebook, they’re aptly called ‘likes.’ When lots of people like something, this tells you that it’s popular. You can look at your own page’s likes or what your target market likes on your competitors’ profiles.
One of the reasons social media sites are great for market research is that they have detailed profiles. By looking at your customers’ profiles, you can find out what other interests they have. This is a great source of non-demographic information, like how they see themselves, what they think about current events, or how they use the products they buy.
One key difference with social media is that you need to be more subtle. When you ask a pointed marketing question, it may put people off. Social media sites are used for entertainment and socializing mostly. People like to hang out online with their friends and share content they like. Take a friendly and personal approach. It helps if you have a lot of friends already on the site who you interact with casually.
Facebook is still the largest social media network, but it’s good to have a presence on as many as possible. Each offers unique ways to do market research. For example, on YouTube you can see which videos are getting the most views.
The Online Market Research Flow
Find out where your target market hangs out online and then join the discussion. Start by identifying your audience as thoroughly as possible. You can also do a survey asking your current customers about their online activities or where they like to interact with their favorite brands. Wherever that is, become a fly on the wall and soak it in. If you listen well, you’ll gather a treasure trove of information.
Now, here comes how to engage with your audience so you can be able to pre-sell.
The bestselling author, Seth Godin, who is also an incredible 14-time New York bestseller, says that
Engagement is the brand.
In other words, you want to get engaged and be part of the conversation with people in your specific area that have painful problems because you want to know what they think of your competitors, and how the competitors are serving them so you can better learn how to differentiate from your competitors. So you want to better understand their painful problems and you want to learn about what competitors are doing so you can differentiate, but also to connect with them.
How do you do that online? You’ve got to get into forums; you’ve got to get into social media groups. You have to literally get involved and engaged, and believe it or not, people will trust you early in that.
You bought one of your competitor’s software. You have some ideas on how to use that software better You could package a report or video or audio as something to offer for sale?
How to use this product better or how to get the best out of this product, product for sale because there are other people who have already bought it and they want to know how to use it, how to use it better or other ways to use that product.
That would automatically position you as an Expert as someone who understands that product.
You have been through an experience with the product.
So, since you have had the experience the people will look as you as an expert and they will want to connect with you as someone who has experience.
Just look at Amazon.com where real people have given real reviews of all the products or books or everything being sold on the largest retailer in the world. People read these reviews and sometimes base their buying a product on the reviews.
The reality is that if you want engagement with people and begin to develop your authority with others, you need to have opinions.
You become an authority expert based upon your opinions on things that matter to that tribe, to those people.
You begin to develop your own tribe and leading based upon what matters to that tribe.