Ways to Discover More about Your Customers through Social Media
Think of it as a focus group where every seat is filled 24/7. It’s a telephone survey without the telephone (and the complaints about disrupting a family’s dinner.) It’s a suggestion box that never collects dust and cobwebs from lack of use.
It’s a brand’s social media, always there to host a conversation with customers about the quality of that company’s products/services, or simply to find out what’s on their minds. Businesses that used to budget for focus groups and phone surveys are now finding those methods of gathering information from customers to be so…20th century.
Since the customers are already on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, simply soliciting answers to questions on those platforms is not only less expensive for brands, it also exhibits more transparency and gives them a chance to show the humanity behind a company’s logo. It’s all valuable data, and sometimes it springs from the questions customers are asking each other.
Some initial steps for getting that information:
- Blog comments – A blog post that politely asks for information should result in a comments section full of useful feedback. Of course, some moderation will always be needed, but this is the best way to start if brands are using their blogs as the hubs for their social media strategies.
- Facebook – Open-ended questions work best when directly soliciting information from customers. Simple surveys can also be used. But it’s not just about the asking; there’s also listening—or in this case, reading what kind of content is being shared about the brand or about competitors. The search capabilities within Facebook are still being developed, but businesses can still dig up what’s being said on the pages of competitors or other industry-related organizations.
- Twitter – What’s trending? Does it have to do with your industry? Trending Topics give you what’s being talked about in key cities or nationwide. Again, competitor accounts can be monitored to see what their customers like or don’t like. And Twitter’s search feature can unlock more useful data by simply typing in a business-related word with a question mark attached to it.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn Groups and Answers provide the best way for B2B companies to find out what’s on potential/current customers’ minds. The audience here is more engaged and thoughtful; hey, it’s the professional’s social media network, after all.
Brands should always offer to answer questions the best they can without turning the answer—or the solicitation for information—into a commercial. Remember: social media users are on these networks because they like to share, but they don’t want to be sold.