While global corporations use extensive focus groups and multi-year research studies, small and medium sized businesses rely upon sales data and staff expertise. This works when the staff is similar to the target demographic. For example, a stationery store in a small town has expertise regarding which types of wedding invitations are popular in that locale. A bride-to-be tells the clerk where her wedding will be and the clerk, who has been to the venue in the past, selects the right paper and font for the occasion.
But a small to medium sized business with a broader reach and a more diverse demographic faces greater challenges. Staff often disagree on who their demographic is, what their demographic wants, and how to reach them. Water cooler discussions consist of ‘conventional wisdom’ and assumptions based on individual experience. Subjectivity seeps into the debate, and there is no quantitative data to facilitate a resolution.
Social media marketing provides quantitative consumer data and feedback.
- Facebook Insights. New metrics make Facebook Insights more useful than ever. Discover the gender and age of your fans, as well as what city they live in, which languages they speak, and more.
- YouTube Analytics. The YouTube analytics dashboard shows demographics, subscribers, views, top videos, and engagement (likes, dislikes, comments, shares).
- Traffic Source Data. Traffic Source Data indicates which sources are providing the highest volume traffic to your site. Sources can include Google ads, organic sources, and more.
- Survey Widgets. A survey widget can be added to your website or blog. According to an article in AdAge, “Tools such as SurveyMonkey let non-expert users create custom surveys in minutes. As an alternative to offline focus groups, marketers can assemble custom online panels of consumers for qualitative research on new-product ideas or new ads.”
- Blog Comments. Managers value direct feedback because they know that problems have not been swept under the rug. As a recent Forbes article stated, ”If you don’t engage your customers – and fail to create two-way communication – what’s the point? You’re simply using social media as an advertising channel, not a relationship-builder.”
The objective data that analytics provides ensures that the goods and services you supply meet consumer demand. As AdAge stated, “Online research is cheap, fast and the wave of the future.”
To find out how social media can provide your small or medium sized business with valuable consumer data, get a free consultation with DigitalSherpa by clicking here.
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