Experience and Reflections on Market Research in Social Media

Isra Garcia
Isra Garcia Digital transformation marketer and new media analyst, IG - Empowering People, Business and Communities

Posted on January 2nd 2013

Experience and Reflections on Market Research in Social Media

A few months ago, we carried out market research based on social media for one of the brands we work for. I counted on the expertise of Aitor in this case.

How to Carry out Market Research based on Social Media

The way the research was carried out and communicated in social media was as follows:

  • Website: create a slide with the call to action that leads to the news.
  • Pinterest/Instagram: an image with the call to action, both as text and as a visual. For instance, a question mark.
  • Google +: developing the questionnaire as a post.
  • YouTube: using speech bubbles (like in a comic strip) with the link at the end of the channel’s most viral videos.
  • Facebook: in the form of “questions” in Facebook.
  • Twitter: inviting the community through surveys and screening the information obtained.
  • Monitoring and active listening: detecting and analysing mentions and filtering them according to sentiment.

All of this was later taken to a spreadsheet for further analysis.

Performance and Results

We worked on the basis of three variables that sought to obtain information on brand performance in three of its main activities.

The surprise, perhaps, was that the results obtained in 2 of the 3 activities were quite far off from our perception and what we expected.

The company’s management didn’t understand what was going on. According to them, the results should have been clear. The thing is, they were forgetting two essential factors: firstly, their own bias and perception of the world; secondly, the community on the other side, a group of people with their own widespread tastes, habits and, sometimes irrational, behaviour. Believe it or not, this information refers back to the opinion of the brand’s community, its fans, the community that buys, shares and helps expand the brand, that observes what the brand does on a daily basis.

Limitations and Opinion

Considering that a reasonable error margin in market research is +/- 5%, a reasonable error margin in social media, and more specifically Facebook, may be approximately +/- 35%, harbouring a guess. In this case, the study’s reliability is completely lost by not being able to segment our sample universe homogenously.

In any case, the information has been collected from the answers provided by the community over a 3-month period. Trusting any information collected in the Social Web is a delicate matter; however, this doesn’t mean that these figures aren’t significant or that we can’t work with them. If you ask me, I believe in the truthfulness of the public. But that’s just my opinion.

The people in your community love what you do; at least the crazy fans. They’ll bend over backwards for the brand every time you do something. When you’re asked to collect primary information from a social media source you’re exposed to the risk of reliability and heterogeneity, making it difficult to assess this information.

You can base your research on several social platforms, websites and online marketing. In our case, the basis has always been Facebook. However, we used other sites to bounce things back and forth to other platforms. I don’t really think that all of our public is there, but most of it is. If you need to check what people on the street think, that’s not our job. However, it’s important to do so.

Don’t Ignore What’s Important

We spare no efforts to get as large a sample as possible to obtain a variety of results. Perhaps you don’t like the information we’ve obtained, but it’s what your potential public thinks. Are you going to ignore it?

Conclusion: can you trust surveys 100%? The answer is no, but they can serve as a guide, as a way to get feedback and improve. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it??

Isra Garcia

Isra Garcia

Digital transformation marketer and new media analyst, IG - Empowering People, Business and Communities

Marketer, digital transformation and new media advisor, speaker, blogger, educator and an agent of change.

Social Media Today's Best thinker member. Isra is the creator and author of the paradigm that has revolutionised the social media: Human Media and also founder of Stand OUT Program, Engage Worldwide and Principal at IG.

His blog on Social Media, Marketing, disruption, lifestyle, new perspectives, productivity and change is visited by more than 110,000 people every month. Only 31, Isra has taken part as a TEDx speaker on two occasions and has participated in more than 270 industry events as speaker. At 27, he started his own agency, and has worked as consultant and analyst on new forms of online communication and marketing for other agencies and brands such as EMI Music (Spain – Portugal), BlackBerry (UK – Ireland), MTV (UK), Pioneer (UK) and blur Group (UK – USA), Amnesia Ibiza (Spain) and Music On (Spain – Italy). He has been the promoter of MONK (UK – Italy – Sao Paulo), the first Human Media Marketing agency, where he worked as Human Media Evangelist and Advisor, and is now involved as head of digital media at Bridges for Music (South Africa – India – Brazil), an international NGO that fosters and encourages change and talent. Isra has also been in charge of Marco Carola’s personal brand as one of the most influential artists in the electronic music scene worldwide. His fast-moving career has always been related to Web 2.0.  Isra´s early work as a consultant, in charge of teams and Social Media strategies for Social Media & Community. These are just a few of the highlights of his career. Undoubtedly, Isra adds a visionary and human-technological way to understand this new environment that the Internet has provoked.

Leaving aside companies, roles and projects, Isra has always been characterized by a thrilling passion for the human side of communication.

Isra writes for international publications such as Social Media Today, SmartBrief and contributed with FastCompany and is a guest lecturer at EOI, Fundesem Business School, Nottingham Business School, University of Leeds and University of Manchester. He is co-founder and organiser of Adictos Social Media and "Internet Changes Everything."

Isra is a 31-year-old visionary and pioneer who has revolutionized the New Media environment with his concept of Human Media based on human business interactions through the Social Web . Isra pioneered how the the new use of online media leverages the Social Web through human relationships, Human Business Interactions, connectivity, feelings, resonance and of course people. Specialized studies in Spain, UK and USA represent the base for his international career. Isra was recently on TEDx where he introduced his vision about Human Media and its impact on brands, businesses, people and the Web.

In only two and-a-half years, Isra has completed two Ironman races and, since last september, he is one of the only 89 athletes in the world that has completed the three-day ultra endurance event, "Ultraman" (10k swim + 420k bike + 84,3k run). He always pushes the intellectual and physical work far beyond his limits.

You can find Isra at TEDx events, presenting his perspective on Human Media, the future of social media, change, revolution and disruption. Also, in his Spanish blog http://isragarcia.es and international site http://isragarcia.com.

“Writing about oneself is infinitely more difficult than writing about anyone else. You’ll find that the story you thought you were telling people isn’t the story that people perceived.” Isra García.

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