When social media began nudging its way onto the business landscape, it was widely viewed as a fad. After all, what would be more amusing – or perhaps absurd – than conventional, staid businesses like folksy Old Farmer’s Almanac (est. 1792) or chemical conglomerate DuPont (est. 1802) sending out messages 140 characters at a time, or asking their customers to “like” something?
Well, here we are well into the 21st century, and social media for business is not just here to stay, but it is getting bigger and more influential by the day. Just ask Old Farmer’s Almanac’s 21,000 Twitter followers, or DuPont’s nearly 95,000 Facebook fans.
However, not every business is enjoying social media success. In fact, 46 percent of B2B marketers admit that they are not sure whether their social channels have generated revenue. And only 13.2 percent of CMOs see a link between social media and business performance.
Obviously, there is a disconnect here between the potential of social media to drive everything from brand awareness to new sales, and the fact that many businesses are not reaping the full – or any – potential rewards and gains. The problem? Many businesses are not effectively targeting their social media strategy. The solution? Partnering with a market research agency!
Here are the 3 key ways that a market research agency helps businesses optimize their social media strategy, and ultimately generate results and ROI from their spend – whether it is a few hundred dollars a month, or tens of thousands.
1. Reaching All Relevant Buyer Personas
Most businesses that struggle to achieve much or any ROI from their social media spend have one thing in common: they are trying to reach “their customers”.
Where is the flaw in this approach? The problem is that most business have more than one type of customer. For example, a business that sells home alarm systems may assume that its only customer is homeowners. But what about renovators who are in a position to recommend or re-sell alarm systems to homeowners? What about insurance brokers or companies that might be willing to offer residential policyholders a discount if they install a strong alarm system? What about the worried adult children of elderly parents who prefer to live alone?
These are just some examples of the potential customers – and therefore buyer personas – that a market research agency can help this alarm company identify, and then engage with targeted messaging that aligns with their needs, goals and pain points.
2. Understanding What Kind of Content Customers Want
Many businesses simply push any and all content out through their social media platforms, whether it is a video, update, poll question, contest, article, or offering. And while it is possible to get some degree of traction from this approach, it is hardly strategic. It is more like putting a fishing net in the water, taking a nap, and then waking up a few hours later to see if there are any catches.
A market research agency helps businesses understand what kind of content their customers want to engage through various channels, and sometimes even on different times and days. For example, businesses that sell debt consolidation solutions may find that posting “how we help” videos on the weekend may create more engagement and interaction vs. weekdays, since more prospective customers are online and worried about paying bills and thwarting debt collection calls. Or a business that sells residential hot water tanks may find that sending “how much money you’re wasting” Infographics is more effective around the end of the month when residential customers get their utility bill.
These are just a few examples of how a market research company can help businesses go from passively hoping that they catch some fish, to strategically identifying where the fish are.
3. Understanding What Channels to Invest In
Last but certainly not least, many businesses assume that in order to have a “social media footprint,” they must plug into Facebook and Twitter. And while it is almost always the case that these two social media heavyweights will be part of the plan (just ask Old Farmer’s Almanac and DuPont!), there are many other platforms out there that could be even more relevant, such as LinkedIn, Google+, Spiceworks, YouTube, Instagram, and the list goes on.
A market research agency helps businesses identify where they should be focusing their attention and, indeed, their budgets. For example, many IT companies find that they get far more engagement on Spiceworks or even Reddit than they do on Facebook, many professional services firms find that LinkedIn is a significantly better option than Twitter, and many B2C companies (particularly those in a lifestyle-related space) often find that Instagram and YouTube are quite effective channels to engage current and future customers.
To learn more about how to optimize your business’s social media investment and profile, contact us to set up a quick chat with our co-CEO Colson Steber. While gaining a better understanding of your business, Colson will be able to give tailored recommendations that will help set you up for social media success!
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