Have you ever wished you could use social media to conduct a focus group on your product or service offerings? No, you can’t just open a Twitter account and say, “Hey, what do you think of our new recipe for pie?” But you can approach social media and use it for research and development two different ways: social media monitoring and directly seeking customer feedback. This is feasible even for a small business or one without a research-and-development budget.
The first approach is to use social media monitoring to gather intelligence about your company, product or service, competitors or industry. By listening to online conversations about certain topics your customers might be talking about, you can gather competitive intelligence that can inform your decision making and produce a better offering.
Let’s say you make custom handbags and sell them from your brick-and-mortar location in San Francisco that and they sell fairly well. But you need some R&D or at least some market research to know if what you’re planning to produce makes sense for the new spring line you intend to roll out in the coming weeks.
So you go to a free monitoring service like SocialMention.com or even invest in something a bit more sophisticated, like uberVu, for about $40 per month. You enter some keywords and tinker with a search until you start to see some relevant results for conversations occurring from users in or around Northern California. For instance, “My handbag needs more dividers. I can’t keep my stuff organized,” is a phrase you might see pop up a couple of times.