Market research enables a business owner to know what they could and should be selling, what customers are willing to pay, how they should best market their products and services, how to package and deliver them, how to differentiate their company from the competitors.(Wenzel, 2012)
Market research is tedious and costly, consequently in this advanced world social media has ended up being a phenomenal and speedy approach to conduct market research. Hence many companies have started utilizing social media as a powerful instrument to gain upper hand over their opponent. This has helped companies to comprehend their customers changing preferences, the brand they pick, the style they like, which age bunch like what items and so on.The keys to utilizing social media for market research are to understand the benefits and creating a proper research plan.
Most social media platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook, offer various ways to analyze trends and conduct market research. Market research is of two types primary and secondary, as they are done to analyse the effectiveness of the companies products and to what extant those are being accepted by the people. To gain insight about emerging trends and what the customers are really talking about in real time can be done with help of hashtag search on twitter and Instagram. These hashtags can be linked to the companies marketing data base and as a customer views or uses this hashtag they are recorded into the data base on a real time bases.
Facebook provides a wide platform for market research with social media. Facebook would be the best example where, focus group can be used. A page is created and members users are invited to like and comment about the activity or the content of the page. The page would describe about a company or its products with images and videos. These comments can be valuable as they can access the effectiveness of the product based on the comments. Surveys can also be a part of Facebook, it can be done in the form of a post which would be public and all Facebook users allowed to give their impression about it.
Cluster analysis finds groups of similar respondents, where respondents are considered to be similar if there are relatively small differences between their average ratings.(Mktresearch.org, 2016) Cluster analysis can be used for market segmentation. By segmenting a market, the potential customers are divided into sub-categories.This allows to calibrate the marketing mix differently according to the target customer groups. The main gain of this is that company’s can find out new product opportunities. Cluster analysis can be done through Facebook and Instagram. They provide very wide platform for cluster analysis, as people similar preferences join together and share their views and comments about the products that are listed up in the page. This helps the companies to identify what is the impression about a particular product and what changes or additions they require in that product.
By clustering of similar brands or products according to their characteristics allows to identify competitors, potential market opportunities and available niches.
The graphs shown about gives us a clear idea that social media plays a key role in market research these days as they are effective, efficient and trust worth results that comes up straight from the customers mind. Social media being very viral, it has become very easy to update the customer base.
HP is a very good example for a company that uses social media as a tool for market research. The American based company is well established over the years and they have a very strong customer base. HP has the second highest followers after Apple in social media when it comes to PC’s. The have huge number of followers in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They allow their customers to design computers of their desire and also gives them an opportunities to view the comments and review of a particular component that they wish to add up in their computer.
Perpetual mapping is done by HP through social media to find out which components are in demand, which components needs further R&D for its development, by setting up links which takes costumers to questioners and these would contain all the questions which will give them the right information they require. Hence social media is indeed an amazing tool for market research and it would sustain for the future.
Mktresearch.org. (2016). Cluster Analysis – Market Research. [online] Available at: http://mktresearch.org/wiki/Cluster_Analysis [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016].
Wenzel, A. (2012). The entrepreneur’s guide to market research. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger.