It makes perfect sense for an organisation to build a social media following as a way of reaching out to current and potential customers. And there is no doubt that fans of a particular product or service will like an organisation’s Facebook page because it is a convenient and accepted way of engaging with an organisation’s brand. If you have a large social media following, you have probably invested a considerable amount of time, money and effort.
But are you harvesting the full potential of your social media investment?
Realising the full potential of your social media investment means going beyond just using Facebook as a communication channel. It is about using your social community to test and validate ideas, measure customer sentiment, brand opinion and pre-testing products, services and advertising campaigns. But, before you go ahead and jump in head first, and start posting images of your new top secret innovation, keep in mind that you are about to share those secrets with the world!
How do use a Facebook community as a marketing insights tool, and how do you do it safely, securely and as an affordable alternative to building your own online private community?
A market research online community (MROC), also known as a private online community, is like a private and secure Facebook page. A privately managed community of consumers that an organisation can invest in to engage with and ask questions.
The disadvantage of private online communities is that they require a large investment to build, manage and maintain. In some instances costing hundreds of thousands of dollars year on year to properly resource and administer. This means that private online communities are simply out of reach for most businesses and organisations. These private communities are not intended to replace your day to day social media marketing activities but are an additional marketing expense.
The advantages of private online communities, is they provide a secure and closed environment with which to control a discussion. If you need to test new product ideas, identify issues before they become problems and monitor customer satisfaction, you can do so knowing it’s not being broadcasted across all your social networks. This is why open communities like Facebook are not an ideal environment in which to confidently test and validate new ideas, or engage with different types of stakeholders. Anyone can join your Facebook community from evangelists to an army of detractors.
There is also a particular argument that says a Facebook community is a biased (skewed) sample of your target market. While this is based on the assumption that business Facebook pages are filled with likes motivated by individuals who are of a particular type or have an overly positive or negative interest in your brand, the same argument could be aimed at private online communities.
However, if you have the right tools and a proven process for screening people from your social communities, like Facebook, you can just as effectively harvest insights from your followers as if they were being managed in a private online community.
One of the key challenges in building an insights community in a social media environment like Facebook is that it’s an open invitation for anyone to join. To be able to harvest the insights from a Facebook community you first need to be able to screen individuals for a specific set of attributes or characteristics. You are looking for people with a personal profile which matches the audience you are targeting.
For example, you may want to hear from those who have had a negative experience with your customer service. In this instance, it’s not recommended you post-up a general question for the whole community. A question like this could backfire and become viral very quickly. On the flip side, in a positively skewed community, customers who have had a negative experience may not speak up, afraid of being shot down by a sea of positive brand advocates. But, if you have a screening process in place, managed by a set of specialised insight processes, tools and services, like GroupQuality, you can easily and cost-effectively pull in individuals from an open online community into a secure and private community discussion.
These discussions could be used to gain feedback about products or services. You might want to invite customers into a collaboration exercise where they evaluate new advertising concepts or package designs. You could even invite people into a co-creation exercise where they help make improvements to the way you service your customers. You may simply want to capture consumer feedback so you stay on top of your game. Using the right tools and services to screen and engage with particular segments of your social communities like Facebook can deliver quality insights.
Social insight harvesting can deliver quality, actionable and affordable insights!
Harvesting the insights from your social media investment not only provides you with an affordable, viable alternative to expensive online private communities, but it also fits nicely into your current social media marketing activity and does not require the development of new processes, or additional resources to manage.
GroupQuality invests the resources and technology so you don’t have to find extra dollars to build a separately managed social community. You can now access the tools and managed services to privately engage segments of your social media audiences, to ask them questions and take action from their answers.
GroupQuality facilitates this by inviting fans and followers to a private discussion around a particular topic from which you want to derive answers. The participants go through a managed screening process designed to remove those who don’t meet a specific set of characteristics. For example, you may only be looking for female customers aged between 35 and 45 who have at least used your product or service once in the last 12 months. As they go through the screening process they are either filtered into a secure discussion group or thanked for their time and screened out – not meeting the specific set of characteristics.
Participants who qualify immediately start engaging with your questions in a closed and secure discussion environment. The process is called instant online community discussions and means that you can start an in-depth and insightful discussion about a brand, advertising, product or service within hours. The conversations that you have with your customers are secure, closed and managed. It can be private (one-to-one), or a community group, or both! These discussions do not detract from your social media marketing strategy and generally only last a few days, but what they do is give the control to confidentially engage with your audience and ask questions.
The data and insights obtained from harvesting insights, from Facebook and other social media, is classified, filtered and analysed. The resulting insight is used to progress decision making. Using this method of customer engagement and insight extraction means you can test and validate ideas without exposing information to the world. It gives you the confidentiality and control which has only been afforded to those top 500 companies that can afford to build and manage a market research online community (MROC), or private online community.
7 advantages of GroupQuality’s social media insight harvesting:
- It slots into your current social media marketing strategy.
- You engage with people where they want when they want you to.
- You don’t have to find the resources to manage another online community.
- It provides all the benefits of an online private community without the cost.
- Stakeholders can view your private discussions as they occur.
- You only need to engage with stakeholders and segments of your community when you need to.
- Test and validate any forms of media in a private and secure environment.
The GroupQuality process for harvesting insights from your social media investment:
- Identify your insight objectives.
- Implement the screening process using our proprietary tools and methods.
- Filter those individuals who qualify into an instant community discussion.
- Approved participants login to the instant community.
- Individuals are met with rules, instructions, and expectations.
- Participants complete all assigned tasks and activities.
- Insights and data is delivered based on the predefined insight objectives.
GroupQuality® is a cloud based customer feedback and insights software and service that helps you capture consumer insights, in less time, on smaller budgets and with fewer resources. If you need a fast and flexible tool to engage customers, employees and partners, to communicate, collaborate, ask questions and quickly capture the answers, then we are for you!
If you would like to learn how we might work with you to harvest insights from your social media investment, please contact us