How to Do Market Research Using Social Media Channels

Blocksurvey blog author
Written by Harry Flynn
Oct 19, 2023 · 4 mins read

Every marketer desires to know what exactly their audiences are thinking so they can get a clear understanding of their preferences and needs. The quest for this knowledge brought about the existence of market research – the process of gathering data and information about consumers’ needs and preferences.

Other approaches to market research, such as focus groups, surveys, interviews, etc., are not enough to capture accurate insights into what your customers need and want. Using social media for market research provides accurate historical and real-time data about your target market’s needs and preferences.

Social media market research is a cost-effective approach that pulls out valuable insights from your social media channels, which can help you increase your customer base and deliver customer satisfaction to your audience. By using social media for market research, you will not only understand the needs and pain points of your target audience, but you’ll also be able to spy on your competitors’ marketing strategies and track industry trends.

In this article, we’ll cover four areas where you can conduct social media research and how to go about them.

Gauge public sentiment toward your brand/product

Gauging public sentiment toward your brand or product means assessing and understanding the overall feelings, opinions, and attitudes the general public or your target audience holds about your brand or product.

This assessment can involve analyzing social media mentions, audience engagement, surveys and questionnaires, and other feedback channels to determine whether the sentiment is positive, negative, or neutral. It helps you understand how your offerings are perceived and whether you need to make adjustments to improve your brand’s sentiment and reputation.

You can effectively gauge public sentiments toward your brand and products by monitoring social media mentions and actively engaging with your audience:

  • Social media mentions

Social media mentions refer to instances when your brand or product is discussed, referenced, or mentioned on various social media platforms. These mentions can be posts, comments, reviews, or any other type of content where social media users talk about your brand or product.

Use social listening and monitoring tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite to track and analyze sentiments within your brand interactions (comments, Instagram likes, shares, and conversations related to your brand/ products) across social networks.

Categorize these mentions into different sentiment categories, such as positive, negative, or neutral. Some tools use sentiment analysis algorithms to automate this process.

Be sure to understand the context of each mention. Sometimes, a single mention may contain both positive and negative elements, so it’s essential to consider the context of the conversation.

For instance, let’s say you own a cosmetic brand, and you come across a tweet that reads, “The new lipstick color is fantastic, but it’s a bit pricey.” Without context, you could interpret this as a mixed review.

However, after further investigation, you discover that the customer values the product’s quality but is concerned about the price. This understanding can guide your marketing and pricing strategies.

  • Engaging with audience

Engaging with your audience on social media platforms is another way to get customer feedback on your brand or products.

You can find out what your audiences are thinking by responding to comments and DMs, hosting Q&A sessions, and creating social media polls. This also allows you to address concerns or negative sentiments, potentially turning detractors into advocates.

Monitor your competitor’s social media activity

Keeping a watchful eye on your competitors is fundamental to any successful social media strategy. Doing this helps you know what your competitors are doing right (or wrong). With such information, you can refine or adapt your own strategies based on what is working and fill in the gap where your competitors fall short or where customer demands aren’t being addressed.

Some of the tools mentioned above (Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Mention) can also be used to monitor your competitor’s activities across social networks. Begin by identifying your key competitors in the market – these are the businesses that share your target audience and offer similar products or services. Make a list of their social media profiles across various digital channels and monitor these profiles. This will give you access to their content, updates, and interactions with their audience.

Next, you want to examine the type of content your competitors are posting. Are they using videos, images, infographics, or blog posts? Pay attention to engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, shares, and followers, to know the effectiveness of your competitors’ content and how well it resonates with their audience.

Whether you’re a startup, an established brand, or a social media marketing agency, tracking your competitors’ performance helps you benchmark your own business against industry standards. By comparing metrics such as social media engagement, customer satisfaction, or share of voice, you can identify areas where you excel and areas that require improvement.

Analyze the performance of your social media content

Creating and posting content is not enough; you must also assess how well it resonates with your audience and achieves your objectives.

Different goals may require different metrics, so it is important to identify what social media metrics align with your goals. You may be interested in engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments), click-through rates, conversion rates, reach, and follower growth.

So, for instance, if your goal is to enhance brand awareness, you may want to focus on reach and impressions, your follower growth, and brand mentions, to name a few.  If you’re focused on growing your sales, conversion rate is the metric to measure.

Assess the performance of various content types (e.g., videos, images, blog posts) to determine which resonates best with your audience. Identify which formats generate the highest levels of engagement and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Most social media platforms provide built-in analytics tools that offer insights into your content’s performance. Use these social media analytics tools to access data on the demographics, reach, and engagement of the content you post.

By analyzing the performance of your social media content, you can optimize your strategy to engage your audience better, achieve your goals, and ultimately grow your brand’s social media presence.

Gain valuable insights into industry trends

Want to stay on top of your social media marketing game? Pay attention to the social media trends that emerge in your industry. What trends are your target audience jumping on? Knowing these helps you understand their current interests, which you can use to craft effective sales and marketing campaigns.

Also, identify and follow influential figures, experts, and thought leaders in your industry on social media platforms. Their posts, comments, and shares often provide early signals of emerging trends, innovative ideas, and industry shifts.

Engaging with their content can also help you stay informed and connect with like-minded professionals.

Keep an eye on trending hashtags related to your industry or niche. Hashtags often emerge around hot topics and can lead you to valuable discussions and content. Utilize tools like Google Trends to identify and monitor trending topics in your industry.

In closing

Conducting social media marketing research is essential for digital marketers and businesses striving to understand and connect with their target audience effectively.

The information you gather using social media for market research can be a strong foundation for making smart business choices. Also, it helps ensure that your brand offerings align perfectly with the desires of your target audience.

That’s not to say you’ll rely solely on social media to understand your audience. Combine it with your traditional methods like surveys and FGDs, and you’ll achieve the best results.

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Harry Flynn

Harry Flynn leads the digital marketing team at Twicsy, a site providing services to Instagram users. He enjoys travelling and relaxing with friends in his spare time.


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