Stay in the know with your customers on the platforms where they already spend an exorbitant amount of their time... social media.
Sure, you can use proprietary online bulletin boards created by researchers for researchers - but they're not engaging nor conducive to sharing stories. Facebook is one of the most globally used platforms in the world. It has 2.2 billion active users, which is almost one-third of the world population. Even in countries like Vietnam, where Facebook is mostly banned, there is still over 80% usage among those with access to the Internet. According to Pew Research, "seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves."
If you are thinking about launching an ad campaign, building a new product, or just want a good sense for what works and what doesn't in your current offerings, engage with your customers where they already are - on a social media.
Invite them to a Yammer online group - it works just like Facebook, but its practically free! There's even a Yammer app, so your customers and your business partners can engage from almost anywhere in the world. Yammer got into the social media space for organizations and businesses in 2008 by a PayPal exec; it was later purchased by Microsoft for $1.2B in 2012.
We've been using Yammer for online research for a few years now and it gets rave reviews from our participants!
It cost significantly less than what you would pay for a focus group or using an outdated proprietary bulletin board - and you can export your transcript and findings immediately. Its fluid integration of digital content, websites, videos, etc., makes it extremely efficient.
You can even send your participants on online shopping trips or uncover how they go about searching for a new product, movie, restaurant or travel destination... the possibilities are endless.
So why aren't more companies using them?
Most companies are not aware that Yammer online groups can be done effectively and mostly in-house, with minimal set-up.
Sure, there's incentive costs that you give participants for attending the Yammer online groups and the recruiting and moderation costs, but outside of that, there's no travel costs for your end-clients and little down-time for transcripts and reporting.
Yammer even has built-in polling features.
Additional benefits of using online Yammer groups over traditional focus groups and online bulletin boards:
Allows respondents and clients to interact from anywhere in the world using the Yammer mobile app
Delivers a relatively flat learning curve, because Yammer works like Facebook, which is the most pervasively used social media platform in the world
Allows for more sensitive topics, where customers can still be anonymous to each other and sharing very personal stories relevant to the research
Produces less bias in responses, as everyone posts responses at the same time
Reaches more than stay-at-home participants, at differing times and across varying cities
Get feedback from a few or many customers at-a-time and invite them back for subsequent groups if you are refining a concept that needs fine tuning over a period of days or weeks
Auto-translates for a few common languages for in-language groups as well
But the value of research isn't the findings, it's in the evangelization of the insights to the greater part of your business. Remember the last last time your end-client had the time to travel for focus group, while paying attention to what was happening from the back room? Did they even read the final market research report that followed one month later?
It's better to have your end-clients attend a Yammer online group in real-time and read first-hand what customers are saying about their products or services. They can suggest follow-up questions in real-time as it pertains to their business. Designers, marketers and product innovators could be co-creating and collaborating with their customers in Yammer online groups and refining their product or service as it evolves. Essentially, research is only successful when it has real impact in your organization.
Learn more about how we innovated Yammer to expand online groups to 100+ languages with tagging and reporting capabilities with FUZE. Also at https://www.incitefusion.com/online-research-social-media