Social Media Research Methodology
Updated: May 4
Social media provides a unique opportunity to actually watch the actions and daily habits of your customers.
Digital shows on IGTV, Youtube, Live Streams, and others make advertising seem like a 2-step process:
1. A brilliant idea from a creative team behind the show
2. A unique ad campaign that is astoundingly successful
But you and I know there’s a LOT more to it! Research plays a role in determining the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, & HOW LONG of any piece of content on social media. Market research helps you understand not only what your competitors are up to on social media, but it allows you to tap into your own!
So, what is market research on social media?
It’s research that acknowledges your branding and how your business reaches your target audience on each social platform. It then tells you more about the marketing methods you’ve been using on each platform in the past, present, and future is effective.
The Difference Between Primary & Secondary Market Research
Now let’s break down the differences between the two types of marketing research that can be performed on any and every social platform your business is using.
The first is primary research. This is when you start from scratch with original research to find data and information that doesn’t exist yet. This could be collecting information on how your marketing makes certain people feel about your brand. Traditional primary research is costly and can usually be demonstrated with focus groups, survey’s, interviews, etc.
Examples of primary research within social media can be when you do polls on IG Stories or interviews from special guests on your live streams. Social media provides an even deeper insight into greater sample size and the natural honesty people willingly share on social media is quite astounding.
The second is secondary research. This is when you are analyzing research that already exists. An example of this can be from data collected from statisa, or census data collected by the government. Within social media, secondary research can be from case studies on campaigns from competitors or others in the same industry.
While primary and secondary research both have their importance, primary tends to lend more personalized information and can be more beneficial when in conjunction with social media marketing.
As previously mentioned, primary research can help you unveil what people truly think about your brand. Its other benefits when performing it on social media can be a faster execution and audience relevance.
It can also measure how well your marketing efforts on social media boosts brand awareness.
Don’t you want to know about your customer's satisfaction levels, their habits, and how they view you over their competitors?
Comment YES below if you are eager to gather this information.
A great example of primary research being performed on social media is with one of our clients who performed an IG Story poll on which products and discounts the audience valued more. This poll was shared multiple times throughout the week running different products and discounts. We also strategically asked some of the same questions over again to gather even deeper insights.
This research revealed that most of the client's customers never cared about one specific product and would never use even a discount on it. Can you imagine gathering insights that authentic in a matter of a week?
Because of this primary research that was performed on their social media the client revised the product and key selling points and gave their customers more of what they found valuable.
Here’s How To Get Started With Primary Market Research On Social Media
First, a little prep work is needed.
Determine the problem or question you need answered.
These questions could be:
1. What other brands do your customers shop with?
2. Are your ads successfully executing your brands messaging?
Arrange your research goals
These goals could be:
1. Quantitative: This type of data is numeric (like statistics, or # of people who…)
2. Qualitative: This type of data uses words to describe things. (the softness of skin, emotions, and motivations - how colors affect people’s happiness- )
Gather your sample group.
Will you utilize influencers your viewers appeal to, existing followers, potential followers? Make sure to gather a target sample size that will provide enough responses for reliable results.
Choose the research format.
Will you do a poll on social media, Live Twitter chat, Q&A on Instagram, Facebook live stream?
Set the agenda.
How will the research format be conducted? Will you have an introduction, ice-breaker, warm-up questions, times?
After Collecting The Data:
Now that you’ve collected all the data and information, now what? Now you conduct an analysis.
Here’s how to do this:
What is the information telling you?
Look for what’s working and what’s not. Is it telling you that certain products weren’t selling well because of the colors on the packaging or the contents within the product?
Is it telling you certain posts featuring the product are better received than others?
Are people perceiving your brand in the same way its meant to be perceived?
Determine how to use this information to optimize your social media marketing efforts in the future.
List out the different actions you can now take based on the fresh insights you’ve gathered.
Here’s what I want you to do now, try it out! Download this free workbook to organize your first research plan.