The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Market Research Social

Social media makes market research easier, cheaper and quicker than ever before.

If you’re not yet making the most of social media in your market research, here’s are four ideas for what you could be doing.

1. Check What People Are Saying About Your Competitors

This is a great strategy is you’re a small company looking to find your niche. Run a Twitter search for your big name competitors and see what their customers are saying.

You’ll find out:

  • What your competitors are doing right, and receiving praise for (so you can do this too!)
  • What they could be doing better. Noticing this creates your niche. Being great where others are falling short will make you stand out from the crowd.

2. Find Influencers in Your Niche

Part of market research is discovering the people who have the biggest influence over your potential customers.

Connect with these influencers, and they could soon be pointing customers your way.

To find influencers, you can use:

  • Twitter. Search for anything on Twitter, and you’ll be shown the “top tweets” related to your search term. These give some indication of who is likely to have the most influence.
  • Topsy. This is a social media search tool that makes it super easy to find Twitter influencers. Just type your industry into Topsy’s search bar, then click the “influencers” option in the side bar. You’ll immediately discover who you should be connecting with.
  • Klout is perfect for digging out the influencers in your current circle of friends.
  • Google Ripples will show you whose content is getting shared the most. Check out our tutorial on finding influencers with Google Ripples here.

3. Get an Ear for the “Voice” of your Customer

Have you ever met a musician who can hear a piece of music, then just play it? Annoying right?

Most musicians need to see a piece of music written down before they can play it. Then they need to practice.

Likewise with writing copy targeted at your customer. Some marketers have amazing instincts and can just do it (like those annoying piano players).

For the rest of us, it’s important to get to know our audience. We must find out how they speak – in the exact words and phrases they use – so we can craft copy that connects.

Social media gives you immediate access to the voice of your customers, at any time of day. So put it to good use!

4. Spread the Word about Your Market Research Polls

Not all market research can be done on social media. Sometimes you need to get an in-depth view of your customers.

Fortunately, this is easily done through polling. You can create a poll for free using tools such as SurveyMonkey or Google Docs.

Once you’ve created the poll, use social media to spread the word. You can ask your loyal follows to retweet the poll. Use relevant hashtags to make it spread as far as possible.

Your Call

How does your business use social media for market research? Let us know in the comments section, below.

Facebook Mistakes

Anyone with an Internet connection can have a Facebook account.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone can use Facebook well.

In fact, we see brands and other organisations making big mistakes on Facebook all the time. These mistakes are cringeworthy, and make us want to facepalm.

If you plan to succeed on social media, then please, please, don’t do any of the following.

1. Forgetting About Line-Breaks

The Internet has transformed the way we read. We skim content instead of taking time to absorb it.

That means we prefer content that’s written using short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. This is true for blogging, and it’s even more relevant for social media.

Facebook posts should never be made of long paragraphs, without a single line break. In fact, if possible, Facebook posts shouldn’t be long at all. Shorter is almost always better for engagement.

If you do have a longer message to share, break it up. For a Facebook post, one or two sentences per paragraph is plenty. And those should be short, snack-size sentences too.

2. Yawn-worthy Writing

Every brand has a personality. Some are bursting with life and energy (Red Bull). Some are creative types (Apple). Others are safe and reliable (Volvo). Your brand’s personality should shine through on your Facebook page with every update you post.

Yes, you can write Facebook posts in the same way you were taught to write papers at high school. But seriously, do you really want to come across as a grey-suited accountant? Probably not, unless you are an accountant…

Here are some questions you can use to help uncover your brand’s personality.

If you were a…

  • dog… which breed would you be?
  • car… what type of car would be?
  • celebrity… who would you be?
  • city… which city would you be?

Once you’ve figured out your brand’s personality, write your Facebook posts in that voice. You’ll have more sparkle, and you’ll engage better with your followers.

3. Posting Your Business News on Your Brand Page

Great things happen in business. You hire a new staff member to handle your finances (yay for no more bookkeeping!). You have your most profitable year ever. You score the client you’ve always dreamed of working with.

Understandably, when good things happen, you want to celebrate. Likewise, when things don’t go as planned, it can be helpful to have a listening ear to talk things through with.

Facebook, however, is not the place to share your business news. Your customers don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of your business. And frankly, they’re not interested.

Make sure everything you post to your Facebook page is useful, inspiring or entertaining to your customers. And share your business news with those who really care about it – your investors, partners, mentors and employees.

4. Link Stuffing

You’ve got a ton of cool stuff you want to share, right? Maybe it’s useful articles you want to link to. Or products on your website (see number 5. before you do that…).

So why not put as many links as you can in each Facebook post? The more the merrier, as they say.

When it comes to putting links in your Facebook posts, it’s a case of too many cooks spoil the broth. You should never put more than one link in a Facebook post. Why? Because otherwise you’ll give your fans analysis paralysis. With too much choice, they won’t do anything.

It’s also worth remembering that links are one of the worst types of Facebook post for engagement. When people click links, they navigate away from your Facebook post, so they’re unlikely to go back and click “like”. For engagement, share videos, photos, and short text updates.

5. Putting On Your Sales Hat

Business is all about sales. If you’re not shifting product, you’re not making money. No money, no business. Simple.

Does that mean you should take every opportunity you can to sell? Damn right it does.

But Facebook is not a sales opportunity.

This isn’t idealistic woo-woo. It’s about how people use Facebook. Facebook is a place for relationships. Nobody goes to Facebook to buy stuff. They go there to hang out with people (and sometimes brands) that they like.

Making your Facebook page into a sales floor is a surefire way of alienating your fans.

That’s not to say you can’t share offers and promotions on your Facebook page. It’s just that the primary purpose of your Facebook page is about having a good time with people who like your brand, and helping them in the best way you can. So if you do share a promotion, make sure it’s fun and relevant to your fans.

6. Ignoring the Pleas of Frustrated Customers

Did you know that 71% of people who got a quick and effective customer service response from a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others?

What’s quick and timely? Well, 42% of people who have complained on social media expect a response within one hour. And 67% expect a response later the same day.

Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to voice their frustrations. And if brands fail to respond, then they’ll lose customers.

So get out there and start listening to your customers today. You’ll be glad you did.

7. Treating it as a Broadcast Platform

Before social media took the world by storm, media was a one way thing. Media producers created cool stuff, such as TV shows, newspapers and advertisements. Everyone else consumed the media.

These days, we’re all producers.

In other words, social media isn’t a broadcast platform. It’s not all about you. It’s a dialogue platform, where you get to talk to your customers. That’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a privilege. By talking to your customers, you can find out more about what they want, and better serve their needs.

business blog

This is a guest post by Gary Dek, founder of StartABlog123.com

Here’s your guide to building a business blog that people will want to read.

1. Understand Your Motivations

Know why you are blogging. First, know your reasons for creating a blog. What is the purpose of your content marketing strategy? The primary purpose shouldn’t be to sell. No one wants to read a blog that constantly pushes a sales pitch.

Content marketing works best when your goal is to develop a relationship with readers and potential customers. Blogging is a subtle form of selling by building a brand that is trustworthy and authoritative.

2. Optimize Your Content Creation

Business blogging is all about providing customers with useful content. Here’s how to do that:

Research your topics/keywords. As a business blog, you have to know where to allocate your limited resources to maximize results. SEMrush.com and Google’s Keyword Tool are ideal resources. Search for a handful of online competitors. Enter each URL into SEMrush and see what keywords they rank for.

Then visit Google’s Keyword Planner, choose “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”, enter that keyword, click “Get ideas” and go to “Keyword ideas”. You will get an idea about other relevant keywords and their corresponding average monthly searches and competitiveness. For a new blog, focus on low to medium competition topics before tackling difficult ones that may takes months or years to rank for.

Create a flexible editorial calendar. An editorial calendar involves knowing what topics to publish and when. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding how far into the future your editorial calendar should be, it is can be helpful on a monthly basis, particularly if you outsource your content creation and need to establish accountability for yourself, employees, and freelancers. An editorial calendar will also set expectations for your audience.

For example, I know that Neil Patel at QuickSprout.com publishes new posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Fridays are usually infographic days. I don’t bother checking his site the rest of the week, and that prevents me from visiting his site only to be let down by finding nothing new. In a way, Neil has managed my expectations by publicly sharing his editorial calendar.

Create an outline before writing. Even for natural writers, I always recommend writing an outline, or at the very least, research 2 or 3 comprehensive articles to emulate. Knowing where to start and where you want to go – and how to get there – will not only make the writing process more efficient, but it will also result in a more coherent, high quality piece of work.

Always hire quality writers. When I first started developing websites, I was somewhat price sensitive when it came to my writers. Fortunately, I quickly learned that, like all things in life, quality is worth paying for.

Better and more experienced writers require less editing, have an established online presence and social following, can potentially link back to you from their other freelance gigs, and generally facilitate the content production process. If you want faster and more consistent results, hire freelance writers and/or editors who are knowledgeable about your industry.

Keep it simple and optimize your posts for readability. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to impress your readers with SAT vocabulary words and intricate sentence sentences. Keep your writing as simple as possible, and format your posts for fluidity. This includes breaking up the text into digestible chunks with relevant, eye-catching images.

Be consistent in the quality and frequency of your posts. Continue to publish content that readers will find interesting, relevant, and useful. Stay away from fluff. Keep providing practical and valuable information.

3. Grow Your Audience

If you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche, your blog will become a “must-read” for anyone in the industry. The fundamental question you must ask yourself is – of the hundreds of websites available online, why should readers choose to spend time consuming your knowledge and content?

Show off your credentials. You’re an expert in your field and people should listen to you because you have unique and insightful information or experiences to share, but how do you say that without sounding full of yourself and alienating your readers

  • Don’t be shy about sharing your educational background and professional experience.  My personal finance site, Gajizmo, benefits from my background in financial analysis and career as an investment banker and private equity analyst.

 

  • Tell personal stories. Interesting stories will grab your reader’s attention and force them to keep reading. Wouldn’t you prefer to read a story and learn something rather than be lectured?
  • Numbers, statistics and facts are concrete. Use them to cement your authority and strengthen your arguments/opinions.

 

Write posts that dig deep into the subject matter. Research indicates that longer, more comprehensive articles tend to dominate Google’s top 10 search engine rankings. While short posts may be applicable for quick news updates, if you want to build a blog that will withstand all future Panda updates, focus on posts that will provide your readers with immense value.

Get interaction from your community. A successful blog requires some intimacy. It’s hard to relate to someone who is distant, aloof, and anti-social in real life. The same goes for online relationships.

  • A “Comments Section”. Have a comments section where readers can interact and ask you follow-up questions. You can encourage this by asking a compelling question at the end of every post.
  • Respond to reader comments. If you ask readers a question at the end of every post, expect answers in the comments. If you expect them to comment, you should also do your part and reply to their comments. Not only will this make your readers feel heard, but it will help you build a personal connection with them, resulting in a loyal audience.
  • Establish your presence on social media and participate in conversations. Like it or not, social media has become rather intertwined with blogging, and you can take advantage of it for more exposure. Ask your readers for questions, concerns, or problems you can solve. Check out these social media tips for starters.

Start an email newsletter. Another effective way to increase your reader base is to create an email subscription list. The results may not be immediately evident, but over time email marketing can insulate you against changes in search engine rankings.

Final Word

When starting your business blog, take the following quote to heart. It will guide you when developing your online brand, from deciding your blog’s layout and design to how you will address complaining customers.

“The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden

Author Bio: Gary Dek is the founder of StartABlog123.com. He specializes in SEO, content marketing, and generally helping new and professional bloggers build sustainable online businesses. Previously, he was an investment banker and private equity analyst.