Thursday, November 4th, 2010
MRA recently released version 1 of the MRA/IMRO Guide to the Top 16 Social Media Research Questions, a tool to help newcomers and vendors communicate with each other about this new datasource and method. Conversition was a key contributor to this document which is now available on the MRA website.
This blog is #3 in a series of 16, each one addressing Conversition’s viewpoint on one of the items in the guidelines. We welcome your questions and comments, and look forward to further discussions on this exciting new trend in the market research industry.
jdurham from morguefile
How does SMR interact with other forms of traditional and non-traditional research, including online, offline, in-person, and qualitative and quantitative?
This is one of our favorite topics at Conversition. We love to show clients how data fusion of results from traditional market research and social media research generates more powerful results. Note that we say fusing research, not replacing research because there is just no replacement for surveys and focus groups.
One of the first questions many clients have is whether social media results are the same as survey results. Given that we are market researchers with years of first hand experience transitioning offline studies to online versions, we completely understand how new methods affect results. But, social media research isn’t intended to duplicate survey research – it builds and broadens the entire set of results.
For those new to social media research, one of the best ways to get a better understanding of SMR is to run both a survey and SMR at the same time. You can take advantage of the specificity that surveys provide, as well as the descriptive narrative and breadth of topics that social market research provides. Pay attention to the types of survey questions that can and can’t be mirrored in the SMR. Pay attention the the types of survey questions that explode into new questions and serendipitous results in the SMR.
Another interesting way to combine the best of both worlds is to use social media research to inform the contents of a survey. When surveys become too long, we must choose something to leave out and long lists are a great place to start. One way to shorten these long lists is to gather thousands of records from SMR, cull out the top brands or flavours or SKUs, and include just the top items in the survey.
Social media research also gives researchers a much broader and more open perspective of how users communicate about a brand. Once the basic usage and attitude information has been gathered, social media research can be used to flush out those results. The most obvious way is to discover how people talk about brands to gather psychographic information – what word choices do they make, do they use slang, do they use correct grammar.
Additionally, social media allows for the discovery of creativity – how do users incorporate photos, videos, and music, into their approach to a brand.
Social media research is also a great way to conduct pre-post research for new products. Where focus groups allow researchers to observe people using brand new products before those products go to market, social media research allows you to evaluate product instantly as they are introduced to the market.
These are just a few of the ways that traditional research and social media research can be incorporated into a multi-mode method of market research. Try it. You’ll like it.