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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Why Your Business Needs to Start Social Media Stalking

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Revolutionary Data Mining Tips

    Are you Facebook stalking again? I remember spending hours on Facebook back when it was a closed network for college students and employees of certain tech companies. In the age before the Facebook feed, you had to scope out people by heading directly to their profile, an activity known on my college campus as Facebook stalking. Fast forward 6 years, and it seems that social media stalking might actually be a really smart move for developing an inbound marketing strategy, at least for companies who are interested in cheap insight into their clients and market. 

    NM Incite marketing research recently released an whitepaper titled The Customer First Imperative which details ways we can all use social media as a market for insight. Here are a few highlights of the content:

    1. You Can't Stop Social Media 

    Even a few decades ago, defining a brand and controlling messaging was primarily a company's responsibility. They couldn't control what neighbors whispered about their products or customer service over the back fence, but there were no major information highways where private opinions were shared at a rate of 8 terrabytes a day.

    Social media has changed that fact. It's now easier than ever for consumers to form their own ideas about the quality of a product or service based on just a few minutes on their Facebook feed. While it's impossible to tell whether social media is responsible for this new distrust of paid advertising, the latest data from Nielson is staggering:

    consumers no longer trust paid advertising














    The part that surprised me the most wasn't that consumers are tired of interruption marketing methods like magazine advertisements, billboards, radio ads and television commercials. It was the fact that consumers don't trust paid advertising in general, even when it's a Facebook advertisement or promoted tweet.

    Social media conversations and online reviews are far more effective at getting people's attention than even email marketing. While you can choose to not have a brand presence on social media (though we really hope you don't), you can't control what people have to say about your company. Turns out, almost no amount of paid advertising can compete with a simple status or comment on Facebook!

    2. Social Media isn't Biased

    In the traditional realm of market research, removing bias from research results is a struggle. Computers can't pick up on nuances as adeptly as humans, and humans can't be as unbiased as computers. Even more frustrating, the results of your survey are only going to be as helpful and smart as the answers your research team wrote. 

    Twitter is actually a sea of free information that smart marketers are starting to harvest and apply Without getting too technical, one of the biggest benefits is "unmet needs." In an example given by NM Incite, a sports drink company may see a tweet from an elite athlete about how they're drinking pedialyte, a hydration drink designed for preschool-aged children. In 140 characters or less, they've just been given some real insight into the fact that sports drinks available aren't meeting a need for one reason or another. 

    How do you start stalking for knowledge? Expand your Twitter searches beyond routine checks for your company name and start searching for terms that describe products and services you offer. Social media is really the best kind of market research because it's unbiased, free and offers additional insight on how consumers use products in their day-to-day life that isn't always conveyed in a focus group. Here are a few benefits of adding social media stalking to your inbound marketing strategy:

    I. Unlimited Sample Size

    A smart company doesn't survey even one more consumer than they really need to. The determine the ideal sample size for accurate results, get to work and stop when they're finished. Nielson estimates that 13% of American adults used Twitter on a regular basis. That's 32.5 million! Even if over 99% of these individuals aren't talking about cupcakes, plumbing, running shoes or whatever else your industry sells, that's still a whole lot more insight than you can pack into a single focus group.

    II. Let Them Define Their Priorities

    Maybe you think that price and color matter most to your buyer personas. But how do you know for sure? Check out exactly what's driving conversations on social media to identify exactly how your customers and market define quality or satisfaction.

    III. Gain Insight in Real Time

    Aside from the fact that a Twitter search is very low-cost, social media happens in real time. Traditional research is time-consuming - you've got to design a survey, implement, track results and then apply the intelligence. 200 million tweets are sent daily, or 1.2 billion each week. Thanks to this volume of data, research insight can be applied faster than ever!

    How Does Your Company Use Social Media Stalking as Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?

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    Image Credit: © Patrimonio | Dreamstime Stock Photos &Stock Free Images

    Topics: Social Media