How to Integrate Consumer Panel Research with Social Media

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Social media offers a never before seen opportunity to marketers to create customer opinion and a valuable platform for connecting with customers. Social media is more than just a way to make fans or have more shares, it is the perfect 21st century medium of consumer focused marketing.

Social media is a collection of websites, tools and online technologies that helps users to generate and share content in real time. One of the biggest reasons for the rapid expansion of social media is the technology that drives it and the availability and absorption of internet access across a lot of devices. Today, thanks to the availability of devices such as iPads, Android powered devices, Smartphones and other products, it is possible for a user to access content on the go and share information with others in the blink of an eye. This also means marketers have more power in their hands to connect with their target audience, promote their products and find out what consumers are saying about their products and services.

 

Social media is a powerful tool to build consumer opinion and to impact buying decisions. In fact if Facebook was a country it would have the third largest economy in the World. With its 1 billion registered users and many more billion pages of content accessed everyday, Facebook is a marketer’s paradise. It is the platform of the masses that use the Internet and spend a considerable amount of time online every week. This is an audience base that is both qualified, has access to the Internet and looks for product information through online research. In short, this is the section of consumers that has access to online shopping options.

Consumer Panel research has long been used as the definitive method of gathering and analyzing consumer behavioral data. It has been used for the purpose of assessing consumer behavior across a multitude of products and services and across a number of industries. Although a product of offline consumer behavioral tracking it has considerable utilities and has been successfully implemented in online scenarios as well. The advent of social media has helped marketers to assimilate data drawn from both social media research and consumer research panels and meld the two data sets for a better understanding of consumer behavior  The use of social media has given marketers a way to validate the data obtained using consumer research panels.

There is a distinct connection between the impacts of social media and consumer behavior  Consumers are more likely to purchase if they are following a product or a service on any of the different social media websites. They are more likely to recommend that product to their friends and associates as well.

Let’s elaborate this theory with research by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies in 2010. The aim was to establish the connection between social media and consumer behavior in today’s electronic world. It was found that a consumer was more likely to buy if he was following a company on Facebook and Twitter. In fact no less than 51% of Facebook fans were likely to purchase a product and nearly 60% of users were likely to recommend it to others. Similarly in the case of Twitter the numbers were 79% for recommendation and 67% for purchase. This strong connection between the two numbers cannot be overlooked if you’re a marketer looking to connect with your target demographic.

It is easy to establish a relationship between consumer panel research and the social media research results gathered by a business. As a marketer, the pattern that one needs to follow is how many of the sample panelists are actually following the business on a social media site. This is the prime section that a marketer should be concentrating on. While the rest of the target demographic is suitable for promotion of the brand, the focus should be on the social media target audience that is more likely to buy.

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