Think about it. How was primary research conducted 5, 10 years ago? Surveys through the mail, in person, on the phone, focus groups, forums, interviews, observation, etc. Yes, primary research is still conducted through these means, however, social media has definitely made it much easier to gather primary data AND it has made it much easier to gather more than ever before.
Take, for example, Facebook. Instead of having to have several focus groups about various new applications or adjustments, Facebook listens to the feedback its over 400 million users give it. Look at the Facebook groups out there. These are real people giving you their opinions for free. Is there a group dedicated to your brand or industry? Take a look through what people are saying within the group. These insights could mean huge things for cost-cutting when it comes to field testing a new product. People may give you ideas for product improvements that you may not have thought of on your own. The list goes on and on about what you can discover from Facebook groups.
Twitter is another great example about how to get instant feedback about your brand. If you introduce a new product, your loyal, early adopters will be sure to share what they think about it to all of their friends. This can be bad news if they don’t like your product – but if they do like it, this can do amazing things for your brand.
Facebook and Twitter are not the only places to get primary research feedback from your customers. Any social media site that allows people to comment on things freely will give you valuable insight. Take some time to research your brand and see what people are saying. A couple of hours doing an internet search is a lot easier than several days of making phone calls and getting hung up on…
When you’re conducting primary research, what are you looking for? Customer feedback. What is social media made of? Customer feedback. Use it.