Twelve participants funnel into a stark, fluorescent-lit room. Armed with notepads and pencils, they are instructed to answer carefully pre-determined questions, have discussions, share their opinion and then just as quickly funnel back out of the room and on with their day. This is how traditional focus groups function. They take time and effort to gather people together, they can be costly, and sometimes produce inaccurate results. After all, people in traditional focus groups can be easily swayed by popular opinion or by what they think they should say.
Now, switch gears to Facebook as a focus group. You have hundreds, maybe thousands, of people already assembled. They’re offering truthful feedback, not constrained to a list of pre-determined questions. They’re showing us in their actions (and words) what they want and need from a brand rather than telling us what they think we want to hear. It’s real, it’s unscripted and it’s extremely valuable.
What’s The Value?
Digital offers the opportunity for rapid market research, efficiently and at a low cost compared to doing traditional research for marketing insights. An online community doubles as a focus group. If your audience is engaged, they’re ready and willing to give you feedback. When it comes to knowing what makes your buyer’s tick, rapid and efficient market research at a low expense offers a tremendous advantage.
These audience insights through social media are valuable to help better understand your customers, to improve your products, and to guide your content strategy – ensuring you are giving customers the information they want, when and where they need it.
Launching a Product with Data from Social Media
In June 2014, we launched a brand new Facebook business page for Agri-Fab, Inc. prior to the launch of their new Split Second kinetic log splitter and eCommerce website. Historically, a Facebook brand page came after the website was launched and buttoned up.
With Envano’s help, Split Second leveraged social media to serve as qualitative research by listening to direct feedback and interacting with woodcutters. This initial research helped fuel Envano’s social media facilitation, content strategy recommendations, and content creation for the new site. Envano’s efforts allowed Split Second to better understand the woodcutter audience, reach out to them, launch and grow a social community and tell a compelling story that helped to impact product demand and online sales.
Starting with the Facebook page gave us the opportunity to:
- Fully understand the audience; how they talk – tone, vocabulary, etc. – to help shape website content development and upcoming social posts.
- Look at engagement on Facebook posts to see how the new social community responds to different types of content. What YouTube videos bring in the most traffic or comments?
- Get feedback on product development, necessary features, accessories and more; taking an approach outside the lens of an engineer and into the minds of the people actually using the product.
In short, it was critical to helping us guide content strategy. Working with Split Second has brought to light a unique story of a traditional manufacturer pivoting and choosing to take a new, digital and social approach to a high priority product launch.