How To Use Social Media Research To Grow Your Business


When you establish a presence on social media, you grow a following of people who are willing to hear from you, to talk to you and to talk to each other.  Like any of your other media like a website or newsletter, you have permission to talk to this audience. Use it wisely.

One of the benefits of social media is the ability to survey your audience.  People generally love to give their opinion and advice and surveys allow them to have the podium for a change. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from customers.  If you aren’t asking, you’re assuming and you run the risk of making major errors in business strategy.

A recent Inc Magazine article told the story of how Crutchfield, the $250 million electronics retailer, was almost out of business soon after he launched in the mid 1970s.  Crutchfield had decided to turn his passion into a business and started selling specialized car stereo equipment from his home, after realizing he couldn’t find a stereo to fit an old Porsche 356 that he was restoring.  He invested his own money and worked long hours. He was serving a niche market that needed his product and the sales were not there.  He assumed that his pricing might be too high, but then he decided to send a survey to his customers.  Back then this was a slow and expensive process.  What he learned was that people very much wanted his products and were willing to pay, but they were intimidated by the prospect of having to install the equipment themselves.  (Think Best Buy and the Geek Squad for a modern day example.)

He immediately changed his marketing materials, providing customized instructions beyond what the manufacturers offered and extra customer service to give buyers the confidence to purchase his products.  Things turned around immediately. His customers had saved his business.

Have you ever asked customers what they want; why they did or did not like a particular product; what experience they were having with your customer service team?  Unlike Crutchfield, you can get immediate feedback through your Facebook page (through comments or the new Facebook poll) or your blog.  If you don’t want the responses to be public, you can use polling services like Survey Monkey or Poll Daddy.  If you have a large newsletter list, use that to poll your customers and drive traffic to the poll using social media.  Be sure to include some open ended questions.  One I like is this simple question that asks your audience to finish this phrase:  (Company Name) should _____________.

Listen openly and not defensively.  Lend your ear to the people who use your product and services they they just may help or even save your business.

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