Social media… the minefield of motivations

Social media – what an all encompassing term! It covers every form of socialised online content from Facebook to Four Square. It allows all of us (should we wish to) to put our views into a vast electronic world, the question for market researchers is why…

Why do consumers put their opinion out onto Facebook & Twitter? Why are we including @’s and #’s when commenting on something?

This is the hardest question to answer and it makes life for a market researcher tough! We want to know what consumers think of a brand, a product or marketing activity and one of the newest and quickest ways for us to do this is by using social media monitoring.

We can capture, at any given moment in time, the opinions of consumers on any search term. The problem is why did consumers put their opinions out there in the first place? How reliable is this tool to us and our clients?

When you go to a restaurant and have a lovely time where the food is tasty, the service fast and the price was reasonable, be honest… how many of you tell the restaurant you had a positive experience, let alone tweet, blog or update your status saying so? Is good service our expectation rather than thinking it needs specific recognition, and so we only use social media formats for our negative opinions?

Or do we let our online world know it was good because we want more out of the company or service? Are we hoping they might offer us a free glass of wine with our next meal?

Social media monitoring is great for understanding a moment in time, or even many moments over time.

It gives us a snapshot of the ‘electronic second life’ (a great term from the Urban Dictionary!) that consumers lead. A good example of “people power” is the re-introduction for the Coca Cola glass bottle. The consumer demanded and back it came onto the shelves!

So whilst it is tough to understand the true motivations behind our life updates, it does give us some insight into what is happening right now.

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Becky Hutchins
01962 842211
Article date - 23/07/2012
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