The MRS Social Media Conference 2012

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking time out from the office to attend the MRS’ Social Media Research Conference.

At Marketing Sciences, we see ‘social media research’ very much as just part of the toolkit of what we call ‘Digital’ research. When we talk about social media research it encompasses not only 1) web listening, but critically, and perhaps more usefully, 2) using social media for research (i.e. communities, blogs, forums) and also 3)  researching how we use social media.

From our three digital workshops we have run so far this year with our clients on  ‘Embracing the World of Digital Research’ , where I facilitate the discussion about one of the topics (social media and online communities), it is clear to me that research buyers see that the value of social media lies in not just listening to what people say (and there are numerous arguments for why that can be tricky and lack value) but in using social media to help us actually conduct market research in a ‘digital’ way. I also really enjoy learning how people use social media – and how this varies by consumer type (read Ian’s blog about B2B social media research here )

 I thought I would put down some of my highlights from the day!

I particularly enjoyed the first session, where SKOPOS highlighted the fact that we are now talking about so many things all under the social media roof. I think this set the scene nicely for the rest of the conference.

There was a really inspiring talk from Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet. She talked about her role as not only co-founder, but also working with big brands who want to tap into the strong and vocal community of mums on mumsnet. “Mums are becoming more aware of the power of their voice” as they realise that what they say online about products / brands get listened to. There was also an interesting question raised about when does research become marketing (are all product tests also a marketing exercise?). Longton also impressed us with the stat that 79% of mumsnetters have purchased a product after seeing a recommendation on Mumsnet. Also, check out the Pizza Express in Richmond as it was designed by Mumsnetters! I thought this presentation was a great example of how a social media tool has branched out to become so useful to us for insight purposes. Carrie gave some great tips for keeping the community alive which resonated so much with market research community practices.

There was an engaging talk by Charlie Osmond from Freshminds/Fresh Networks about how we should ‘stop chasing the ROI’ which I listened to with interest. Marketing Sciences and ICM Research have recently been commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau to do an industry wide piece on this very topic. More about this soon!

I think the conference all really enjoyed the session by Emma Worrollo from The Pineapple Lounge (with the impressive job title ‘The Keeper of the Keys to Kids World) and Firefish. To perk us up after lunch they brought along 8 teens to face the rather scary looking conference room and tell us how they use social media to interact with friends, celebrities and (less importantly to them) brands. A really creative presentation and I took away a lot of ideas to feed back to our team who are working in close conjunction with our sister advertising agency TMW to provide insight into the ‘Future Shopper’ which will be released soon!

 All in all a good day – It was a great day of learning and talking about social media, and its applications in research. Now to put it into practice!

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Amy Nichols
01962 842211
Article date - 28/09/2012
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