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Increased exposure (90%) and increased traffic (77%) are the top two benefits of social media marketing according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report put out by SocialMediaExaminer.comBut the #1 question marketers have, 88% in this same report, is how to measure their ROI on their social media activities. Market Researchers need to fill this void of information and more actively address this need in the marketplace.

The positives of social media market research:

1. Data. Lots of data.

Remember to keep an open mind and don’t just use the data to prove your theory but use the data to ascertain actionable insights.

2. Ability to focus small.

Social media gives you direct access to the thoughts and opinions of individuals who have something to say about a brand.

3. Complements other market research.

It can help you to narrow down the number of questions in a survey, lessening respondent fatigue and leading to better response. Social media can also provide easily dividable demographic data and be used to compare against traditional survey results to find discrepancies or inaccuracies in the research.

Things to watch out for in social media market research:

1. Measuring everything.

With all that data it is important to define goals and objectives early in the process to stay on target.

2. Trying to go viral.

Focusing on trying to hit a home run rather than using insights to organically find solutions is usually a strike out.

3. Confuse findings and insights.

Insights come from effectively matching your findings with the objectives of your research to create something actionable.

4. Getting discouraged.

All that data takes time to clean and go through. You may not get the results you anticipated so be prepared to refocus if necessary.

Insights in Marketing says that 78% of companies are planning to further integrate or begin integrating social media data into their marketing campaigns. SocialMediaExaminer.com reports that 66% of marketers plan to increase their usage of Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn while 62% are planning on doing more with Facebook. Savvy market researchers will take advantage of these growth opportunities.

Have a hiring need or want to discuss your career in market research? Contact Smith Hanley Associates‘ Executive Recruiter, Lindsey Bartlett, Market Research Practice Lead, at 312-589-7586 or lbartlett@smithhanley.com.

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