Archives for the month of: September, 2012

As mentioned in my previous blogs, when done right, social media has proven itself to be a fantastic tool for generating conversation, and obtaining a valuable source of consumer feedback. With this in mind, organisations are beginning to realize the huge potential social media holds for facilitating market research.

Back in the day, organisations used to rely on focus groups, research and trend analysis to conduct market research, but now, with access to social media, life has become a lot simpler.

 While some larger organisations are using social media as just one avenue in their market research campaign, other smaller companies, with limited resources, are relying heavily on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as cost effective ways to conduct market research. 

According to Southern (2012), one of the most important ways to collect consumer research online is to become an active listener. How does one do that?

>Connect with your consumers on Facebook and Twitter to see what they are saying

>Follow the discussion-taking place on your page, and

>Check out other Facebook pages in your industry to see what’s being said. All of the information is widely available, it just needs to be sought after.

Another essential tool in market research involves generating discussion with consumers to gather information regarding a specific product/service. MAC Cosmetics used this technique when deciding on which shades of discontinued lipglass to bring back. Instead of conducting extensive focus groups, which can often be timely and expensive, MAC went online to the source and asked their social media fans to vote. By doing this, they were able to gather large amounts of data, quickly and cheaply, on which colours were favorites, and please the majority of their consumers by bringing back the most voted shade.

There is no doubt organisations can benefit from social media as a market research tool. It is a fantastic platform to gather data for an organisation, with numerous opportunities to gain “valuable insight into [the] industry and [the] target market.”






In last week’s e-marketing lecture, I was shocked to learn that advertisers only have to pay their fee when consumers express interest by clicking on their ad or liking their Facebook ad. It got me thinking, are most people aware of this fact? And if so, are there people out there who keep hitting their mouse buttons to purposely increase advertising costs for businesses?

The answer in yes, and in the case of Facebook, they’re known as ‘Like sellers’. These Like sellers create fake accounts that click on Facebook ads and Like campaigns, in order to significantly drive the company’s ad costs. For businesses advertising on Facebook, this has become very expensive.

Luckily Facebook are onto these Like sellers, and say they are ‘doing more to fight likes from fake accounts”. After complaints by companies that their Likes have been fraudulently boosted with fake accounts, Facebook have announced they will be implementing “newly improved automated efforts [that] will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes”.

It will be interesting to see how this new strategy will work out, and whether Like sellers will find a new way of increasing advertising costs for businesses.

My last post discussed the importance for organisations to remove their negative perceptions of social media, and instead see it as a powerful communication tool and a great source of consumer feedback. But what happens when the consumer feedback turns nasty?

Companies feeling the heat from social media are beginning to question whether the benefits of being on social media websites such as Facebook, actually outweigh the risks, or whether the perceived lack of control is too dangerous.


Retail chainstore Target is the latest company to come under fire, after a Port Macquarie primary school teacher, Ana Amini, complained the retailer was selling clothing that made young girls ‘look like tramps’. The Facebook comment attracted more than 59,000 ‘likes’ and over 30,000 comments.

This is a prime example of how the power shift between companies and consumers has led marketers to question their online presence. So why must these company’s persist?

According to experts, organisations can’t afford not to be involved in social media, especially large-scale brands such as Target. It is important to know what is being said about your brand and who is saying it, and social media provides the perfect opportunity to communicate with customers in an open environment. Those organisations avoiding social media in the hope to reduce negative criticism are forgetting that criticism exists regardless, and by not getting involved, they are choosing to ignore a huge source of feedback.

With the open, transparent nature of social media opening a door to widespread critism, it is important organisations know how to handle negative criticism from consumers. It is how they go about handling it that will define people’s perceptions of that brand or company.

Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, believes approaching the situation head-on is the best way. So many brands go internal and don’t say anything on social media at all, but Zuckerberg says it’s important to make it a “collaborative approach” with people instead of shutting down or turning it into a defensive thing. ”If someone takes the time out of their day to actually go to your page and write something, even if it’s mean, they’re passionate about your brand and they are one inch away from loving you.”


So for the companies out there remaining outsiders of social media in fear of getting trumped by damaging comments, don’t be. Get involved, take precautions, and when responding to negative feedback, always use a constructive approach, because sometimes it’s the haters that will turn into your most passionate brand advocates.