A Focus Group At Your Fingertips

FocusGroup1Photo courtesy of Vernon Research

By Carl Turner (@leftyrightbrain)

Social media is one of the biggest shifts in modern business. Twitter boasts 50 million Tweets each day thats 600 per second. Facebook has more than 500 million active users. A new member joins LinkedIn every second. With all this information available in real time, how are you using it to influence your business strategy?

By participating in and monitoring social media, you can learn your target markets cares and concerns, gain insight on what social media platforms they use, and actively participate with them to learn how you should be marketing. Social media can also be used to strengthen relationships and explore new opportunities.

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum if your company has a Twitter profile and company Facebook page or is just getting started using social media – you should have a strategy for collecting and analyzing different streams of conversations on the Web. Then, you can use this information to effectively target marketing messages and measure their efforts.

Lets look at the how pharma companies can use social media as a ready-made focus group:

Engage in active listening. By taking the role of a more active listener companies can design new products or promotions that resonate with customers and make their brands more social. For example, if scouring social networks reveals similar complaints about the efficacy of your product or packaging design, you can make improvements or enhancements and then actively communicate new initiatives using social media. This enables companies to institute social responses that demonstrate they are responding to their customers needs.

Proactively participate. Mahatma Gadhi said if you dont ask, you dont get. If you want to learn how people are using apps to manage diabetes or reasons why people get prescriptions and then fail to fill them, consider surveying people on your company Facebook or webpage or through an interactive survey provider. Its important to establish yourself as a member of a group and actively participate in conversations prior to jumping in. However, if you regularly participate on social networks or have a following on your company blog or website, dont miss an opportunity to ask your customers or patients to engage with you.

Analyze what is being said. Online conversations provide valuable insight into customer buying patterns, likes and dislikes and behavioral data. By tracking this information, companies can produce marketing messages that address the customers needs and buying habits. This insight allows businesses to focus on the most profitable customers and understand not only how to interact with them, but where they should be focusing their efforts. Is your target audience primarily on Twitter and tweeting about their medical condition? Using your company Facebook page to air a litany of complaints or concerns? By understanding what your customers and prospects are saying and where they are posting, you can provide insight to your marketing team and incorporate effective social media activity into your business processes.

Social media offers an inexpensive and real-time way to learn whats in the hearts and minds of your customers. Businesses can monitor and measure their social interactions, gain specific and detailed information about prospects and customers, identify qualified opportunities and create value-based interactions with their buying audience.

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