Have you considered using social media to test your latest business ideas? When I listen to most of my clients talking about social media, they are so focused on selling to the masses that they forget they have access to a focus group most marketers could only dream about. For a small investment, businesses can get a feel for the commercial viability of their ideas.
Read What They Write
Social media monitoring is another way to gauge whether there is interest in your idea. However, instead of asking consumers directly, through advertising engagement, you set up social searches, using tools like Brandwatch or Falcon, to see if people are talking about the type of service or product you have in mind.
Once the searches are set up, you can discover whether people are looking for a solution like the one you have in mind. One of the advantages of this approach is the insight you’ll glean into the way consumers discuss the solution, which can help you craft marketing messages that resonate with customers.
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Toe in the Water
A client of mine runs a small painting operation, but his dream is to lead fishing and adventure trips across Canada. He has a specific target market in mind for these trips, and he asked if there was a way he could gauge interest using social media.
We built a Facebook page, created a campaign with a few ads, and ran a two-week ad campaign that reached about 18,000 people in his target market. The benefits of this type of campaign are two-fold. First, he can judge based on the likes, comments, shares and clicks the popularity of his wilderness idea. Second, if he does decide to move forward with his idea, he already has a Facebook page, an idea of which ad messages connect to customers, and followers.
Just Ask Them
If you don’t have the budget to run a Facebook campaign or use social listening tools, you can still create a virtual focus group. Find your ideal customers on Twitter, using a hashtag and keyword searches, and create a new list for these people. You’ll want to find about three times as many people as you’d like to talk to, as not everyone will be willing to answer your questions.
Once you’ve made your list, engage with the people on your list (unfortunately, it has to be individual – Twitter doesn’t allow you to message your list), either asking them questions or sending them a link to a survey. You’d be surprised at how many responses you get.
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Author: Arye Zacks