How well do you know your customers? Your competitors? Your industry?
Twitter can be a goldmine of data for the savvy marketer looking to stay ahead of the curve. Here are five ways to conduct market research on Twitter that will take your tweeting – and all your other marketing efforts – to the next level.
1. Track mentions
If you’re new to using Twitter for market research, start slow and simply by tracking your mentions.
Any time a consumer or brand mentions your Twitter account, it will appear in your “Notifications” tab on Twitter.com. However, you can use Twitter’s advanced search to not only capture mentions of your Twitter username (which must include the “@” symbol), but also your product name(s), brand name(s), the names of key personnel and more.
You can create a saved search that includes some or all of the above keywords, to track each and every time anyone on Twitter talks to or about you.
This information is obviously great for engagement, but it can also be used as part of your research strategy. By exploring the types of consumers who talk about your product you can learn a great deal about potential past customers.
2. Conduct polls and surveys
Surveys have been an essential component of market research for decades, and while the general idea is nothing new, the delivery methods have changed. Now, you can use Twitter to send (free of charge) polls and surveys to your audience.
You can poll them on a new product design, ask them whether price or quality is more important, or determine which issues they are most passionate about. You can gather responses in tweet form, or share a link to a longer survey hosted on your website.
3. Explore buying signals
Every day, consumers take to Twitter to complain about products they’ve purchased, ask for recommendations for future purchases, and compare similar products. They are not shy about sharing their buying signals in a public forum – which is great news for marketers.
There are several third-party tools available that can collect and analyze buying signals, or you can conduct manual searches on Twitter.com using keywords like your brand name (or a competitor’s) and “buy,” “review” or “purchase”.
Understanding where your target audience is on the buyer’s journey can help you target your messaging to bring them closer to a purchase.
4. Track trends
What’s trending right now on Twitter? From sports games to global events, Twitter has become the water cooler around which consumers gather to discuss current events.
General trends can be explored in the “Trends” sidebar when you log in to Twitter, where you can discover what’s trending globally or in various locations around the globe.
You can also use Twitter to research trends within your industry. Using tools like Keyhole, you can enter hashtags, keywords and URLs to see what’s popular right now among your target audience.
This can offer up some great insight into what you should be talking about, what topics to avoid, and how to combine your product or service with the trends that your audience cares about.
5. Spy on the competition
No market research plan would be complete without an understanding of the competition – and Twitter is a great place to start.
Thanks to Twitter’s open nature, you can dig through any competitor’s profile to see who they follow, what their content strategy looks like, who they’re responding to and more. You can get this information manually, by visiting their profile, or you can plug their username into a service like Followerwonk to view statistics about their followers and their account.
By understanding who your competitor is talking to and what they’re saying on Twitter, you can develop a stronger content and targeting strategy for your own business.
(Research image via Shutterstock)