How Your Agency Can Use Social for Market Research
Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face . –Entrepreneur
Market research is vital for your agency on two levels: getting clients and keeping them. By doing the additional research legwork on your clients’ target markets, you’ll be better able to pitch to them and better able to keep them, because you’ll know those target markets better than they do.
How to Use Social Analytics to Win Agency Clients
By conducting market research on your clients’ competitors, you’ll also offer clients impressive insight and be able to tweak the social strategies you set into play accordingly.
Let’s start with the market research you can do about your clients or prospective clients.
About Your Clients
Do some research around previous campaigns. Give your clients a high-level view of how those campaigns resonated (or didn’t) with their target market.
You’ll also want to be able to tell your client about the specific ages and genders who interacted with their previous campaign(s).
And the geographical locations of those active audience members.
Finally, drill down on specific audience members. Who are the most influential people and brands (via activity, number of followers, and engagement per post) mentioning your client’s previous campaign(s)’s hashtags and keywords?
Does this audience match the target market that your client wants to reach? Use this information, and the information the client has provided to you re: who they see as their ideal customer, to come up with target personas that fit within three categories:
- The Market We Have: Describe what your social research has shown you is the market your client currently has. Use high-level numbers and also specific examples of users who have engaged with brand content.
- The Market We Want: Describe the social users your client should be aiming for in light of their goals. Again, use high-level numbers and specific examples of target audience members.
- Recommendations for Improvement: Your client has/is seeking you out for expertise, so don’t just give them the facts on their market: give them action items for moving forward and better approaching that target market.
For Your Clients
This is where your competitive market research comes in. You should investigate the following information about your client’s competitors on social.
This research shows the target market which your client’s major competitors have reached on social in the past year with specific campaigns.
Look at relative volume by term and relative share of voice for your client and its competitors during the lifecycle of specific campaigns to see how they affected these metrics.
Look at the overall picture for each major competitor campaign, from hashtag volume to reach.
Finally, look at competitive campaigns’ top posts by influence and interactions to understand what was so appealing about those campaigns and what made the conversation buzz (or not).
Competitive Brand Health
This research shows the target market your client’s major competitors have reached on social in the past year generally speaking, and as a marker of overall brand health.
You should consider and surface your client’s competitors’ overall performance in engagement, followers, and level of activity — and make your client understands where they fit in that landscape.
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I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.