To tweet, or not to tweet – it’s a question that businesses ask us constantly (and likewise with Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) Engaging in social networking certainly uses up a bit of resource, so rightfully, companies want to know what they get in return for this and what their ROI will be.
While we still maintain the belief that a broad social networking strategy is not right for everyone, those companies that we work with that are engaging, are reaping strong rewards. The returns go far beyond new dollars generated via sales too – with brand recognition increases, not to mention the excellent value your base has to be utilised as a market research tool.
Consider a few numbers here… Interviews for market research cost anywhere between $80 and $400 each and the average eight person focus group costs around $6,000. Now, the average Facebook page has nearly 5,000 fans and lets say 5% of those actively engage and give feedback on the page. This would be equivalent to about 250 market research interviews, or 30 focus groups. Assuming you haven’t spent big bucks incentivising your customers to respond, you’re likely to be able to generate hugely positive ROI from your Facebook page in one single research project.
As a tool, social networks are incredibly valuable, especially for small businesses, to be able to tap into real customer comments and remove some of the guesswork from their decision making. While not a completely random sample, social research contains immensely useful insights for businesses and highlights the gains that a two-way dialogue with customers can create.
We believe that it is important to move beyond basic interactions such as clicking ‘follow’ or ‘like’ and start activating fans to provide richer insights.