As someone who is active in many in online groups for business and personal interests, the market researcher in me can't help but wonder what group admins and moderators are doing to manage and capture feedback for business decisions. Most of the time these folks are policing groups and making sure people follow the rules, posting content, and replying to questions or posts. Admins receive a lot of anecdotal qualitative feedback but are not able to truly measure the temperature of a groups' opinion on various topics being discussed. With an abundance of information and engagement happening in online groups and forum site such as Reddit, it is nearly impossible for someone to fully take in and process the information into useful that data decision-makers can use. Sure, they could port feedback into social media monitoring tools or text analytics tools, but this does not address deep profiling requirements or monitor feedback trends that business decisions may want to view.
A great example is that I am a part of a wellness and lifestyle group on Facebook that is obviously there for marketing a certain product that I don't have any interest in buying, but I do enjoy the content and topics that are being posted and discussed. I don't think the admin knows that I have no interest in purchasing their products or services. Why is that? Because they don't have a way to get to know me within a group! There's no way to drill down to expose a potential goldmine of data that could help a business grow in order to understand what it may take to convert a new sale or how to best present their content to more folks like me in the world.
This is where panel management solutions, such as Communities, can bridge the gap. Instead of forcing businesses to make blanket-style decisions, using Communities can offer a better picture of who is saying or doing what and when through combining the ability to profile each respondent, view activity history, and initiate intimate engagement opportunities.
Leveraging online communities for research is something that researchers have been doing for the past 10+ years. One of the things that makes online communities one of the fastest growing methodologies is in part due to the wide range of qualitative options. For example, online discussions, smartphone ethnographies, online focus groups, and depth interviews offer qualitative results. The ease of access to members in the community, in most cases the customer, make these qualitative tools even more valuable. But when should they be used? Why should you use one over the other?
Qualitative methodologies can be divided into Synchronous vs. Asynchronous. Synchronous would be those like focus groups or depth interviews. Asynchronous are more like online bulletin board studies and diaries. Basically, is the research being done with groups or is it taking more of solo approach. These are a couple of the factors that need to be taken into account. But there are also many other methodologies that take it beyond the typical ‘Discussions’ and weave in more of a Smartphone ethnographic approach. In addition, closed looped feedback or collaborative qualitative research are two other paths that a research can take to tackle business opportunities.
To learn more about Communities and panel management solutions, please check out our e-book on panel management solutions and contact us to learn more on how to implement a panel management solution that fits your customers' preferred engagement style.