Since the days of the Myspace era, and now to the era of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, people have been sharing very valuable information that most companies would pay for. People share the products they enjoy, the ones they don’t, the colors they prefer, the items they buy, and the services that that they enjoy or even detest.
Consumers are basically giving businesses an insider look into their world. Most of this information is shared voluntarily through their Facebook pages. Basically the only things consumers aren’t sharing are their bank account number and routing numbers.
To give a clearer picture of what Social Media has opened up, let me give you a more vivid example. We’ll use the movie “What Women Want” in which Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson), a Chicago advertising executive accidently got electrocuted and was then able to read the thoughts of women. Do you see where this is going? If not I’ll explain.
Through Facebook in particular those who have Facebook Fan Pages have access to the minds of the consumers just like Mel Gibson had the access to the minds of women. Some are unaware of the power they posses and have not been using it effectively. I’m responsible for the social media of a very innovative company called TerraCycle and the original flagship product, which the CEO Tom Szaky started the company with, is a product called “Worm Poop”(An eco friendly fertilizer).
During the beginning of October the Worm Poop bottle was going through a redesign for the packaging and labeling. So instead of picking it we decided to put the 4 different bottle design options on our Facebook page and let the fans tell us which design they wanted us to use. We received a great amount of response with nearly 200 comments from fans that chose the design they wanted us to use for Worm Poop. (See Image attached)
We also gave one random fan a Yak Pak Backpack for responding. He was so thrilled that he even created a Youtube video based on the market research question we put out there.
This is just one instance in which we are able to hear the mind of the consumers through social media. We were able to hear from supporters of our products: what they would like to see, what they did not like, and what could be done better. This builds trust with our fans and shows them that we are thinking of them when we create products.
This is also a win-win for us because we are able to give a product knowing that it was developed with the minds of our audience, which means we are more inclined to sell more of the product because it was surveyed by our fans. Facebook pages have so much untapped value that you should be utilizing.
Have you noticed that more and more companies promote their Facebook pages even over their websites? Next time you’re watching a commercial pay attention because major brands are using Facebook links at the end of TV ads instead of website links. This is because websites can limit the interaction one can have with their audience as opposed to Facebook which gives you access to meet the needs of your fans by getting direct feedback from them.
So if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on market research develop your social networks and ask insightful questions that give you the ability to tap into the mind of your audience.