Food Business Innovation: Using Social Media
Advantages and disadvantages to social media market research are discussed, followed by how engagement measures, such as "likes" and "shares" can be used to analyze consumer mindset. Finally, several examples from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are highlighted.
- [Voiceover] Without innovation, businesses and their products can become stale with customers going elsewhere to try the newest trends in the foodie world.
But how do you spark innovation?
With consumer market research.
Consumer market research is an important part of any market-driven business strategy.
Social media is one tool to be utilized when researching the newest food trends.
There are three steps to a market-driven strategy: identifying a specific group of people that have a shared interest, learning what is important to these people as consumers, and developing your products or services based on this information.
In this video, we will more closely examine step two: how to learn what is important to a group of people or consumers, otherwise known as Consumer Market Research.
No longer do we need to wait to talk with people in person in an effort to gauge their interests, passions or desires for a product or service.
A simple mention of an idea or a new product on a social media platform can lead to immediate reaction, and not just from one person.
Social media allows you to gather reactions and information from dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, at one time.
The number of social media sites available is constantly growing, allowing you to see how the different groups of people that prefer each differs or has similarity in their thoughts.
There are other advantages to using social media for consumer market research.
A key reason is the ability to immediately receive feedback.
There's no waiting for a survey to be delivered and returned, or to catch people when they are able to answer a phonecall.
Along with the immediacy of responses, you get a good feel for what they think about the message or question in a post.
Social media users are fairly open about expressing their thoughts and feelings when they go so far as to comment or respond.
A third advantage is that because so many people use social media, there are numerous interest groups and business and organizational pages, enough to learn about any type of group or consumers you have identified.
There are a couple of potential disadvantages.
One, is that the responses you receive may be biased depending on how you phrase your post.
This is because, on social media, you are typically connected with others with similar interests and beliefs.
Also, the amount of information to review can become overwhelming.
However, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
There are a number of ways that social media users can interact or engage with a post.
The simplest, and least imposing, is to like the post.
By taking the time to do this, a user is indicating that they agree, sympathize or support what's being said.
By commenting, social media users have increased their level of engagement by taking their time to express in words what they think or how they feel about the post.
Whether agreeing, disagreeing, asking a question, or offering additional information, users are providing you valuable information.
You'll also want to pay attention to shares and retweets.
These can indicate one of two things: Either the users thought highly enough about the post or its contents to share with one or more of their friends, or they found something that their friends would like to know about.
On Twitter, favoriting a tweet allows a person to easily come back to the message at some point in the future, an indication of interest or value in the content or the source.
By using the Search function provided by each social media tool, you can easily find posts on topics of interest.
Think about what your customers are interested in, or information they may be looking for when carrying out searches.
For instance, a Facebook search using the phrase 'Gluten-Free' turns up a large set of results, including one from Epicurious.
The second example shows some of the results for a search on vegetable trends.
Don't limit your search to just one social media platform.
Here, on the left, we have an example of another search result for vegetable trends, this time on Twitter.
You can see, just below the picture, that this tweet has been favorited three times.
This could be an indication that these people plan to come back to the link that is shared in the tweet.
Here is the Twitter account of Phil Lempert, the man behind The Supermarket Guru.
You can see that Phil has retweeted or shared the tweets of other users.
By following him on Twitter, you may have access to content that he finds important but doesn't have on his website.
Joining groups and following interest pages or hashtag conversations are other methods of performing research using social media.
Through these methods, rather than initiating or leading a conversation, you can lurk in the background and observe the topics of discussion or questions asked as they arise organically.
Pinterest is an excellent social media tool when researching cooking and baking topics.
Especially take notice of Pin Counts.
This indicates how many people have pinned a particular item to one of their own Pinterest boards, most likely indicating something they would like to try.
Instagram is a photo and video sharing tool.
Just like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you can search for posts by key word or find specific users to follow.
If you were interested in what was happening in the world of cheese, a quick search using 'Cheese' as your keyword would lead you to users like these: The American Cheese Society and cheeserank.com, as well as many others.
As with more traditional research, social media research should assist you in creating new or improved products or services that would spark interest from consumers.
Social media content and interactions change daily.
This allows you the great advantage of being able to keep on top of consumer interests, desires, concerns and questions.
Frequently Asked Questions