Intro to Research Methods: Collecting Data through social media

Social media based conversions through dataSocial media is the biggest thing to hit the internet since its invention.  According to Nielson Wire, Americans spend nearly a quarter of their online time social networking and blogging—and most of it is spent on social networking sites.

“Social networking” encompasses a broad swath of the internet, involving sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Since so much time and energy is spent on these sites, it’s no surprise that researchers are turning an eye to social media when gathering information.  But what does research through social media sites do when it comes to social media based conversions?  What can social networking tell the intrepid businessperson that’s looking for a new way to expand or get the word out about their business?

·     Social media keeps you abreast of the hottest topics.

Any good business person knows that it’s always a good idea to keep on top of the “pulse,” or the most talked about topics of the moment.  You can use social media reliably to figure out what people are interested in—simply open up your browser to see what the buzz is!

·     See what the competition is up to.

It’s highly likely that anybody who’s trying to conquer the same area of business as you are has a Twitter feed or is connecting with others on LinkedIn.  You can follow your competition through their social media activity and learn what demographics they are advertising for and what lingo they’re using to sell.

·     Get the info from the source.

One of the greatest things about social media is that it gives you a platform to openly interact with your audience.  Want to know more about the kinds of things that your customers are looking for on websites or the services they’d like to see with your product?  Send out a Tweet or get on your Facebook page and ask them!

Keep in mind that social media users are not necessarily an accurate representation of society at large—any data collected through social media means should be gathered with this in mind.  Those who regularly use Facebook or Twitter shouldn’t be taken as representative of everybody who could be interested in your product—but social media is a great avenue to get data for your company or brand.  And that should give you something to tweet about, which might just lead to social media based conversions!

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Laura Hancock is a co-owner of She has also been a long time writer for us. She writes with a passion for accuracy and flow. While her administrative duties have grown, she is a still a big piece of our content writing services team! Currently pursuing a certification in Technical Writing at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle. +Laura Hancock

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