Why small businesses, social media and customer research may make difficult bedfellows

My apologies for the peace and quiet that has reigned here in recent months.  This is partly because a lot of stuff has been happening elsewhere, and partly because of a lack of progress in running social media research with small businesses.  Even for free.  Which is what I thought I’d write about.

So why have I been unable to persuade small businesses I know to experiment with using social media to obtain information about, and from, their customers? Continue reading

How social media can help small organisations to understand the strength of their brands – Part 4

The consequences for small organisations from their ability to use social media to improve their understanding of the strength of their brand(s)

I believe that the really big issue here is that the lower cost of obtaining information from social media (compared to conventional market research) provides small organisations with more scope to understand and measure peoples’ perceptions of them and their brand.  So they can obtain information they never had before.  In turn this should improve their ability to take more effective decisions. Continue reading

How social media can help small organisations to understand the strength of their brands – Part 3

Social media enables small organisations to overcome historic ‘barriers to information’

So the answer to the question that has challenged me over the years is that brand managers need to develop an adequate understanding of how people feel emotionally about their brand relative to competitors.  This is the most important area to understand.  Continue reading

Social media, smaller businesses and gathering customer information in practice: the second step

In the first post of this strand I covered my interest in working with a small business to use social marketing to gain useful customer information, and the first steps I’ve taken to do this.  I finished by saying that the next task was to develop a strategy for this company’s social media activity Continue reading

How social media can help small organisations to understand the strength of their brands – Part 2

Conventional market research fails to meet the needs of small organisations

One question that has challenged me over the years is ‘how do you really identify the attributes that are the most important?’, given what we know about the potential unreliability of the answers from conventional market research.  The market research industry has devised ways to address this, but these tend to be beyond the reach of small organisations. Continue reading

Social media, smaller businesses and gathering customer information in practice: the first steps

This is the first in a new strand of posts.  All previous ones have discussed some aspect of social media and / or information gathering and then drawn out consequences for smaller businesses in general.  During this time I’ve been looking to partner with a smaller business with which I could explore the practicalities of using social media to obtain information from customers. Continue reading

How social media can help small organisations to understand the strength of their brands – Part 1

In this post I’m going to explore the use of online information gathering techniques to better understand the complicated and slippery concept of brand strength, viewed through the lens of small organisations.  Curiously, it may be that social media can help small organisations more than large ones.  As normal, what you think you know merely suggests the next question … Continue reading