HomeResearchHow NZ Businesses Can Use Social Media for Research Purposes

How NZ Businesses Can Use Social Media for Research Purposes

When social media started to blossom during the mid 2000s, it was widely considered in the commercial sector to be an interesting and fun development, but not something to get too excited about. The years to follow would see the connection between these enterprises and digital sites draw closer together, building followings and engagements that were never possible until now.

There have been plenty of examples where New Zealand businesses have taken a progressive and proactive approach to this domain. Especially in a local business context where community engagement is a key driver of revenue and reputation, outlets no longer had to invest in fliers, radio station spots or television commercials to get their message across.

While this environment offers a multitude of benefits for domestic organisations, there is little understanding about how research initiatives work in this context. Sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and others offer a chance for owners and managers to mine data that would originally cost a lot of money to obtain.

Taking stock of quantitative and qualitative data is where social media really becomes a central tool that New Zealand businesses can leverage. Industry trends, sentiment analysis and theme categorisation are part of that package. A butcher in Auckland can assess how their customers are profiled according to their demographics. From their interactions with the account on a positive or negative scale to their gender, their location to the type of device they are using to search, it is information that should inform how these brands present themselves and interact online.

Even for those that have a very generic understanding of the site or the app, they can trace mentions, shares, likes, subscribes and overall reach. It is the type of data that traditional marketing could not receive, especially when it came to the reach of print advertising materials.

A major component that modern New Zealand businesses have to manage is the expansion of search engine optimisation (SEO) or digital media practices across the board. Although this is an exercise commonly associated with Google and relevant Google searches by customers, social media plays a big role in defining the commercial traction of these brands. Clients will scour Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a presence on these platforms. By researching these trends and determining what keywords are relevant for that niche, operators can enjoy more profile visits, likes and contacts. The intervention of word cloud programs can shine a light on this popularity for brands that want to know what type of language they should be using for their social media campaigning.

A social media exercise that would be considered under the umbrella of optimisation is data cleaning. New Zealand businesses that don’t follow the prompts and quickly create accounts on Facebook and YouTube might miss out on key details in the descriptions, the URL, the meta tags, the alt-text and other domains that drive community members to the brand. Once a thorough research of the account has been undertaken to diagnose the state of the business in these fields, the business can run a data cleaning program that fills in the blanks. This enables the organisation to truly realise their potential just by enacting some fundamental principles.

Knowing which social media site to use is where New Zealand businesses can achieve growth for their consumer base. For some corner stores, gyms and plumbers, they might find that Instagram becomes the commercial outlet of choice given the habits of their clientele. Others in IT and engineering might find that LinkedIn is more beneficial given the establishment of professional relationships in that space.

The good news for those New Zealand businesses who want to tap into the power of social media is that there are specialist firms who undertake these unique projects. A short consultation or set of sessions can open up the company to new ways of working with social media sites.

Nathan Whitford
Nathan Whitford
Nathan Whitford has founded a variety of startup businesses and knows firsthand the measure of a good entrepreneur. He likes to write about research, businesses, influential entrepreneurs and translate their insights for the benefit of his entrepreneurial readers, no matter what kind of business they want to start.
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