I hate social media research because: It doesn’t do anything better than what I’m already doing #5 #MRX

Pullet Surprise (film)

I recently wrote a blog post citing ten of the biggest complaints about social media research. Today I address complaint #5.


Social media research doesn’t do anything better than what I’m already doing.


This is an easy complaint to address. How else are you measuring opinions in social media without using social media research? How else are you learning what people are saying about you behind your back and without your prompting them on every item. How else are you gathering opinions from thousands of people all across the country on a daily basis? With that basic methodological issue put aside, let’s address the other issue.


There are so many other methods that people are already using that do just as good a job as social media research does.


  • Surveys address my very specific questions in very specific detail. Agreed, but social media research can go beyond the 30 minutes barrier where the data quality of survey declines very rapidly. Use the survey to get the initial set of quantitative data as accurate as possible. Then, go to social media research to get the rest of the psychographic data.
  • Focus groups let you interact with and probe research participants as they use products. Agreed, but social media research gets you out of the lab and peek into real life to learn how people talk to their peers in a natural environment. So do the focus group. Observe and learn. Then go to social media to find out so many more intricate details that didn’t come up during the focus groups.

When it comes right down to it, there is no one research method that can solve every problem nor solve the entire problem. Surveys need to be used to do the part that they do well – census rep quant. Focus groups need to be used to do the part they do well – indepth qual. And similarly, social media research needs to be used to do the part it does well and that doesn’t mean mimicking other methods. It means large samples, unsolicited opinions, geographical diversity, and spontaneous unexpected topics of discussion.

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