| Jun 12, 2023 | | 12 min read

10 valuable insights (and tips) you’ll get from conducting social media market research


As a marketer that sells social media packages, conducting social media market research is an essential part of what you do. But did you know that conducting research on an ongoing basis instead of at the start of a campaign alone offers exceptional benefits? Ongoing research provides you with continual, up-to-date information about your clients’ target audiences to help you tweak campaigns and create new marketing initiatives.

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In this post, we’re digging into the various insights you can get from conducting market research for social media campaigns, as well as tools and business social media ideas you can use to make sure your research is efficient and useful.

10 valuable insights you can get from social media market research

97 percent of online consumers access social media at least once per month and 37.9 percent of those people have made a purchase after engaging with advertisements or posts on social media (Statista). That’s why understanding how to get (and keep) the attention of those consumers is necessary if you want to launch successful social media marketing campaigns.

Market research can tell you more than just which companies you’re competing against in the industry. It can also help you gain a variety of valuable insights over time that help you better optimize your marketing campaigns.

1. Consumer preferences and behaviors

Social media market research is a powerful tool when it comes to taking a deep dive into the minds and hearts of consumers.

Think about it: social media is where people gather, connect, and express their preferences and personalities. It's a goldmine of information and if you can tap it, you can access the desires and behaviors of nearly any client’s target audience. By using tools to carefully analyze social media conversations and user-generated content, you’ll quickly have insight into what makes your audience tick. Analyze likes and dislikes to identify patterns and uncover emerging trends, determine brand perception and identify the next steps to an effective marketing campaign.

2. Demographics and psychographics of your target audience

While demographics give you details about your target audience such as age, gender, location, and income, psychographics take it a step further, delving into things like attitudes, values, interests, and lifestyle choices.

Understanding the demographics and psychographics of your target audience is like holding a treasure map to marketing success. It gives you the juicy bits like who your customers are, what makes them unique, and the best platforms and marketing tools you can use to connect with them. Use this information to create personas for your target audience and to craft tailored, meaningful messages in your marketing campaigns.

3. Brand perception

Reputation management on social media requires insight into how your client’s brand is perceived in the first place. Your social media market research can help you gather the knowledge you need to understand how consumers view the brand, as well as what steps you can take to improve or change their perception. Do consumers view the brand as witty, trustworthy, professional, or fun? Are its products and/or services seen as high-quality and luxurious or affordable? These perceptions will shape everything from attitudes about the brand to consumer purchasing decisions.

Brand perception is a qualitative metric that can be analyzed by reviewing social media conversations and mentions, online reviews, and user-generated content. Use the data you gather about brand perception to shape future marketing strategies.

4. Competitor analysis and comparison

If you’re looking for the ultimate marketing tool to add to your arsenal, competitor analysis is it. This data helps you better understand what you’re up against, as well as the landscape your brand is operating within, giving you a unique edge over others in your industry.

Competitor analysis and comparison is about studying several factors as they pertain to your competitors:

  • Strategies: What social media platforms and marketing techniques are other businesses in your industry using to connect with audiences? Look beyond what they’re posting and analyze how they engage with their followers and other members of their community.
  • Strengths: What are your competitors doing well? Do they have a visually appealing social media page, do they engage with their followers frequently? Take note of what they do well and more importantly, how you can do it better.
  • Weaknesses: Your competitors’ weaknesses are your opportunity to shine. Find out what they could improve on and strategize ways to fill in those gaps on your own social media pages.

Comparison plays a pivotal role in this process so take time to benchmark your client’s brand against the competition. Keep in mind that it’s not about copying or imitating what their competitors are doing, but rather leveraging your own unique value propositions so that you can stand out against the crowd.

5. Effectiveness of marketing campaigns and messaging

Analyzing social media conversations, engagement metrics, and customer sentiment gives you the opportunity to better understand how impactful your marketing efforts actually are. They help you identify which social marketing campaigns and messaging strategies resonate with your audience vs. which don’t.

6. Industry trends

 Social media market research is a great way to gain a better understanding of what’s happening throughout your industry. It can help you identify emerging trends and customer preferences, as well as shifting market dynamics.

For example, a fashion brand can use market research on social media to monitor discussions among their target audience and watch for keywords, hashtags, or content that indicates upcoming trends. This helps the brand determine what products to import or design in the near future and how to shape their marketing strategy when those new products are released.

Other ways you can use social media to gather insights on industry trends include:

  • Watching user-generated content: Keep an eye on videos, stories, and posts from users that are within the brand’s niche to see what’s trending.
  • Monitoring influencers: Conduct some research to determine which influencers are most popular in your industry and keep an eye on what they’re talking about.
  • Paying attention to sentiment and engagement: Watch what people are chatting about within the brand’s industry. Monitor engagement on certain topics, products, and hashtags that are relevant and keep an eye on how users are reacting to them.

7. Customer satisfaction and sentiment

Customer feedback provided in comments, reviews, and user-generated posts is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of how customers feel about a brand and to identify areas for improvement in your social media strategy.

There are several key ways that social media market research helps you measure and understand customer satisfaction and sentiment:

  • Tracking mentions: Watch mentions of the brand to find comments, feedback, reviews, and other forms of feedback on social media platforms.
  • Monitoring complaints: Identify patterns in customer complaints and negative feedback to address issues and reevaluate your strategies.
  • Guiding interactions: Use social media market research to direct the way you interact with followers, basing your strategy on their sentiment, as well as your clients’ guidelines for social media management.

8. Identification of influencers and opinion leaders

The right influencers and opinion leaders can quickly help you attract the attention of your target audience. Social media market research can help you identify which social media personalities have the most influence with consumers, as well as whether they have the right voice and personality you’re looking for.

Influencers are a quick (and often affordable) way to amplify brand messages through trusted and respected voices. When influencers endorse or promote a brand’s products and services, it typically has a profound impact on their followers’ purchasing decisions and brand perception.In fact, it’s worth noting that an estimated 50% of Millennials trust product recommendations from social media influencers, while 92% of markets strongly believe that influencer marketing is effective (HubSpot).

9. Insight into potential partnerships and collaborations

Collaborating on products, services, or promotions with other brands can be a great way to garner attention from a whole new audience that’s within your target market.

Utilize social media market research to identify brands that have similar values and identities and reach to discuss the potential for partnerships or cross-branding. Some good examples of brands that have done this in the past include Pottery Barn and Sherwin Williams, Yeezy and Adidas, and Taco Bell and Doritos.

10. Content ideas and themes for social media posts

When you’re low on inspiration, market research on social media can help you quickly get the ideas you need to create effective social media posts that convert. Look through the pages of competitors, influencers, and similar-sized businesses to inspire your own posts. That said, always make sure you’re creating your own content and posts without plagiarizing others.

Things you’ll need to conduct social media market research

To effectively conduct market research on social media, you’ll need several tools at your disposal.

Social listening and analytics tools

Social listening and analytics tools take the guesswork out of market research and help you monitor the web for mentions of a particular brand, industry, product, service, or keyword. Analytics tools provide you with important metrics about your social media pages such as engagement and follower counts, as well as comparisons over time to help you understand where and when you’ve been most successful.

Keyword and hashtag research tools

Keywords and hashtags are essential parts of any social media campaign. They help you ensure the right audience can find your content, and they help algorithms on Google, Instagram, and other platforms properly index your content.

Finding the right keywords and hashtags to use on your social media posts can seem like a challenge; however, using keyword and hashtag research tools can help you better understand which ones have better search volumes, the intent behind those searches, and the potential cost-per-click should you choose to promote your posts.

Access to your clients’ social media platforms

To properly conduct social media market research on behalf of clients, you’ll need full access to all of their social media pages. This enables you to effectively review analytics and monitor for mentions.

Knowledge of your target audience and industry

Without a comprehensive understanding of who you’re marketing a brand to and what you’re marketing, it’s difficult to design effective social media campaigns.

Before undertaking social media projects on behalf of your clients, take time to get to know them, their businesses, their industries, and the type of person they usually sell to.

Research objectives

Start your market research with a purpose. Write down the questions you have about your client and its competitors before you get started to guide you in your research.

Questions you might ask include:

  • How does the average social media user perceive this brand?
  • Which businesses are at the top of this industry?
  • Who are the top social media influencers in this industry?
  • How well do competitors engage with their followers?
  • What type of posts draw the most engagement?

Budget and resources to support the research process

Social media market research can be time consuming. Make sure your client understands the process and is aware of the amount of time budgeted for the research portion of their social media project. Furthermore, if your agency is able to, assign a person or team to handle market research exclusively.

Best practices to conduct social media market research

You don’t have to go into your social media market research project blind. Armed with the tools listed above and this set of best practices, you’ll be able to quickly navigate the social media landscape to gather the insights you need.

1. Define clear research objectives

Make sure you understand what you’re looking for before you dive in. There are plenty of reasons to conduct social media research so determine if you’re looking to gain edge over the competition, scope out influencers or brands to collaborate with, or gather some intel on customer sentiment and brand perspective.

Before you get started, write out questions you want answered in your research and create plan to help yourself find exactly what you need.

2. Use varied research methods

Don’t rely on metrics alone to conduct your research. Combine the quantitative info you gather from analytics tools with qualitative research such as brand mentions and sentiment.

3. Focus on relevant social media platforms

There are plenty of social media platforms out there and if you plan to conduct social media market research on all of them, you’re probably getting a little too ambitious. Focus on the mainstream social media platforms that people actually use. That includes Google Business Profile, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

4. Monitor trends and patterns over time

Things change over time and that include social media trends. Conducting research once isn’t going to give you the entire picture. Log into your clients’ social media platforms on a regular basis to conduct research and stay on top of changes in trends and patterns.

5. Engage with your audience

Don’t just eavesdrop on the conversations your audience is having online, engage with followers and consumers on other profiles to find out how they feel about the brand. This is a better way to gather organic reviews and insight from people who have direct experience with your client.

6. Use social media listening tools

Social media listening tools are the best and easiest way to track mentions online and the sentiment behind them.

7. Watch your competitors

Don’t just focus on your clients’ social media pages—watch their competitors closely, too. Track their mentions, watch their engagement, and use the intel you gather as a benchmark for your clients’ social media pages.

8. Utilize data visualization

When you’re communicating metrics to your client, use graphs, charts, and other visual data to more effectively display their social media success.

9. Continuously evaluate and adjust

Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board when something isn’t working. Social media is an ever-changing being and that requires brands to adapt quickly to changing trends. When you create your social media strategies, do it with these insights at the forefront of your mind.

10. Use social media market research to inform your overall marketing strategy

The research you conduct should be at the heart of your social media and marketing strategy. As you learn more about your clients’ audience and competition, adjust your strategies accordingly to stay on top of emerging trends and changes in your clients’ industries and the general social media landscape.

Frequently asked questions

What is social media market research?

Social media market research is the process of gathering information about a brand, it’s audience, and its competitors. It’s done by exploring social media platforms and analyzing various qualitative and quantitative metrics, including engagement and customer sentiment.

What are some effective social media market research techniques?

Social listening and analytics are the easiest and most effective ways to gather information about how a brand is performing on social media platforms and how the audience perceives it.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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