Taking social media research beyond brand tracking
I’ve written in the past about how social media offers researchers the opportunity to do more than just track brand mentions and I thought it would be useful to follow this up with a slightly more in-depth example of some research I recently conducted.
Precise were initially approached by a pharmaceutical giant with the objective of helping them to understand why one of their medical products was achieving a lower level of adoption and use than expected.
In order to do this, they needed to understand the nature of the issues facing sufferers and patients seeking or undergoing treatment to enable them to better respond to their needs by adapting product development and marketing strategies.
For the social media research component of the project (we also performed an analysis into search behaviour online), we identified all relevant conversations from public forums (which didn’t require us to set up a user account and log in) between sufferers, patients and medical experts across a six-month period.
We then performed a wide-ranging content analysis which included the focus of the post; whether it was a query, response or recommendation; whether the poster was a patient, sufferer or medical professional; and, for those who’d visited a doctor, their experience at the hands of medical professionals.
Our analysis enabled the company to understand why patients wait before seeking medical advice and what the triggers for sufferers were before taking action.
Ultimately it helped them to successfully re-position a previously under-performing product.
The study also picked up an ‘Innovation Award’ at this year’s AMEC Awards. The category seeks to recognise the most ‘creative and innovative solutions tailored to specific research challenges’.
By using social media to research what people were really thinking about specific issues relating to the research questions, we were able to reveal meaningful insights that would have been challenging and very costly to obtain through other research strategies.
(image courtesy of AJC1)