The Power of Digital Scouting for Product Design
Over the past 6 years Untapped has been busy building an incredible network of global freelance talent – from industrial designers, to futurists, to digital / data analysts and beyond. Our extended network of over 50 carefully chosen connections has played a vital role on our client projects and critically informing how we think and evolve as an innovation agency. This blog introduces Rosie Blake, founder of The Social Club, a Social Media consultancy and influencer community. Enjoy!
There’s no denying that Social Media is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our every day lives. For most of us, this probably just means regular notifications from our friends tagging us in Facebook video funnies, finding ourselves spending too long scrolling through Instagram or jumping straight on to Twitter whenever we need to complain about something to customer services. But instead of focusing on ‘likes’ and ‘comments,’ could there be a more useful, tangible way to utilise Social Media for more than just content and take advantage of the huge customer data-pool that comes with each Social channel?
In some recent research for Untapped, I found out that the answer to that question is a very big yes. After all, if consumers are spending so much of their time on Social Media, surely it makes sense to follow them there when we’re looking at customer research? People share so much online these days, especially about products and how they use them at home…and don’t even get me started on ‘what I ate’ food shots! It’s pretty easy to find out more about people’s habits, likes, dislikes and the products they use from the data they share publicly and it happens to be very useful when it comes to research and development projects for product design – after all where better to gather information from about consumer habits than somewhere they’re sharing it honestly and daily? From finding out how much customers are talking about your brand versus your competitors, to monitoring sentiment, finding out how people use your product the most and coming across ideas for product innovation based on what consumers are creating with or adapting your product at home, Social Media channels are a valuable resource that can be easily utilised with the time and the right know-how.
Here’s some of my top tips to get you started and help you to look at your social channels in a new way when it comes to research – who said all that Social Media was useful for was funny cat videos?
- Search, search, search
There are so many places for your audience to post and share content now that you need to cover all bases when it comes to searching for feedback. Treat it like a treasure hunt. It’s all about the search. As well as looking at the basics such as brand and competitor Facebook pages, make sure you’re also using the search bar to scour video content, blogs and user comments. It helps to know your social channels and what they’re most likely to be used for – an Instagram search will most likely show you what your consumers are doing with the product on a day to day basis, Twitter will be where they go to make comments (and likely, more complaints) about products and packaging issues, Facebook video should show you inspiration around products and YouTube is likely to host more content from influencers. And don’t forget Pinterest where you’ll find the most aspirational and creative uses of products when it comes to ideas for development.
2) Use Hashtags
Hashtags are an easy way to group information and make your search a little easier. using these to search will quickly pull together an overview of opinion, imagery and information for you to base your feedback on – from there it’s easier to delve deeper into trends that you see emerging in consumer opinion or innovation ideas. All social platforms use hashtags to make it easier to find the content you’re looking for. It’s particularly useful on Instagram to get a quick visual view on how consumers are using and sharing your products, and compare your competitors.
3) Try some tools
Of course there are a wealth of tools to help you pull information from Social Media that can be used to make your life easier. While a manual search is still most effective when it comes to getting into the detail and analysing trends, a Social Media tool will give you additional information you can’t provide yourself, such as an overview on the market share of mention between you and your competitors, keywords used alongside your brand name when being shared on social media, and overall positive/negative sentiment split of what people are saying about your product.
4) Prepare to be surprised
Social Media really gives you an insight into people’s lives and allows you to tap into their daily habits in a way that other research methods might not. So be prepared for some surprising results. Maybe your food product is being eaten at a different time of day than you expected, or used as an ingredient to make something totally different – you’ll find out once you sneak a peek into your customer’s Instagram feed. It’s amazing what you can find that your usual research might miss.
Social Media is ever-evolving so as we all start to share more of our lives online, the uses of Social Media when it comes to customer research will continue to grow. For now, I’ve started to tap into its power for consumer research projects and look forward to seeing what I find out next for Untapped’s clients. Hopefully this research will soon help brands to create even more innovation based on consumers’ needs and wants….and what they unknowingly ask for on their Social Media profiles.