Social Media Marketing as Market Research

The birth of Google Places brought a change to the way your business is found on the internet. Google maps has been around for a while and has become a way for customers to determine your business’ physical location. Google maps continues to be a great method of getting directions from one place to another, but does not effect and benefit your business in the way that Google Places does.
Google places was created specifically for local searches. It serves so that if someone is searching for a dentist in their home town, for example, they won’t end up on the webToday I want to talk to you about how powerful Social Media can be as a form of Market Research. Social Networking sites consist of millions of people chattering away about their interests, day to day life, etc. Take some time and listen to what people are saying about your product, service and company and you’ve got yourself some market research.

Now, what if your company isn’t the size of Apple? Or what if you are just a local or start up business? It still doesn’t hurt to listen, you just need to change what it is you are listening for. If people aren’t talking about you, are they talking about your competitors? Listen for complaints that you can solve. If your company sells cleaning products and people are complaining about how strong their household cleaners smell, you have an issue to address with your own product. Ensure your product’s quality and then market it as odor-free.

If your company provides services, see what people in your area (or even out of your area, if applicable) are having issues with or what they like about that service. If more people are tweeting about deep tissue massages and your spa only offers hot stone massages, consider adding a new service to your list. Better yet, send out a tweet to your followers asking if deep tissue massages is something that they would be interested in buying. Offer $10 off if they mention the tweet when they come in for their first massage.

Social Media is a powerhouse for those who know how to wield of some dentist three states away. Google wanted people to be able to find businesses close to them and also to be able to make the decision of whether or not that is actually where they want to go. Google places is somewhat of a Directory listing in that it offers a place where you can give detailed information about your business such as hours of operation, payment methods accepted, etc. It also lets you put up pictures and video to show why your business is above the competition.

Google Places changed the way that the regular Google search works. Now when you search for a term such as “Tucson Dentist” in Google, it no longer brings you 7 Google maps results and 10 organic (Non sponsored) results like it used to. Now Google Place results are integrated into the organic results and the place results, so that the place results that are best optimized will show up in the top spots of the organic listings. You can see in this screenshot that the results for “Tucson Dentist” show two regular organic listings above a listing that has a Letter Mark “A”. The listing with the letter mark is a Google places listing. Where your Google places listing falls among the organic listing has to do with your competition as well as how well your Google Places account is optimized.

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