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How to Use Social Media for User Research and Validation

Social media has taken the world by storm with over 1.96 billion people have used it in 2017. Our everyday lives are incomplete without some measure of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every day, and that can be a wonderful thing for app makers.
Your business needs an app that your customers would actively use and love, an app that cuts through the crowd and brings true value to your customers. It is therefore vital that you do a thorough market research to find out what kind of app you should build, where your audience is and what they want, before moving forward. One of the most effective ways to do that is user research. User research is a fundamental step in laying the groundwork for a useful app, and hence must be approached with meticulous flair. This is where social media is coming to your aid.
Here’s how you can use social media to find the right market for your app:

1. Identify the Right Keywords and Monitor Them Across Channels
Identifying relevant keywords is the first step to any research. The trick is to use the right keywords that your target audience uses, not the ones that you use at work. Huddle up your team and think of all the various ways customers might be mentioning your services and all the different contexts in which they do so.
One of the best things about using social media for research is that it lets you tap into real-time, in-the-moment details of what your audience is talking about right now. Getting responses as spontaneous is less likely in other conventional forms of user research such as interviews. If the participants in an interview have to think and analyze before answering, you might get the right results for some questions but not others, especially questions regarding mundane everyday activities that users perform without much thought, such as how many times a day do they use a map or what time of the day do they most likely stream music.
Social media research, on the other hand, can give you a much more precise data such as the times at which a music streaming app saw most traffic. Just map the right keywords and look out for all the times your phrases, hashtags or accounts get a mention of social networks.

2. Use The Right Tools, Gather Data, and Glean Insights
You will need some tools to help you with your social media research. To begin with, use the free tools available within the social networks, such as the Twitter Advanced Search or Facebook Groups. Twitter is generally more conducive to such search, while Facebook’s privacy settings make it a tad difficult.
These resources will help you gather primary data at no cost, giving you an indication of which way you are headed. From there you can move on to more sophisticated paid tools such IBM Watson Analytics, Hootsuite or Sprout Social. You can also go for more customized solutions like Social Studio from Salesforce and Social Cloud from Oracle.
All of these tools help you gather extremely relevant and critical data that illuminate trends in user behavior that are hard to uncover from any other methodology.

3. Build A Community And Listen To It
What better way to find out what the users think than to ask them, right? Of course, it’s tricky to ask each one of your millions of users, but a well-engaged community that is active on social media can be your go-to for completely reliable wide-scope feedback. Building such a community sure takes time and needs a good deal of work, but once you’ve done the legwork, your community can supply real-time insights, priceless feedback, engagement and brand advocacy.

4. Gather The Most Helpful Beta Testers
Finding a good beta tester can be quite a task for any business hoping to test their new app. Just launching a beta version and hoping that some people will pick it up isn’t nearly as helpful as a strong beta community that will actively test all app features, observe carefully to spot any flaws and give useful feedback, to help make the app better. Using social media to build a strong beta community can be one of the best ways to get the most precise feedback and insights.

Wrapping Up
On one hand, the app ecosystem is already overcrowded with millions of apps. On the other hand, every business must have an app. Between those two self-contradicting phenomena, going about building an app for your business becomes a tightrope act. The fact remains that despite the crowd, there’s always space for a genuinely good app, and your business surely needs one. The idea is to steer clear of the noise and build an app that brings real value to your customers. Social media user research helps you do just that and the above steps will help you formulate the perfect strategy.

Author Bio:-

Almeda Brook is a freelance writer for MoveoApps, her skillfulness is writing about technology, business, and digital marketing. Previously, she worked as a Content Marketing Strategist at a software startup. She graduated with honors with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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