Why it’s time to use Facebook fans for qualitative research

Tom Woodnutt

Tom Woodnutt

Feeling Mutual

Tom Woodnutt is Founder of Feeling Mutual, the agile online and mobile qualitative research specialists. He helps clients and agencies run global studies and offers training in the space. Tom has been a Digital Skills trainer for the Association of Qualitative Researchers (AQR) and is a regular speaker at industry conferences, including the MRS, MRMW and IleX.

Over the last few years, brands have spent millions building communities of fans on Facebook. However, this has generally been more about marketing to them rather than learning from them. And yet fans are so willing and able to share insights with the brands they love. This means that a large volume of potential insight has been left untapped in Facebook. This is about to change.

Liveminds allows brands and their agencies to invite people from their Facebook fan group into online qualitative conversations in Liveminds – all in just a few clicks. This is a big opportunity for brands and their research partners.

Highly Motivated

Firstly, fans of brands are generally more motivated and able to help in research. Their passion for the company and expertise in the category means they are great value for insight. This is both in terms of the quality of insight they give you and value for money they offer (since they require lower financial incentives to participate).

So why is it that brands have been reluctant to engage their Facebook fans in qualitative research? After all, the platform is designed for social interaction; many people are active on it and its advanced profiling and targeting functionality could be a dream for recruitment.

Stay in Control

The main reason qualitative researchers have stayed away from using Facebook comes down to a fear of losing control. This is partly because conversations in Facebook tend to be so open that competitors could listen in. But also because the ‘research effect’ in Facebook groups is heightened as people get exposed to each other’s answers before they make a comment. Similarly, you have less control over how stimulus is presented and the order in which people see your questions. (Let alone the fact that Facebook officially owns the content itself!).

Best of Both Worlds

Liveminds gets over these past barriers, by giving researchers best of both worlds. You get the control that traditional online qual software gives you. Moreover, you have all the benefits of managing a community within Facebook: Namely, that Facebook makes online research more convenient for participants (because they are already on it out of choice); it’s also more familiar for them (because people are used to being on it) and it gives the researcher targeted recruitment options through its segmentation functionality.

All this means that Liveminds Connect will give brands on Facebook better ROI from their hard-earned fan communities, by combining the social functionality of Facebook with the advanced control over qualitative research in Liveminds.

To find out more about how you, or your clients can benefit from engaging Facebook fans for qualitative research, please get in touch.

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