Eleven Tools for Performing Market Research Using Social Media

December 2, 2013
social media market research

By: Willie Pena

Social media market research can provide reliable insight for marketers on the verge of a new product launch or anticipating how a new line will perform. These casual enclaves of online customers and critics can point out trends, define audiences, identify competitors’ flaws, and locate the sites or people behind the most fervent brand activity.

Companies need to choose the most strategic tools in order to turn the noise of messages, videos and images into a clear, understandable treasure trove of marketing information. Here are 11 recommended research tools to wade through social media and effectively begin your market research.

Brand Watchdog

In order to shape image through promotion, marketers must first be aware of when a brand name is being mentioned. The smartest marketers also monitor when the fiercest competition is mentioned.

Google Alerts: Google provides a free and easy tracking system that will almost instantly send emails whenever a specific company name, product name or keyword is mentioned anywhere on the Web.

Social Mention: Designed to scan just social media, this tool will not only trace mentions but also analyze the sentiment attached to the mentions, as well as the strength of the mention and its global reach. Top related keywords are also provided. The drawback of this free service that tracks at least 80 social media sites is that it doesn’t send automatic emails like Google Alerts. Marketers will have to go to socialmention.com and manually do searches. However, for easy access, users can download a plug-in that will put a Social Mention search box in a browser’s toolbar.

Mention: Considered the cream of the crop for tracking brand talk, Mention offers more complex analysis and features than the free tools. Costing between $7 and $65 a month, Mention can automatically provide social and Web alerts by email for multiple keywords while also providing analysis of sentiments, users and sources.

Trend Spotting

Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry by watching and analyzing current trends.

Google Trends: This free tool can help pinpoint genuine interest in a product or marketing message over days, weeks or months. Marketers can track what products are being searched for or what promotional messages are connecting with social media audiences over a set period of time, by using keyword trend analysis. Trend data is presented via graphics and text.

Trendsmap: This tool analyzes brand mentions on Twitter by geographic location, showing marketers a map of real-time chatter about a product or service. Trending industry topics can be tracked over a 7-day period. Trends can be observed for a specific region or across the entire world.

Summizer: This low-cost app allows marketers to search trending topics and save custom searches to use again and again. Marketers can even tweet their search results so followers can see brand trends. Trend searches can also be localized to see how a product or message is resonating with a particular community.

Buffer: This tool doesn’t look at what others have posted about the company. Instead, it looks at what the company shares across different social media and how audiences respond. This allows marketers to see what content performs most popularly, allowing a company to set its own trends. After posts or links are shared across the web, Buffer uses a comprehensive screen to track that delivery, identifying how many clicks a post gets, how many people like it and how many people commented. Marketers can see the results of dozens of shares at one glance.

Competition Monitors

See what concerns other industry power players.

Brook: By sending a short summary email each day, Brook is a simple tool that allows you to keep track of what your competition is tweeting about most and what popular tweets are getting shared the most by followers of the competition.

ManageFlitter: This tool not only watches for specific industry topics, but also for specific usernames, allowing marketers to track what certain executives and high-profile influencers are saying.

Social Crawlytics: This tool will crawl the competition’s website and social pages, then provide an analytical report on what was shared and where. This allows marketers to see where a competitor’s audience is located and most active.


Marketers might find it beneficial to save some blog posts or articles that have been shared on social media because they provide key insight or strong influence.

Tagboard: This tool allows marketers to aggregate mentions on a digital corkboard to look at dozens of mentions at a glance, which is helpful for comparing and contrasting or getting an overall view of a brand’s daily reputation. Keep the tool open and the corkboard will grow throughout the day, adding more and more mentions. By creating a company Tagboard, marketers can allow audience members to receive a feed of chosen Twitter mentions. Furthermore, Tagboard conveniently lets marketers reply directly to mentions from the platform, which is helpful for promotion, follow-up questions or other engagement.

What are some of your favorite social tools for conducting market research? Add to the list in comments.

Meet Guest: Willie Pena

Willie Pena

Willie Pena writes about social media market research for Insights in Marketing among other forms of market research for business owners. Connect with him on Google+, LinkedIn.



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