I recently wrote a blog post citing ten of the things I love about social media research. Today I address love #7.
Social media research can have sample sizes in the millions.
In traditional research, budgets are often the determining factor of sample sizes. As a result, even the best surveys rarely have more than 700 completes. Even if you are very careful to ensure that those 700 people represent all ages, genders, races, household sizes, religions, educational levels, income levels, and geographies, it’s still only 700 people. You can only hope that you’ve included all of the groups of people who ought to be sharing opinions about your products and services.
In the case of social media research, some brands can benefit beyond belief. Brands like Apple and Microsoft, and people like Obama and Bieber can generate millions upon millions of conversations in social media. Those millions of conversations are indeed millions of people. Do those millions of people reflect all of the demographic diversity behind your brand? Probably. At least it reflects all of the diversity among people who care (whether positively or negatively) about your brand and people who want to share their thoughts in social media. When it comes to listening to millions of people, you’ve essentially listened to every type of person that has any relevance to your brand. More is definitely better.