Collecting research data from within social media sites: What works and what does not
Social media is an increasingly hot topic due to its exceptionally rapid growth. We are at a time of massive global adaptation with Internet penetration increasing on a daily basis in every country. In addition, people are now connecting to the Internet via multiple means of technology – laptop, PC, mobile phone, TV, etc. – to not only access content, but also create it. By offering their platforms for free, major social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube have facilitated the creation of massive amounts of consumer generated content and have enabled marketers to capitalize on gaining access to social media users in order to gather their opinions. The exceptionally rapid growth of social media has enabled the Internet to offer limitless opportunities for researchers to connect, in new mediums, with vast populations of diverse people who are spending more and more of their free time online every day. These shifts are creating the ideal environment to interact with consumers – on the consumer's terms – while gifting researchers with an ability to harness the insights they crave. However, social media fashioned engagement for the purposes of market research, is not yet a mainstream practice as our industry continues to struggle with offering online surveys that are simultaneously respondent-centric and methodologically sound.