I recently tapped into my social network to research a topic for a blog post. Specifically, I asked marketers how their paid search agency could better serve their clients. I received some great feedback and wanted to share how you can use your network for research.
First, I posted a question on LinkedIn Answers
. This is one of the most useful features of LinkedIn and if you are not familiar with it, start reading answers in your industry and try to answer a few. Also you can ask members in LinkedIn groups
questions in the discussion boards if you are also a member. Two great starting points for your research.
I also found some industry-specific forums and posted questions there (see Google groups, Yahoo groups, search industry keyword + group or forum) and on Business.com
. There are many relevant sites for every industry and it is amazing how people are so open to giving advice and sharing knowledge. Once you find these forums, get involved and participate in helping others. It can be rewarding and helps build your network.
Then I went to my network on *Twitter
and asked the question with the link to the LinkedIn questions. I also sent direct messages to some folks who were active in the industry to try and get their feedback. I also searched industry terms on Tweetgrid
to see if anyone was having a discussion about the topic.
*I have been building a network on Twitter for personal and professional development. One group that I interact with is marketing professionals in the US. I started talking to people on Twitter when I was at my last job and was a one person marketing department. I discovered that Twitter was a great resource to share ideas and information. The feedback I received when I posed questions was valuable and in real time. I could have conversations with other professionals in my industry and I didn’t feel alone. Having built this network, I was able to ask questions and get some great answers. Building a network on Twitter (and on all social media sites) takes time. People should build their networks a little bit every week. Participate and share and be sure not to just sell – that is a huge turnoff. Twitter is a place where people can learn from one another.
Using social media, I was able to get great insights and feedback from a group of talented people in only a few days.
Our society is more plugged in than it has ever been and people are looking to make a connection online and offline. Social media can serve as an extension of your research efforts – it’s like an instant focus group.
My blog post - How to Be a Better PPC Search Marketing Agency