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3 Ways to Use Social Media for Product Research and Development

3 Ways to Use Social Media for Product Research and Development

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Nov 01, 2011
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3 Ways to Use Social Media for Product Research and Development 
By Stephanie Gehman,October 31, 2011
Are you looking for creative ideas for your nextproduct or service?Have you considered the wellspring of social mediaconversations as a source of product or serviceinnovation?Keep reading to discover how you can tap socialmedia to enhance the development of your next greatproduct.
Social Media for Product Research?
Yes, that‟s correct… you can
use social media-based conversations, feedback,comments, complaints and more as a source of research and development
!This can be especially handy for smaller businesses that do not have big budgetsfor R&D.Social media is not as planned or controlled as a focus group when it comes toresearch and development; however, with concentrated time and dedication youcan
use these channels to your company‟s advantage
. And, ultimately, you canbenefit th
e very people you‟re polling about improved and new products and
services.Innovation does not have to be limited to just within your company walls, so
consider getting started with the following three steps
#1: Establish your roadmap
Ask yourself what you want to accomplish
. Are you looking for feedback onhow to improve a customer-service process within your company? Does anexisting product have flaws or need a new look?Are you looking to
develop an entirely new product or service
? Do yourcustomers have a need for a product or service that you have not thought of?Establishing your goals before you begin the research will allow you to develop a
roadmap for success. If you know what you‟re hoping to accomplish before youstart, you‟ll set yourself up fo
r keeping on track, correcting if you steer off track 
and of course restructuring or closing down the research if you‟re coming up withnothing in the area you‟re seeking.
 Part of the roadmap of goals will need to
include the arenas in the social spherein which you will be conducting the research
. Not every social channel may bethe right avenue.
YouTube may come in handy if you want people to watch a series of newproduct demonstrations.
Cisco is one of many companies using social media forms, includingYouTube to spread the word about new products and services to not just customers, but theirlarge workforce as well.
Twitter may be useful if you need to
reach larger numbers of youraudience and receive quick feedback
In 2008,Zappos asked their Twitter followers to help them rewrite the confirmation email customers receive upon placing an order with the company.
They wanted to add more “pizzazz” to the piece, so they
encourage their followers to participate in the rewriting process. The company‟s
CEO prioritizes deep connections with the customers as a way to provide theproducts and services those individuals want and need.
Creating aFacebook app would permit you means for social co-creation with your fans.
from participants on the company‟s
fan page.They offered fans the opportunity to combine their favorite flavors into a winningidea that would benefit the company with low-cost crowdsourcing and productdevelopment, and the fans with not only the chance at the $5,000 prize for thewinning flavor, but creative input into a brand they value.Jonathon Meiri, creator of Superfly.com,shares how his business discovered they could
harness the power of social media for product innovation
“Around the time that we launched (mid
-May), we set up Facebook fan pages for Superflyas well as for various elite flier groups. We wanted to facilitate interactions among users of a particular frequent-flier program and
get a sense for where their pain points would be
. In
our case, it‟s like being invited t
o one of the elite airline lounges and sitting in on aconversation between two elite travelers, understanding their pain, and then building the
products to solve it.”

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