• Aniket Malvankar

User Research & Social Media

Author: Noah J. Bucholtz

Businesses are always looking to improve the development of their products and services to reach their growth and profit goals. They could look to the data collected from users of their product or service, as well as conduct user research to improve in areas. A large part of the design and development process of a pr

oduct or service is the user research, and the data it provides to assist managers in focusing more on the actual customer. With this information, users communicate what is or is not important to them from a product standpoint. There is a wide variety of ways to conduct user research, such as task analysis, surveys, prototyping, and focus groups. While all of these methods can be costly, one way of managing user research at a low cost can be through social m

edia networks.

Yes, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be utilized to be more than just a marketing and advertising outlet. In fact, more and more companies are looking to these social sites to hear customers’ opinions on why, what, and how their product can be delivered better to the daily user. Social sites for businesses have been about interactions and promoting business. Marketing departments should not be the only ones looking at these interactions; designers and researchers should be involved in looking for feedback through social platforms as well.

It has been shown that social media users are likely to

be honest about what they like and dislike through social platforms. Users often provide companies product or service feedback through comments, direct messages, tweets and pictures. Why not look to these resources for feedback in the overall improvement of the product or service provided? For example, Apple might utilize Twitter to see customer reviews on the design or interface of the newest iPhone or Apple Watch. There will always be several customers on social media that are posting comments about their experience, either negative or positive. This feedback allows companies to identify and invite the user to take part in research to get to the root of any issues, upgrades, or improvements for the future.

However, there is much more customer information on social media than just their positive and negative reviews. Social media analytics give companies an insight into what their target market’s demographics, such as their age, interests, and location. This information can help build a customer persona, an image that represents your typical customer and their behaviours. Having this persona will assist with gathering further user research and focusing on the user experience to offer a product or service that fits their needs.

If your company is not already, you should be using social media as one of your methods for conducting user research. Ultimately, customer data and feedback can be gathered at a low cost, and the benefits social platforms and the information that can be gathered from them will only continue to grow over time.

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