On any given day the internet is abuzz with user-driven activity. According to TechAmerica.org, there are around 500 million Facebook updates, 340 million Tweets and 2 million blog posts every day, and these numbers are only expected to increase over time.
With such intense activity businesses have already recognized the value of social media marketing to promote their brands, but using the same channels to inspire innovation presents a new challenge. Useful ideas are like needles in the haystack of social media activity.
Fortunately, with the growing availability of social media management tools, like Tweet Deck, Hootsuite and Engage 121 to name a few, a bit of order can be found from the cacophony of noise. By analyzing customer feedback with an eye towards innovation, you can tap into a great wealth of new ideas with relative ease.
Examine Customers’ Likes, Dislikes and Questions
How you filter what customers are saying about your product or service can lead to opportunities for innovation. For example, discovering a pattern of positive responses about your business can suggest ways to further capitalize on its success. Knowing what resonates with customers may lead to enhancements of your current product or service, and can even spawn ideas for new products or services.
Likewise, recognizing consistently negative feedback illustrates areas that need improvement. Perhaps there’s a need to reshape your product or eliminate undesirable aspects of your sales procedure. Maybe an adjustment to your marketing strategy would do the trick.
Noticing repeated questions or a general lack of understanding about what you offer reveals an obvious demand for innovation. Can what you’re offering be simplified? Are there similarities between the customers asking questions, or is there confusion across the board? Answering these questions and others like them will put you on the right track to finding effective solutions.
Keep an Eye On Your Competition
It is also quite helpful to see what’s going on behind enemy lines. By using the same criteria with which you’ve examined feedback about your own business, you can analyze what people are saying about your competitors to yield valuable opportunities for innovation and conversions.
Seeing what your competitors are having success with may lead you to develop a similar product or service to tap into that success. It could simply be that they’ve found a more effective way to feature what they’re selling.
Identifying what customers dislike about your competitors offers you the chance to provide a more desirable alternative and gain an edge. Ideally, you’ll be able to exploit a competitor’s weakness without simultaneously creating one within your business.
Similarly, by examining what questions people are asking about your competitors products, you may stumble upon ideas for offering a simpler solution to their needs and win their business.
Look Outside The Box
In many ways, customers are already doing the innovating, and all you have to do is pay attention. You may find that customers are using your product or service in ways you hadn’t anticipated. As customers customize and personalize what you offer, they’re providing an invaluable glimpse of ways you may consider tailoring your product accordingly.
It is also important to look at what rising trends your customers are talking about. Incorporating new technologies or popular platforms not only satisfies customers’ desires, but also helps to ensure that you’re ahead of the curve now instead of catching up to it later.
As the effectiveness of using social media for business becomes increasingly evident, using it as a font of innovation creates a mutual benefit for customers and entrepreneurs alike.