Will healthcare clients warm up to social listening in 2017?
The Value of Social Media in Market Research
Over the last couple years, leading brands have started to realize that using social media listening as a research methodology is an in-depth and cost-effective tool for gaining insights into their customers, market, and brand reputation. At Crimson Hexagon, a major player in the field of social data analytics, founding chief technology officer Chris Bingham says that, with a billion people using social media and generating even more pieces of information, the potential is huge.
Social listening provides brands the opportunity to tap into the “world’s largest focus group” and observe their current and past conversations. Contrary to traditional focus group research, which involves trading incentives for insights and calls for a moderator to lead the conversation, social listening allows brands and researchers to join in on customer conversations. Further, the easy access and unintrusive nature of social media helps to promote user interaction, engagement, and participation.
The Use of Social Listening in Healthcare Research
Social listening is exponentially gaining traction in consumer research, but what about its utilization in the healthcare space?
Social media is an insight goldmine for brands large and small, and when properly examined with the help of data analytics tools it can provide social intelligence that serves as a foundation for impactful brand strategies in all industries. Just as in consumer research, healthcare brands can use social monitoring to track metrics like brand sentiment, volume of impressions, and overall themes among customer segments. Additionally, tuning into social media and online communities' conversations allows healthcare brands to conduct background research on medications, find patient testimonials, and identify digital key opinion leaders (KOLs) and patient influencers.
However, while some pharmaceutical brands are adapting to the idea of using social media as a source for useful insights and consumer feedback, we've found that many healthcare clients are not very open to exploring social listening, and opt for traditional research methodologies. This may be due in part to the fact that utilizing social media for healthcare market research has not yet been popularized. Although healthcare brands may not consider social listening adequate as a standalone research tool, it should certainly be considered as an adjunctive tool to accompany traditional research methodologies.
The use of social listening in market research is growing exponentially, and data analytics providers are constantly developing new tools and platforms that allow brands to engage consumers more effectively than ever, but until brands in the healthcare industry start adopting new research methodologies, the "world's largest focus group" will remain a largely untapped resource for consumer insights.