Twitter for Product Feedback? Broader Customer Intelligence is Key

by | Mar 20, 2017 | Market Research

These days, CEOs of major companies are active on Twitter, such as Elon Musk of Tesla. Some even use it to open direct lines of communication with customers. Is Twitter (or social media in general) useful for gathering actionable customer insights, though? Yes and no. Read about the positive ways CEOs are using Twitter for intelligence, as well as the drawbacks of this approach for product development:

Crowdsourcing Product Insights On Twitter

In 2016, the CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky asked his followers on Twitter, ‘If Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?’ Chesky took the time to personally reply to the thousands of responses he received.

As a PR exercise, this is good. When a customer or user receives personal feedback from a company’s CEO, this is a great trust-builder. This aside, CEOs can gain useful insights and use these to tweak products and policies. Right?

The truth is this; although social media listening does often provide helpful customer insights, there are certain downsides to following this approach.

The Dangers Of Implementing Customer Feedback Through Social Channels

Product feedback via social media isn’t necessarily the most actionable or reliable. Here’s why:

It doesn’t include the bulk of your customers insights

It’s likely that a large portion of your customers aren’t active on Twitter. Of the ones who are, many might not see your updates. A Twitter following is simply not representative of a user base when search and referral traffic as well as email marketing traffic also account for customer acquisition.

Social media offers you limited information

While social listening does give you some insights, you won’t have most of your followers purchase histories and product usage habits to refer to. Often on social media, people don’t use their real names or input sufficient personal data for proper, segmented insights.

It opens you up to idea theft

If you start a conversation about features your product or service lacks on Twitter, savvy competitors could quickly create products that fill your own gaps. Competitors could also easily find customers who aren’t completely satisfied by your product features.

Weak takeaways don’t guarantee a customer relationship

You might get several useful insights if you run a public customer feedback survey on Twitter or another channel. Even so, this engagement is thin in value since you can’t follow up with followers on social media when responses are high-volume.

Use Social Media For Intelligence But Don’t Make It Your Only Source

Because social media gives you a partial understanding of customer behaviour, you need to supplement it with customer research that gives deeper insights. These insights, attached to customers’ existing use and spending patterns, will give you more precise learnings.

Do you need detailed, insightful customer research? Contact Interact RDT today.


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