If we spend a lot of time talking about the need to use social media for market research, it’s because a lot of what we do revolves around that. Like most monitoring tools, Tickr is a pretty handy companion to Google when it comes to studying keyword  trends, digging up brand mentions, capturing consumer insights, and so on. You’ve seen our multi-channel dashboard. It’s simple. Today, let’s look at some numbers relating to businesses incorporating social media into their market research, courtesy of Social Media Examiner and Mediabistro.

First things first: Remember how in our last post, the study we shared with you suggested that increasing brand exposure and increasing traffic to a website were among the top goals of social media programs? We run into the same theme here, with 85% and 69% of respondents identifying them as the top two most valuable benefits of social media. Marketplace insights came in at number three (65%). We were also pretty excited to see lead generation and developing loyalty rounding out the top five.

Unfortunately, the report also tells us that almost half of B2C companies still don’t use social media for marketplace intelligence. (59% for B2C and 68% for B2B.) That’s shocking. Remember what we said in our last post about too many companies still chasing the wrong goals and not understanding how social fits into their business model? We see that reflected clearly in these two numbers.

The rest of the infographic isn’t super helpful, unfortunately, so let’s talk about some of the types of market intelligence a monitoring tool can help you with:

1. Tracking keywords (including hashtags) can help you track a campaign’s reach, stickiness and demos across demos, channels and regions. The same principle works for product releases, press releases, event awareness, etc.

2. Monitoring changes in sentiment and changes in the use and frequency of specific keyword combinations can help you graph consumer perceptions of a brand or product.

3.  Looking for sudden spike in mentions of your brand or product could signal a looming PR crisis. Use monitoring software as an early warning system.

4. Monitoring for mentions of your brand or products will alert you to customer service opportunities in real time. Airlines, cable providers, hotels and retailers are already using channels like Twitter and Facebook to respond to customer service issues in real time. Benefit: Reduces customer erosion, increases customer loyalty, increases the chances of positive WOM, positive PR, cost efficient alternative to call centers.

 5. Monitoring for mentions of your brand and key product categories will alert you to consumers considering a purchase. Weigh in and you could tip the scales in your favor.

6. Add a geolocation feature to your monitoring tools, and you will be able to map all of the above. What does that mean? More localized targeting of campaigns, responses and community engagement, for starters. You can see if a PR problem is limited to certain geographical area, connect a potential customer to the sales team closest to them, or identify areas of the country (or the world) where your latest campaign isn’t hitting the right notes.

(Above: You aren’t dreaming. That image is a sneak peek at one of the new screens available in Tickr‘s soon-to-be-released Command Center suite. And yes, we’re bringing map functionality to you guys this year. That’s all we can say for now, but… you spoke, we listened, and… you’re welcome.)

Anyway, knowing what we know, the fact that 59% of B2C companies report not using social media for marketplace intelligence really bothers us. We get the content publishing piece, but… all that talking without really listening? That’s an ocean of opportunities not even being tapped, right there. Given that real-time intelligence has a direct impact on marketing reach, net new sales, brand perception, customer loyalty and a slew of other business-relevant points of focus, we want to help change that this year. If we accomplish one thing, let it be that.

We’ll be back soon with more.

Cheers,

The Tickr team

PS: As always, we invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and of course try Tickr (it only takes a few seconds to create an account).