Strategy: Using LinkedIn for Invaluable FREE Market Research

I have a lot of time for LinkedIn and training companies how to use it effectively.

Having the knowledge from studying with the Chartered Institute of Marketing I understand the importance of effective market research. Many elements on LinkedIn offer ways to source industry brands, products and services, market and competitor information and opinions, making it a somewhat marketer’s dream!

There are three main areas on LinkedIn you can use for Market Research:

And to a certain extent the Skills App and general company searches can be informative for sample industry statistics.

LinkedIn Groups ImageLinkedIn Group Discussions

If you are proactive in LinkedIn Group Discussions you will know that regular participation in conversations can be very rewarding for lead generation and relationship building. Being active in discussions creates awareness amongst your peers, a perception of knowledge, and a certain obligation to support your cause. Asking a series of questions within your group will provide quantitative and even qualitative data straight from the horse’s mouth.

Useful feedback can still be gained if you don’t regularly participate in discussions however responses tend to be less forthcoming. Try adding a promotion within your group advertising a prize draw of some nature for all who participate. Even though you are offering an incentive, the promote tab is a blatant sales arena and naturally, some people will never venture in there.

Linkedin Answers ApplicationLinkedIn Answers Application

The Answers App on LinkedIn is an extremely effective area to show off your expertise. Basically, you ask a question for users to answer, or similarly, you answer another user’s question. Again, another sorely underused benefit of being an active LinkedIn member and by answering questions you can easily build a credible reputation and prospect following.

The open tab refers to current questions that you can answer and the closed tab refers to questions you can no longer contribute to but the conversation thread remains visible for your research.

For market research, topics, industries and keywords can be searched within a number of categories and sub categories. Valuable opinions, concerns and benefits concerning products, services, brands and industry can be found. You will even find a few competitors and thought leaders along the way.

LinkedIn Polls ApplicationLinkedIn Polls Application

LinkedIn Polls are a great way to gain opinions from LinkedIn members. The poll in some ways could replace elements of the traditional focus group, certainly when you do not require sensory research. Polls are simple to initiate and invites can be sent to all connections.

Combine the direct invites to your connections with Group Discussion posts inviting people to participate.

General Hints

Utilise your other social media profiles and online activity to generate more awareness and participation if you create a poll.

Post a shortened URL link to your Twitter followers and pull them back to answer your poll – followers do not need to be connected to your personal LinkedIn profile in order to complete the poll.

Create a tab on your Facebook Page promoting the poll. This will depend on how savvy you are and whether you wish to create a second poll within Facebook Apps.

Send an email to your opt in database. Be mindful at being selective with who receives the invite as you don’t want people to feel they are being spammed if the subject matter has no relevance to them.

And finally, create a blog article promoting the poll with a link for users to complete.

Let us know if you have already conducted successful research through LinkedIn and what your findings were.

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