Where are the social media research successes?

Would someone please share a social media research success story with me?

This week I was with a multi-billion dollar, multi-brand, company that is generally considered a thought-leader in the research industry.  The person in charge of “listening” (i.e., social media monitoring) said they really have not figured out how to use social media to generate brand insights.  It turns out that people are much more likely to talk about their kids than brands.  This researcher said that sometimes “listening” leads to research, but it is never the research itself.

A few months ago in QualBlog, chronicled the statements from Bob Pankauskas, Research Director at Allstate last year when he said they were pulling back on social media because there was simply not much meat there.  Following that post, I received several comments via Twitter using the fact that many major companies employ social media monitoring so it MUST be a great tool.  I challenged those researchers to give me a single decision that had been made using social media monitoring as a primary research method.  You could have heard a pin drop.

Social media can be helpful.  Like my client, it can prompt questions that should be followed up through other means.  It has some use in identifying trends.  However, so far, I haven’t found it is the promised “treasure trove” or “rich river of information” that many have promised.

Would someone please share a social media research success story with me?

 

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