As we are navigation through unchartered waters now and living through this worst pandemic that we faced in our lifetime, the impacts of this COVID-19 are being felt nowadays in every aspect of the big America Life and that too across every industry which is crippling the stock market and compelling local small businesses and startups to put on a screeching halt.
Now it should remain clear that while navigating through these uncharted waters, that to keep market and consumers insight a top priority for business growth even in these troubled times, the uncertainties at hand that consumers are facing now, is making their consumer sentiments shift daily, fueled in part by the “perennially on” nature of social media online.
However, by leveraging new business growth technology and innovative methodologies, brands can still react nimbly to this environment and keep insights going into the age of COVID-19 that we are facing now.
Now, this is ever-true that as human-beings we yearn for connections, which is truer in difficult times. However, this desire of yours for getting connected is in sheer opposition to the mandate for ‘social’ or ‘physical” distancing, which has been passed by most government and state authorities across the globe.
Therefore in this time of the Pandemic, virtual tools, irrespective of whether it is online focus groups, online insight communities, or selfnographies (where people take videos talking about their problems and upload them online), can not only deliver the research that businesses need now, but it can even be a welcoming respite from people who are presently feeling isolated in containment zones.
ONLINE INSIGHT COMMUNITIES
Now as we were discussing before, one of the best methodologies for research in this present environment is online communities, since it marries the best of both the quantitative and qualitative worlds, by using a familiar social-media based platform, even though it has a low learning curve.
Using communities providing online insights are also especially methodology in this CODID19 business environment as they are highly agile, can be connected remotely, allows businesses using easy to use CRM or any other KPI’s and metrics measuring tools to focus their efforts in today’s fluid and volatile environment since they can provide as they can provide measures and scores for quick “gut checks” and even find more nuanced findings from campaigning open-ended questions to the participant-to-participant communication and interactions.
Now, a word of caution from our end as one of the most popular vendors of the best small and medium business CRM software platforms that while online communities are a great methodology, they can also be very easily mismanaged which results in a waste of time, money and resources, all of which are scarce in this troubled time.
Therefore here are some of the top measures that you must take while using Online Communities while using this excellent methodology to generate online insights in the context of Coronavirus and COVID-19 times today and even beyond:
Set Straightforward Expectations and Ensure To Communicate Them Clearly
I guess none of us would deny that everyone’s lives are out of the whack now…schedules disrupted, schools out which provides the participants of the online communities a clear outline of what they want from their brands which can help them to find a sense of normality and routine.
Hence take care when you frame your questions, remember while daily life is exceptional nowadays, you need your participants to think about their norm.
For example, simply asking one common question about how frequently they go out for shopping is bound to yield a plethora of results now than if this same question was asked a month before.
Therefore, unless you are asking about the impact of COVID-19, remember everything other than that is an exception to the previous rules and so your new questions in this time of Pandemic should be crafted appropriately to get participants in the right frame of their references that they are seeking now.
Even Though the Community Topic Might Have Nothing to Do With COVID-19 or Coronavirus, Provide the Participants Space and Permission to Discuss It If They Want To Do
Now for this, you can set up a chatroom specifically to address COVID-related topics and thereafter when the participants make reference to a situation in response to other questions, you can consider as a moderator if you can go in for a personal response, and reaching out one-on-one might be appropriate.
Remain Cognizant Of the Impact of the Responses
Social media analysts and moderators need to be cognizant to read between the lines in the messages posted by the participants to ensure that they can understand the extent of the impact of the current situation on the consumers and so there is more need than ever for using follow-up questions, probing and finding clarifications so that one can find the true accurate picture about how they can market their brands in these COVID-19 times.
Create an Incentive Structure (Flexibility with Incentives Is the Key- In This Time)
In this present moment, the consumer’s lives are in a state of flux and instability, and so many consumers may be focused on ensuring that they can pay their essentials rather than use the incentives for buying something extra. Hence in this Pandemic world, gift cards of grocery stores, or free delivery service for food or cash (like prepaid PayPal cards) might be highly valuable for the consumers in your marketplace.
Take Advantage and Remember the Fact That Research Is the Ultimate Touchpoint for Customer Interactions
If your community is branded and you are using an easy to use CRM as your customer data management and analysis tool Online Community feedbacks and interactions can bring help on almost anything right from testing user experience, testing programs, creative and marketing testing, creating brand perception, doing in-home use tests and many more.
Therefore, in a brief Consumer Insights remains as important as ever even today, if not more so, and as we are in this time blessed with an arsenal of business growth technology and tools it will surely help us to stay in tune with our customers even in these difficult times.