by Susan Lowe
Benefits of Using Social Media for New Product Ideas and Innovations
Social media can be an ideal method for your business to collect information from customers for new product ideas and testing those ideas because of its mass reach and speed at which information is shared. Companies that are using social media for new product innovation are realizing real business benefits, according to research done by Kalypso. These benefits include more and better product ideas and requirements, faster time to market and lower product costs.
Traditional methods used for gathering data and researching customers’ needs can be very costly. Social media has the potential to provide better quality information at much less cost.
How Companies are using Social Media to Generate Product Ideas
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Wikis and Public and Private communities are being used today in a variety of ways to learn what customers think of existing products and for new product ideas.
Community chat rooms and Twitter are used by companies to listen to what customers are saying about their products. On LinkedIn groups are asked questions about a company’s product or service and group members’ responses are then monitored. Companies are testing new product concepts on Facebook and Twitter by polling fans to rank or choose their favorites from a list of choices. Customers are asked to share their comments about a product, they watched on a YouTube video.
Your target audience and what information you want to collect will determine which social media and the best method (questions, poll, survey, listening, comments) to use.
Recommendations when Using Social Media to Generate New-Product Ideas and Innovations:
- Define your social media strategy for product innovation. It should tie in with your overall product innovation strategy and broader social media strategy.
- Pull together a cross functional team that may include stakeholders from management, engineering, customer service, marketing and product management. If possible, include someone from your company that knows social media.
- Choose a team leader to champion the effort.
- Set Goals. Determine what it is you want to accomplish.
- Develop a Plan. Remember to determine your target audience(s) and what social media sites they engage. This will help you decide which social media to include in your plan.
- Define the Processes. Determine before you begin, how will the information be collected, shared, and analyzed and what you will do with the results.
- Test it. Before jumping in with both feet, consider starting out with a pilot program.
- Confirm the program is on track. Meet often to review interim findings.
- Measure. Did you meet the goals? Look at what worked right and what did not. Take your learnings from the pilot and make any necessary adjustments.
- Social Media and Product Innovation, Early Adopters Reaping Benefits amidst Challenge and Uncertainty, Amy Kenly and Bill Poston, Kalypso.
- Demystifying Social Media 2011, by Marc Strohlein, Principle, Agile Business Logic
- Andy’s Answers: How Clorox is getting fans involved in product innovation, by Andy Sernovitz, SmartBlog on Social Media
- 3 Ways to Use Social Media for Product Research and Development, by Stephanie Gehman, Social Media Examiner
- HOW TO: Gather Feedback With Social Media, by Adam Ostrow, Mashable business
- Finding Your Way Through the Social Media Maze, by the353group