When kicking off a market research study, one of the first steps is always determining what kind of participants you want to recruit. Are you looking for a particular age group? Do they need to have specific interests or behaviours? For example, should they have purchased a certain product recently or shop at a specific store? And what about age group? By answering these types of questions you can decide on your recruitment criteria, which will ultimately have an impact on which recruitment technique you decide to use. And often when it comes to reaching niche audiences, social media is a great solution.
Why you should get social
Social media is a powerful way to interact with, build trust and gather insights from your target audience - and it’s also a great way to recruit, especially when you are targeting younger age groups or niche audiences. Social media has exploded in recent years thanks to its ability to share information with a wide range of people at a rapid rate, with promoted posts often accumulating hundreds of thousands of views in just a few hours. And because conducting paid advertising through these platforms can help you reach out to a large volume of people in a short space of time, it’s a great way to get your message to the people you want to see it, especially with Facebook’s advanced targeting.
Using Facebook to target your audience
Facebook is one of the best social media recruitment options because it allows you to target very specific criteria such as age, gender, location and even interests - which is great for recruiting niche audiences because it provides an unbeatable way to reach out to the audience you are looking for. Ideally, you want to make sure your audience size isn't too specific: yes, you want to reach out to a certain audience, but you still need to have enough reach and make sure you advert has the ability to snowball and generate the amount of responses you need.
Once you've identified your audience size, you can also add in more specific criteria to inform how big your potential population size will be to see if you are likely to run into any difficulties along the way. For example, you might initially be targeting women between the ages of 18-25 in Northern England and the Midlands - but you can then drill down further by selecting additional factors, including demographics, interests and behaviours, such as women who are married and have an interest in women’s clothing:Once you've identified your audience size, you can also add in more specific criteria to inform how big your potential population size will be to see if you are likely to run into any difficulties along the way. For example, you might initially be targeting women between the ages of 18-25 in Northern England and the Midlands - but you can then drill down further by selecting additional factors, including demographics, interests and behaviours, such as women who are married and have an interest in women’s clothing.
When you post a Facebook ad, as well as allowing you to target specific criteria it will also show you the estimated reach of your advert too. That means you can see whether your audience size is good, specific or broad, which can help you get a good idea of feasibility and how achievable your project is. However, remember to bear in mind that the reach of your advert will also vary depending on the amount you have in your budget to boost the advert.
As well as helping you assess initial feasibility, once your advert has gone live, you can also use Facebook to pull statistics such as click rates so you can see how many people your advert actually reached and how much engagement you got from it. This engagement is then broken down into photo clicks, link clicks, likes, comments or shares as well as showing how many applications you received from it so you can get an idea of how many people you reached.
Don’t forget to validate!
Although social media is a great way to reach out to your target audience, you should always make sure that you validate your respondents too. After all, on paper (or on Facebook!) someone might seem the perfect fit for your project - but once you dig a little deeper you’ll be able to see whether or not your first impression was right.
It’s not just about meeting initial criteria - you also need to ensure that your respondents are fully engaged, reliable and able to meet the requirements of the study as well as any more specific criteria. That’s why we’d always recommend validating your respondents over the phone so you can be completely confident you’ve found the right people for your study. Find out more on validation here.
In conclusion, social media such as Facebook is a great way to target audiences with very specific criteria, as well as reaching out to new respondents who haven’t participated in qualitative market research before. In addition, it’s a fantastic way to understand the feasibility of your study too - just make sure you’re careful to validate all of your respondents so you only take the very best people forward.
As part of the Angelfish Group we’re lucky to have a sister company, Angelfish Marketing, who are digital marketing experts. They’ve got over seven years of experience in running targeted Facebook adverts and Google PPC campaigns and have tons of knowledge to share with market researchers. If you’d like to find out more about how we’re revolutionising our clients’ qualitative MR results, book a chat with our team to discuss your next project now.