Everything online happens at the speed of light. Decisions that used to take weeks or months to make are now a matter of mere minutes or seconds. There is no time for a group consensus or “sleeping on it.” But with your social media network, you can still get input from a number of people, quickly. There are literally millions of people on-hand, ready and able to give you feedback in the moment.
For instance, want to know if the font on your homepage is too small? Send a tweet with the page link and ask what the general public thinks. Wondering which header graphic better conveys your business? Post them both on your Facebook page and ask for input.
The benefits of turning to your social media network:
- You’ll get an interesting cross-section of respondents: Friends from high school, curious passers-by, coworkers.
- It’s fast. Depending on the size of your network, you could have responses within minutes.
- It’s free. You don’t have to pay a penny for the input.
- It’s informal. No need to prepare a five-paragraph overview, ten-slide Powerpoint presentation, or other background information. Just ask and wait for input.
- It’s objective. The people you’re asking have little or no vested interest in the outcome.
Of course, this method is better for some queries than others. There are drawbacks:
- You have no control over the responses or who they come from. You could get input from people who aren’t part of your target audience, or who offer goofy suggestions.
- By soliciting opinions, you can make people feel like they have ownership in the process. If you don’t take their advice, they can feel slighted.
- You make some of the inner workings of your business public.
As a result, soliciting fast feedback via social media networks is best for the following situations:
- When the decision is relatively minor. You don’t want to ask the general public what you should do about selling your business, or responding to a law suit, or customer service issues.
- When the results will be public anyway. If the decision is behind-the-scenes, keep it there. Our examples above – font size, header graphics – are public anyway. Don’t post private information, or anything that might breach confidence.
- When you need a variety of opinions from different people. If you need feedback from a certain segment, you’re better off emailing them directly rather than putting out a public call for feedback.
Your social media networks can serve as your own personal focus groups. Asking their opinion can also make them feel closer to your business, and part of the process – both good things!