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Insight Blog

Read the latest thinking from the crossroads of marketing, insight and technology.

Effectively Managing Online Communities With Heart & Soul

Market research is in the midst of it. What started as buzz words is now part of our daily lives - from online research to communities, panels, data mining and social media. I've noticed more and more infographics, tweets, blog posts and 'tips & tricks' sections that look at how we can engage participants, how we communicate, how we create fans or even so-called superpromoters; and even how we can do so without investing much time and/or thinking.

Is the Advice Wrong?

Don't get me wrong. I value social media and online research for the strong tools they have given us to do better research and to do research differently, be creative and do the best research we can - in the interest of good market research overall, our clients, as well as consumers and participants.

And yes, engaging and communicating with our participants is important and shouldn't be underestimated. But where have we left the heart and soul in doing so? Following instructions, advice and percentages on 1-page infographics and blog posts is not what our profession is about.

Developing Strong Community Engagement

True engagement and communication can only develop and grow if you put your heart and soul into it. If you are a community manager and responsible for your members to participate and feel engaged and valued then it is simply not good enough to be typing a quick question off the cuff. You need to truly engage, think, observe, feel and act accordingly.

Yes, one needs to communicate instead of publish. Listening and understanding is a big part of communication. And by just delivering content to different channels one can't listen... Not even the best tip in the world will do the trick if, in the end, you don't care enough to invest the time, thought and heart. Engagement and activity need honest and true communication and dedication. It's what we owe to our participants and ourselves as market researchers.

Read more about FlexMR online communities

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Maria Twigge

Written by Maria Twigge

Maria is an active member of the UK market research industry, regularly presenting new and engaging topics at industry events. With over 9 experience guiding the FlexMR’s research services, Maria builds strong long-term partnerships with clients, providing insight to effectively translate client needs into action. You can follow Maria on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Topics: Community Tools, Agile