Getting Survey Responses: Social Media vs. Panel Companies

February 14, 2013

As social media continues to grow, it is no surprise that market researchers are turning to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to distribute their surveys. If you are still a social media doubter, take a look at these amazing stats from The Social Skinny:

  • There are more Facebook users than cars (over 800 million active users)
  • 190,000,000 tweets are sent on an average day
  • Every second two new users sign up for LinkedIn
  • Forty-three percent of all online consumers follow or are a fan of a brand

Needless to say, surveyors are sure to reach consumers to get feedback through social media sites!

In some cases, consumer researchers are choosing to increase responses through social media rather than panel companies. Social media sites are certainly more affordable than panel companies, and you can get responses to your survey quick, but there are some potential pit-falls. Here are the pros and cons of choosing to field your survey through social media or panel:

Fielding through social media

Pros Cons
Extremely affordable, if not free Your whole audience may see this survey, so you may get more respondents than you need (you can set up survey quotas to help avoid this).
Quick; just build and put it out there! You just never know who might see and respond to your survey.
Able to cast a wide net with the reach of social media. You have no control over how representative your sample is and there is no way to verify that respondent information is accurate.

Fielding by using a panel company

Pros Cons
You can select a specific, targeted audience to see your survey Can be pricey, but you get what you pay for!
Know that your sample was validated and respondents meet your defined criteria It takes some time to set up panel integration and get the respondents you need to your survey
Get just the number of respondents you need in order to do proper segmentation and analysis Your respondents may be “professional survey respondents” instead of a real consumers

Not sure if you should field your survey through a panel company or social media? Try fielding both on your next survey and compare the results. Good luck, and let us know what works best for you!

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