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Tips & lessons

Recruit the right audience for your research: Social media recruitment

– By Art Assoiants

Recruiting the right audience is often the most difficult, time consuming, and costly part of research. You may not have a list of customers to use for research, or you need to sample a different audience than you have access to. Based on our work at PH1 Research, social media recruitment is an exceptional recruitment method and should be considered by any research or product team.

Recruiting the right audience is often the most difficult, time consuming, and costly part of research. You may not have a list of customers to use for research, or you need to sample a different audience than you have access to. 

Based on our work at PH1 Research, social media recruitment is an exceptional recruitment method and should be considered by any research or product team.

Our firm specializes in customer experience research and has conducted studies for higher education, telecom, financial services, and other industries to research user experience, message testing, competitive usability tests, and more. We used social media recruitment for everyone of these projects because of several key benefits.

Leverage the world’s biggest pool of participants

Social media recruitment is a quicker, more flexible, and less costly approach to recruitment because of the sheer volume of people accessible everywhere.  

Over 3.5 billion people use social media, across all demographics. Within one hour you can launch a campaign and connect with rural audiences in Canada or niche segments in urban markets around the world.

For your research to succeed, you need to hear from a specific audience. Social media marketing provides you nearly scientific precision. With this level of control over targeting and creative, you can bring your research to your audience with less effort. This ability to tailor your ad ensures there’s more engagement and responses from those that matter most.

To add, because of the control you get with social media recruitment, you spend less time and money on recruitment. Bottom line: You get a higher ROI on recruitment spend.

It’s quicker, more flexible, and helps reach relevant audiences

This form of recruitment has an abysmally short time to market. If you already know the demographics and psychographics you’re after, it takes just a few hours to set up, and then it’s automated. 

It’s also very flexible - as more data are obtained, you can quickly shift the targeting specifics and copy language to make sure your campaign is focused on the right audience. Compared with traditional models, where you’d need to obtain new lists or rework an agreement on recruitment, this saves you tremendous time.

This form of recruitment also helps reach audiences that traditional models fail at. It’s often more difficult to hear the voices of people from rural communities, those experiencing a particular health concern, or those with particular social attributes, such as members of the LGBTQ+ communities. Social media is accessible to virtually everyone, so the reach is unparalleled.

It’s more effective than traditional approaches

Social media recruitment gives you precision, which helps complement other approaches, such as panels and mailing lists. 

Panels don’t provide you with the level of control and specificity you get with social media recruitment. Particularly when you need to hear from a specific market segment, and require precision, social media recruitment may be the right choice. 

Another traditional tool is using a mailing list. The problem is that members of your mailing list already know about your brand, product, and services. We find that participants that have awareness about your org have different opinions and sentiment than those who don’t. When you need to include people with little awareness of your products or services, social media recruitment may complement your other outreach efforts. 

Lastly - social media recruitment is accessible across org sizes: we’ve had it work for SMEs as well as enterprises. Across the board, this approach is low effort, and high yield.

How to best execute social media recruitment

While there are ways to use this approach for niche B2B recruitment, it’s often more technical. Out of the box, it’s much easier to recruit B2C from the general public. You can target location, age, and gender quite easily - and you can also drill down to lifestyle options, such as “rock climbing,” or “video games.”

To obtain the best results, you may need to change the way you design your creative. With social media, your goal is engagement, often in the form of website clicks. That means you need good copywriting to draw the audience in; it can’t be a generic “tell us what you think about x.”

Your audience will need to have enough motivation to click through your ad and also complete it. There are two important caveats here: without a financial incentive to participate, it’s unlikely you’ll get any clicks or completed responses. Second, you need to know how to design your survey from a human-centered point of view so you get the most relevant data while asking the fewest questions possible.

Lastly, if you’re unfamiliar with social media marketing, you may need to collaborate with your marketing team to implement and monitor your campaign.

Consider social media recruitment for your next research project

Next time you’re trying to recruit participants, give social media recruitment a try. You’ll save time and money and hear from the right people to drive org insights. 

If you ever need help strategizing your next research project and creating the most appropriate recruitment campaign, feel free to email us at info@ph1.ca.

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