qualitative recruiting

QRCA Panel Speaks Out on Social Media Recruiting

“Social Media.”  Everyone is talking about it.  Everyone wants to use it.  Everyone is trying to figure out how.

At the QRCA Conference in Montreal, I recently participated on a panel discussion titled, “Social Media Recruiting: Way of the Future.”  The goal was to discuss how social media is currently being used to recruit face-to-face and online qualitative.  The panel was organized by the QRCA Field Committee and led by Michelle Finzel of Maryland Marketing Source.

Some of my take-aways related to social media sites were:

  • Most “social media” recruiting started with Craigslist.  Craigslist still has a bad reputation though its discussion area is really no different than other social media sites.
  • Linkedin seems to have promise for B-B recruiting, but so far few have found methods that work.
  • Facebook is the primary social media site used for qual recruiting.  Facebook is being used in two ways.
  1. Many firms have their own Facebook pages that they use to troll for participants who have previously “Liked” them.
  2. Firms are getting adept, through trial and error, at paid advertising for particular respondents on Facebook

Social media recruiting seems to work best with consumer recruits.  Facebook and others are able to target ads at specific consumer demographics or other measures they can access.  Such targeting can make certain difficult-to-recruit consumer groups much easier.  However, if such criteria is not available, difficult recruits can be extremely expensive since the recruiter must pay/click for each respondent who clicks through to the screener.  For low incidence studies, this can be cost prohibitive and, therefore, not helpful.

The panel discussed the ethics of client disclosure.  Do we need to disclose to clients that the recruits came from social media sites?  Generally, the panel agreed that, in most cases, such disclosure was not necessary.  The burden is on the recruiter to ensure that the participant qualifies in every way regardless of the respondent source.  If the recruiter is doing his/her job correctly, the source is largely irrelevant.

Bottom Line:  Social media recruiting can help with certain recruiting problems.  However, the panel agreed that traditional recruiting rescreening and verification steps still must be taken.  Social media recruiting is a way to broaden the recruiting reach but it does not relieve the recruiter of the responsibility to thoroughly screen and verify their respondents.

Social media recruiting is likely here to stay.  However, it is not stand-alone.  It still requires some form of traditional recruiting process to ensure that ethe right respondents fit the right project.

QRCA Members can go to the QRCA Website to get a copy of the presentation.  I was honored to serve on the panel with Ben Smithee of Spych Research and Jeff Henn of Baltimore Research.

How to Add Social Tools to Your Online Qualitative Research

Countless companies, including 20|20 Research, are experimenting with ways to reach current and potential customers using social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and in many cases they’re succeeding.

So what does that mean for market researchers? Can we add social tools to our online qualitative research toolbox? Yes and no, explains Tamara Barber in this week’s Quirk’s enewsletter. “While social market research is not a replacement for more traditional research, it can serve as a valuable complement to other insight-gathering techniques.”

A couple of her ideas for using it in online qualitative research:

To add a new recruitment channel: Hard to reach certain participants? “Think of tapping into open-affinity communities or LinkedIn as a way to do observational research or in-depth interviews with specific groups of people, such as certain types of business executives or enthusiasts,” Barber suggests.

To listen in on what consumers are already saying: Barber explains that consumers are already talking online about brands and that it’s easy to listen in. “Mining social media channels allows market researchers to understand, in the consumer’s own words, how well their — or their competitors’ — new product or campaign is being received on a real-time basis,” she says. “This can then inform future campaigns; be used to tweak messaging in the short term; or be a catalyst for further messaging research.”

The article also addresses the challenges in social market research, like dealing with information overload and unrepresentative samples.

How to Engage in a Bulletin Board Focus Group

A bulletin board focus group is a terrific online qualitative research methodology if the  moderator keeps participants engaged; otherwise, it can become a series of open-ended questions. So how does an online moderator turn this methodology from hum-drum to WOW?  3 ways.

  1. Set expectations upfront. During the qualitative recruiting process, be sure that participants understand what you expect. They need to know log-in expectations and participation expectations. Set the rules early and be sure they agree to them.
  2. Create Engaging Discussions. Ideally, the discussion itself is an engaging, high involvement topic for the participants. However, often the moderator must take the lead and model the desired behavior for participants. This is especially important on Day 1.  Create a lot of probes and generate discussion among participants.  An online moderator who works hard on Day 1 will reap the benefits throughout the project.
  3. Proper Incentives. The incentive should be relative to participant expectations. Doctors expect more than consumers. Experienced panelists from the major panel providers generally expect less. Also, be sure participants understand that they receive their incentive after the discussion concludes and only if they fully participate.
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