It wouldn’t be a long shot to claim that the 21st century is the age of information. After all, the internet has made knowledge so available, that staying ignorant seems more like a choice than a result of circumstances. With this in mind, 2017 is a golden age for SMBs and startups. Why? Well, simply because all the analysis major conglomerates used to pay millions for are now out there just waiting to be collected. Furthermore, there are so many free or low-cost platforms that are almost as efficient as those premium ones. Therefore, here are few tips that can help SMBs deal with online information.
Turn to Social Media
Definitely the easiest, cheapest, and overall the most efficient way of gathering data is through social media. All you need to do is make a profile, which seldom lasts more than several minutes, join few groups, track an influencer or two and there you have it. In a way, this also helps you with corporate espionage. Just follow few of your toughest competitors and you will be well informed of all their public announcements. However, keep in mind that this is a two-way street, so make sure not to reveal anything that could prove dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.
Securing the Right Infrastructure
While it is true that you can use most social media platforms on an average device, not all of them are so requirement-forgiving. This means you will be up against a lot of work. First, you need to set up the right computer hardware. This usually means configuring servers, desktop setups, integrating mobile devices and tablets, but this is just the beginning. After this, you need to start thinking about networking your business and even turning to cloud computing.
For these reasons and many more, your safest choice would be to outsource your IT support. If you intend to try some of these things on your own, you have to get properly informed first. One of the ways to do so would be to find a company like Matrix7, which specializes in IT services and check out their website or blog for tips and tricks. Another way would be to contact someone actually working at the company and ask for some advice.
Online Survey Providers
Next thing you might want to consider are online survey providers. The best thing about them is that these companies are willing to do market research instead of you and do all that for a fairly moderate fee. Through a set of polls, questionnaires and a more complex surveys, they can get a pretty detailed profile of your target market/demographic. The advantage of using this method is that you end up with a data that is based on a substantially large corpus.
Some believe they can make these questionnaires on their own, but this is much more complicated than you may have been led to believe. First of all, it is easy to make a question that is pushing survey participants towards one answer or another. Asking things like-would you like a better service, or lower prices- compels one to answer yes in order not to sound ridiculous. The phrasing is what matters as well, since you need to make sure that everyone understands the question the way you intended. All in all, this is a lot of work and therefore best left to the professionals.
Finally, dealing with online information is not as hard as some people would want you believe. With the right amount of organization, previous research and dedication, you should be able to deal with these things on your own. However, professional aid can often be invaluable, even if it is just with wise counsel.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.