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In part 1, we covered question and answer forums, keyword research, and content topic research. Part 2 takes up six more ways to conduct customer research.

4. Social Media

Social platforms provide real-time challenges, feedback... and excitement from your current and soon-to-be customers. But sifting through the endless reel of social media feeds, shares, and viewpoints provides an overwhelming task for any marketer. Here are a few tools and tactics that may help with your customer research on social media.

Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter's advanced search function is a great tool that many people don't know about. (It isn't obvious to find when you are on Twitter.) You can tailor searches based on exact phrases, hashtags, location, and timeframes. This tool will help you with your Twitter research for targeting customers and reduce information overload.

LinkedIn Groups

Try to pinpoint the top three or four LinkedIn Groups that your ideal customers engage with (the Content Marketing Academy group is my favorite). Start out by answering questions, sharing relevant articles, and interacting with group members. Once you have built up enough trust and credibility, you can start to ask questions and begin discussions.

Monitoring the groups where your customers hang out will add an extra layer of insight to your customer research, and engaging with your potential customers will help shape your profile and reputation as an industry leader.

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image of Will Blunt

Will Blunt is the founder of BloggerSidekick.com and chief contributor at Bluewire Media. He is dedicated to helping marketers attract, grow, and nurture an online audience.

LinkedIn: Will Blunt