Podcast: Kayte Hamilton on social media influencers in market research

In this episode of Now that’s Significant, we were joined by Kayte Hamilton, Founder of The Social Question to discuss how we can rethink the role of social media influencers in market research. The Social Question is a new research agency that offers a fresh perspective on social media research. Its methodology includes partnering with Instagram influencers to act as question hosts with their followers.

We discussed how influencers can evolve their value to organizations, are perfectly placed to become research moderators on social media, and how market researchers can leverage engagement tools on Instagram. We also discussed why the market research industry hasn’t capitalized on the influencer momentum.

“Influencers can be the perfect research moderator,” Kayte begins by saying. “It’s shocking to me the parallels that exist between influencers and their community engagement, and the qualitative research needs that we have in the MR community.”

So how can influencers be leveraged for the market research community? “Influencers are the exact type of research host that we’re looking for when we create client-led communities,” shares Kayte, “they’re just doing it naturally on social media. They’re asking on-topic questions relevant to the content strategy that they’ve created. They probe deeper on some responses. Their notifications remind you to participate. There’s so much potential.” Kayte hires influencers to host questions in their Instagram stories, shared to their followers and communities.


How can market researchers leverage these engagement tools on Instagram? “The question box is really where my bread and butter is,” says Kayte. “It's essentially an open-end survey prompt,” she explains. While in research, we’re used to asking more than one question, the single question survey still has a lot of potential. “How often have you had to toss quantitative data, because of gibberish open-ended responses?” asks Kayte. “Every time I’ve partnered with an influencer, I’ve had to toss 0% of those story responses.”

A reason why Kayte thinks that the market research industry hasn’t capitalized on the influencer momentum, is that the answers disappear after a certain amount of time. Instagram doesn’t allow you to download the data. But Kayte has created a proprietary tool that allows her company to download and save this data.

When asked if she validates the followers who are participating in the Q&A, Kayte shares that she’s not screening the followers, but the way that she selects which influencer to work with aligns with the participants need. “People want to participate, you just need to let them participate in the way that makes the most sense.” She continues by sharing, “when I’m looking for an influencer to partner with, I’m not just looking at those target audience specs, I’m also looking at their own, organic, moderating experience.”

Kayte concludes by sharing the benefits of these tools when it comes to looking at Gen Z: “Gen Z doesn’t want to be researched. They’ve had bad experiences with it and don’t feel that it’s collaborative. We have to find new ways to engage with Gen Z. So that means we need to go where they are.”

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