Posted by Tom Grant on June 7, 2010
The Australian product management consultancy brainmates just published the results of a survey on a very interesting topic, social media usage among PMs. The short list of questions get right to the heart of the matter: Do you expect to be using social media more?
The brainmates survey indicates that PMs are ready to embrace, or bracing themselves for, social media as an increasingly useful tool for product marketing, product feedback, and collaboration. In contrast, PMs do not expect to be increasing their use of social media for monitoring "to find references to their products or services and any references related to their market, customer segments or competitors." Interesting, especially given how much electronic ink that social medianiks have spilled about using Twitter, Facebook, et al. to see ourselves (or our brand) as others see us.
It's also worth noting the expectation of using social media for feedback. My own humble efforts in researching the topic point in the same direction, but I'll add one critical detail: most people who are trying to use social media as an input into product decision-making are not quite sure how to do it. It's clear, as some of my research from last year showed, that social media can fill in some of the gaps left by traditional customer and market intelligence. But how do you know if you're getting useful or reliable results? Where should you be looking for answers? And what does this mean for the job description of product managers and product marketers?
In spite of these uncertainties, PMs still expect to be ramping up their use of "inbound" social media to address specific questions, as opposed to the "monitoring" of general information about their companies. That's another way of saying that PMs expect, through social media, to have a two-way, substantive conversation with customers and partners.