White Paper: Using Social Media in Product Management

Brainmates has published the second edition of our white paper entitled “Collaborative Conversations: Using social media in product management”

Click here to download your free copy of the white paper

This draws on research we have conducted including surveys, focus groups and interviews with more than eighty product management professionals in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Europe and Asia.

We wanted to understand the opportunities and challenges that social media presents to product managers and learn how it is currently being used. We also wanted to unearth the ways in which social media may shape or change the product management role in future. Brainmates has distilled the many uses of social media into four functional applications for product managers:

  • Monitoring and listening: 67% of product managers surveyed already social media tools to keep track of trends and topics amongst customers, competitors and the wider community. Tools such as Google Alerts, Collecta, RSS feeds and Radian 6 allow product managers to explore customer problems, needs and wants quickly and easily.
  • Promoting and sharing: 66% of product managers surveyed use social media tools to provide relevant and useful information about their product. Activities are moving beyond campaign-by-campaign approaches to more long-term engagement tools and the use of blogs, twitter, facebook and niche community sites are helping to facilitate this.
  • Gathering feedback: Taking a further step to use social media to gather feedback directly from customers whether this is for new concepts, product development or input to further refine and improve products. Only 29% of product managers reported using social media for this purpose but over 60% intend to increase this in the next twelve months.
  • Collaborating: Integrating buyers, users and other stakeholders in the entire product management process, from ideation through to the creation of new customer-centric products and services. 65% of product managers reported using social media to collaborate. At present this is mostly internally focused but the majority of product managers expect to include suppliers, customers, partners and other external stakeholders in future collaboration efforts.

This white paper describes how these four functional applications relate back to the core principles of product management – those efforts involved in defining, developing, deploying and maintaining products and services that are relevant and compelling for customers.

The white paper presents three recent case study examples from Australia and New Zealand:

  • Software developer Atlassian uses social media to integrate customers directly into the process of defining, prioritising and developing enhancements to their GreenHopper product.
  • Shoe retailer Shoes of Prey uses social media to transform customers into an engaged community of fans to help promote the brand and provide input to refine and improve the products.
  • Boutique Olive oil producer Moon over Martinborough first used social media as the building block to create its entire business and is now driving global demand for the product.

“Social media provides product managers with an opportunity to join online conversations. This can help in understanding what customers like, what they don’t like, what they want and how they want it. This insight is useful in the design, development and deployment of products.” says Paul Alex Gray, Senior Consultant at Brainmates.