Is Social Media an Effective Tool for Focus Group Recruiting?

While social media is mainly used to connect with friends and family, there is a growing trend towards using social media to recruit people for various events. Recently I have been using social media to recruit for a focus group but was surprised at a lack of results.

When recruiting for a focus group, the most important aspect is locating your key audience then finding ways to communicate your message to them. Mainly this is done by contacting a trusted source within a social group and then using them to deliver your message. This source typically holds a higher level of credibility within the group which in turn can also make the message more persuasive versus using a third party.

Applying these techniques to social media, I wanted to see what would happen if I located a trusted source (or moderator) within a Facebook group and asked them to post my message to their Facebook group. The end goal was to see if the site would be an effective tool in recruiting participants for a focus group.

I found out that Facebook groups with similar interest to the project were unresponsive to my message and I did not receive any replies. Surprisingly, groups with more broad interest were more responsive to the message and even posted our recruiting flyer on their Facebook sites.

Even through all of these efforts, the response from interested participants were minimal. Postings were created on several Facebook sites; yet only two participants were yielded from these efforts. Unfortunately a correlation between locating trusted sources within Facebook groups and using those contacts recruit was unfounded.

These findings do suggest that finding trusted sources through Facebook may be a wasted effort as the source may look at the third-party message as spam. One success of using Facebook as a recruiting tool was to locate those trusted sources, then contact them outside of Facebook and then request that they post the information to their Facebook page.

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