Social media research bias is an inescapable point of discussion as some marketing research practitioners are looking to social media research as a replacement for traditional research methods (i.e., surveys, focus groups, etc.).
Harris Interactive conducted a 2012 study on behalf of the social network Mylife.com. The study indicated that most people use different social media tools for content consumption. Most are not actively participating in sharing content or interacting with others.
Social media seems to be hijacking our brains fueling the most common anxiety in the information era. Namely, we feel that if we are not connected all the time, we are missing out on something important.
These results clearly indicate that there was some level of social media research bias towards certain groups in the samples. These are people who like to share content and interact with others. However, they may not be representative of all consumers of a particular brand, behavior, or attitude.
Some argue that we need to reach these groups because they are the influencers. That’s fine, as long as we are aware of any potential social media research bias. Moreover, we shouldn’t try to make sweeping generalizations about all consumers in a particular category just based on the social media user population.