Using Social Media in Product Development

The Social Media and Social Networks are changing the way people work. In a Software product development scenario Social media can deliver some very interesting value propositions.

We call it the Social Feature BOX. This addresses a key element in product development mainly Prioritizing Feature lists. This is a process to convert the noise in the social media to actionable information through the use of some innovative ideas as shown below

Arriving upon the right set of features to be included in a release is always a challenge as there are many factors that come to play

  1. What are the most important features or functionalities
  2. What are the functionalities our customers wish to see
  3. What percentage of customers are requesting a feature
  4. What is the cost to build the function in this release
  5. What are the functions that will give a competitive edge

The question is how you can use Social networks to get insights into prioritizing the features for your upcoming release

Why Social Media?

Social media is a ever growing pool of market intelligence. Social media includes not just your customers, but also your prospects and competition. If you are able to harness the power of Social media to listen and separate  valuable information from the noise it can throw tremendous insights into your product development exercise.

Social Listening Boxes

Social Listening boxes are listening aids to the Social networks. They can be in many forms and placed at convenient locations

  1. Your Twitter account
  2. A dedicated resource positioned within the company as a Social Listener
  3. You Facebook, myspace and similar Fanpages
  4. Your Linkedin Groups and other such groups that discuss market relevant information in your space

This list will go on to all networks where you see your potential customers and competition hangout.

Social Conversation Boxes

This are typically a collection of conversations culled out from your listening boxes. They have informations such as

  1. Likes and Dislikes on articles that talk about your competitive products or your products
  2. The fan following for your competitions fan page
  3. The increase/decrease in Fan following for a competitor during a launch
  4. The discussion in your competitions fan pages
  5. The most popular tweets on a subject in your domain
  6. Re-tweets for your official tweets
  7. The results of selective conversations you start and follow in various networks

The limit is your imagination to see how all you can cull out the information

Social Feature Boxes

The Social feature box is an intelligent derivative of the social conversation boxes. An elaborate list of what people like within your domain area.

Social Feature boxes are typically filtered and prepared by people who understand your product road map and try to infer from the conversations as to what all could be the possible opportunities

Feeding the Feature List

The Social Feature Boxes continuously feed market defined functionalities, and requests into your feature prioritization process which will then be put into your own analysis and included based on your limiting factors such as budget, time, resources etc…

The whole idea is to place a few ears at various  places where you already have your mouth wide open. This way you will know what people have in their mind rather than trying to force your way into theirs.

To discuss more on how social feature boxes can benefit in your market readiness journey please feel free to contact me below

Categories: Opinions

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