You may have heard it said that understanding your audience on social media is one of the keys to success with social media marketing. (We may have even said it ourselves a time or two!)

Makes a lot of sense. The more you know about your audience, the better you’ll be able to deliver the kind of helpful content and updates they’re interested in.

So what might be the simplest, most efficient ways of understanding an audience?

This is the part where I often get stuck: Implementing the good advice into my own social media strategy. Fortunately, there are a good number of useful market research tools that can help deliver insights into your audience. I’ve collected 15 that caught my eye. Check them out below.

Survey tools – How to learn from your audience

1. Typeform – free


One of our favorite survey tools at Buffer, Typeform specializes in beautiful, intuitive survey experiences. For instance, survey takers can navigate through with just their keyboard, and survey creators can set up awesome visuals and interactive elements throughout.

One way that we’ve found to use surveys for research is to share a survey link on our social media accounts. That way we get direct insights into the people who engage with us on social.

2. Survey Monkey – free

The most-used survey tool out there, Survey Monkey has a huge list of features for surveys of all sizes—everything from a quick-and-simple two-question survey to huge, robust surveys sent out to thousands. Their free plan gives you unlimited surveys and 10 questions per survey. For $35/month, you can unlock unlimited questions.



3. Survata – $200/survey

With Survata, you create the survey and Survata finds people to take it, based on your chosen demographics. It’s a neat way to get targeted insights from a select group.

4. Voice Polls – $0.10/response

After creating a survey, Voice Polls goes out and finds the survey takers for you. For ten cents per response, you can get feedback from the general population. For ten more cents, you can opt to receive responses from a select group of people, complete with demographic info.

Additional survey options: Survmetrics, Survs, Google Consumer Surveys

Feedback tools – How to involve your audience

5. Heat-map – 14-day free trial


In early-access beta, Heat-map allows you to see where on the page your readers are looking so you can tell if your copy, design, and calls-to-action are getting seen. Heat-map can be used for sketches, designs, mockups, and web prototypes—anything visual you’d love some feedback on.

6. User Testing – $225/month

One of the feedback tools we use often at Buffer, User Testing provides video of real people sharing their thoughts as they go through your website, app, or prototype.

7. UsabilityTools – 14-day free trial

This suite of tools offers all kinds of options for involving your audience in the research process. Surveys, web testing, and click testing are some of the many features you’ll find here.

8. Qualaroo – 14-day free trial


A very helpful tool for us here at Buffer (and one we’ve used to find product-market fit with Buffer tools), Qualaroo allows you to add a simple survey to any page on your site or at any point in your product. We’ve found great value in further customizing the slide-up questionnaire to show only to particular customers who have taken certain actions.

9. Temper – $12/month


A super simple way to collect feedback, Temper asks a reader or customer to simply click a smiley face to relate their feelings on a topic. Your questions can pop up on a webpage, blog post, or email footer—anywhere it might be helpful to get some quick feedback from your audience.

10. – free


Share your great new idea for an app, tool, product, or service, and the community at Proved will give quick feedback on whether it’s worth pursuing.

Persona tools – How to identify your audience

11. Personapp – free


With Personapp, you can create quick and informal profiles for the different personas you’ve developed among your audience. After setting a name, title, and image for the persona, you can add in personal details like behaviors, demographics, and needs/goals.

12. Up Close & Persona – free

For a thorough profile of an audience persona, the Up Close & Persona tool asks a host of great questions for getting at the heart of what motivates your audience and which factors influence their behavior. View some of the sample personas created at Up Close & Persona to see the depth available here.

Data tools – How to analyze your audience

13. Wolfram Alpha Facebook report – free

wolfram alpha report

Using the data from your Facebook profile, Wolfram Alpha puts together an extensive report on all sorts of different data points from your updates and from your friends. There are some really neat insights to gain here on the demographics of those you connect with on Facebook.

14. Facebook Audience Insights – free

audience insights

The robust audience creation tool from Facebook lets you create any sort of target demographic—by region, by age and gender, by interest, by page likes, and more—and shows you the break down of the audience slice you’ve chosen. One of the quickest ways to learn about those who have liked your page is to run insights on that specific segment.

15. Followerwonk – free


Similar to what Audience Insights is to Facebook, Followerwonk provides audience data for Twitter. Enter a Twitter username into Followerwonk to see how that person’s audience is composed, by region, activity, keywords, authority, follower size, and more.


Learning about your audience can be a great step forward in creating shareable, engaging content. Where do you begin?

  • Conduct surveys
  • Solicit feedback
  • Create personas
  • Analyze your follower data

Any of the above tools would be a great starting point for market research and discovery. If you get a chance to test any of them out, I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

What tools have you found particularly useful for your social media market research? Feel free to share in the comments!

Image sources: IconFinder, Blurgrounds, Unsplash

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Written by Kevan Lee

Director of marketing at Buffer, the social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers. We’ve got a new podcast! ?

  • Great list and perfect timing. I am curious about your experience with ‘User Testing’ This seems like a really useful tool. Can you give a story of how you changed around your functionality/design because of insights gleaned from this tool? THANKS! Alan

    • Hi there! Thanks for the comment! So excited that this post landed at a good time for you. 🙂 In our experience Usertesting has been really helpful as we build out different features of the product, for instance one of our most recent additions – a 24-hour clock option. We gave a preview to a few folks on Usertesting, and their input helped us validate or invalidate some hypotheses we had about the way people might navigate to and use the new feature.

      Hope this helps!

      • Kevan, it helps. Thanks. We will be needing to do a lot of this sort of testing as we move along. We have created a social network focusing on getting better with money. Our current app for user-testing is watching people over their shoulders. 🙂

        • Haha, love your current app! I’ve used that one a lot before! (And that seems to be quite close to the experience of Usertesting, too, btw)

  • Thanks so much for recommending Typeform! It’s exactly what I need.

    • Hi Nicole! Awesome! So glad you found a useful tool in this list!

  • Donna Brown

    This is a list I wish I would had long ago! Thanks! I am an author looking for as many ways to increase marketing as possible! I can certainly see how these tools can help. I have this site bookmarked!

    • Hi Donna! Thanks for the comment!

  • I’m excited to check out Up Close and Persona! One of my goals as a marketer for the new year is to improve my ability to identify and interact with specific buyer personas. On a side note, I have a suggestion/request regarding the Buffer blog. Currently your links open in the same page instead of in a new window/tab, and on list posts like this, it involves a lot of back and forth clicking (since I’m always interested in finishing the post 🙂 Is it possible to change this link structure? For all I know, you probably have a strategy behind this method, but I thought I’d point it out from a reader’s perspective just in case.

    Great read as always, Kevan! Cheers.

    • Hi there Erica! Thank you for the comment! I’d love to hear how these tools help with your persona goals. 🙂

      And thank you so much for the blog tip. It’s always so great to hear how readers experience the blog (and very much in line with the “audience insights” theme from this blog post!). I’d love to explore a solution to this. If it’s helpful at all in the meantime, one thing I’ve become fond of is holding the command key when I click (or control key, on the PC). This usually opens up a new tab for me. I’d be keen to hear if this works for you at all!

      • The command trick definitely works! I’m having kind of a “duh” moment because I can’t believe I haven’t been using that all along. Thanks for the tip!

        • Woohoo! So glad to hear it, Erica. 🙂

  • Elisa Silverman

    Feeling intrigued and a little creeped out how well Gladys’ behaviours match this content writer’s as well. Although I do sudoku, not crosswords. And not for nothing, “Midnight Train to Georgia” remains a fabulous song.

    Will definitely check out these persona tools.

  • Wow Kevan, this is a must-read article for any marketing manager out there. Thanks for sharing!

  • I often use SurveyMonkey and FollowerWonk but came across some other great resources, thanks for sharing!
    Rebecca-Louise | Autumn Leaves

  • alexsixtyone

    By the way, Yandex Metrika has Heat Map feature for free.

    • Oh, great one Alex! Thanks for sharing!

  • SumoMe also has a great Heat Map. You can use it for free, but it will show on your website or buy it for only $10!

    I use it on It’s great!

    • Thanks for the tip, Raul!

      • Hope you will enjoy using it like we do 😉

  • Aneesh Edappattu

    What a Article Nice Talk Respect you freelance web designer in Kerala

  • Alfred Jay

    Great article Kevan. For those who are interested in conducting qualitative research studies to complement their quantitative efforts, I’d like to suggest they try Recollective Baseline at

    Recollective Baseline is a free DIY tool that is a simplified version of Recollective Professional, an enterprise tool which is used by hundreds of market research agencies worldwide.

    Full disclosure – I am part of the team behind Recollective.

  • Tom

    Thanks Kevan, a great summary of some sensational tools, many of which i have used and would recommend. One addition to you summary of useful tools for MR would be, where you can get 24/7 feasibility and pricing for online sample via a very simple to use interface.

  • Terrific summary. Thank you for sharing this, Kevan!

  • Stella Tyler

    Thanks for sharing useful tools.

  • kelly

    It’s an amazing article by you. i should recommend to all my partners to read this.

  • Hi Kevan, first of all I really enjoyed reading your article thanks for that and I agree that all those tools (well, not all of them maybe) useful when it comes to manage your social media presence.

    However most of the businesses today cannot find the time to find great content ideas, schedule them to tweet and then engage with the audience! That’s why we come up the idea of Tweet Tocket here at our office.

    Both businesses and personal entities could take advantage from Tweet Rocket. It basically is the world’s first hybrid social media management tool
    for Twitter. When I say hybrid I mean human and technology powered tool.
    Most of the Twitter services are fully automated and powered by bots,
    so they cannot engage with the audience and also they mostly get people
    followed by fake (bot) followers.

    With Tweet Rocket, users can find great content sources together with their expert social media managers, and then Tweet Rocket starts tweeting with those relative contents, favouriting similar tweets or retweet them and this
    way your profile will be getting the attention of relevant users and
    they would like to follow you organicly. Tweet Rocket also helps users
    to create lists with the relevant followers to their niche and this
    creates loyalty ad they most likely will follow the user as well. Users
    also have the power of customise the campaign whenever they want from
    their dashboards.

    We have published our IndieGoGo campaign for Tweet Rocket and already reached the 30% of the target in a week. If you like to see the details and support us either by contributing or sharing on social meda just go to the page from the link below:

    We also would like to hear your thoughts Kevan, as an expert of the sector.



    Really thanks for this post Kevan! We have also a tool for customer satisfaction ratings. You can check us out at:

    Maybe you can mention this also in your blog post?
    Really thanks, and keep up the good work!

  • yodablue

    Hey there, there’s another tool called that is kite new but really awesome. Even better than Tyeform in my opinion.
    Juste check it out !

  • DiscoverText

    You might also want to check out, which offers multi-publisher access to social feeds like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Disqus, and WordPress as well as a range of power tools for text (search, filter, cluster, code & machine-classify).

  • Aaron Pepper

    Shameless plug time! I just launched a new product for collecting feedback . I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!

  • great post, you should consider testing (and adding) to this list, it’s super easy, design and efficient ! let me know

  • Ron

    I feel SoGoSurvey is also a great alternative to Survey Monkey as it has a wide range of sample market research survey samples to choose from.

  • Adrian

    Another interesting research tool is TheWebMiner Filter. This it’s an online filter which shows you companies filtered by Content (keywords), Localisation, Tech, Call To Action and Social presence. Download reports function is free.

  • Alex Larson

    That’s a new one on me. Wow Kevan. You described apps i’ve never used before, and there lies the rub. Anyway, thanks for this. I would try them and get unsual and new experience.As for me, I enjoy instagram and use it for earning some extra cash. ,btw, which provides an awesome skyrocketing of followers, is among those helpful IG third party apps

  • Lots of great research tools on this list- quite a few of which I recognize. I wish there were at least a couple of qualitative tools though, focus groups, IDI, diaries etc.

    I know they’re more difficult to include because (in general) their pricing models are more complicated, but in researching consumers it’s always important to engage with them in a non-structured environment. There’s a lot that can be learnt which data doesn’t always indicate.

    • Matt

      Hi Chris – I know you posted this a while back, but I’ll throw my startup (FocusGroupIt – in the mix of DIY qualitative tools. We’re trying to be the “SurveyMonkey of focus groups,” enabling anyone to quickly and easily run a structured online focus group discussion with their target audience…

  • HeatMap is a great tool , but also you can use metrica from Yandex . Also I’d recommend a new tool for market research

  • David.Bennett

    The petrodollar burn has consequences beyond the oil nations, affecting international fund managers like Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and global currencies markets. Oil nations have traditionally held their reserves in U.S. Treasuries and other liquid securities.

  • Ernestdzh

    Setting up conference calls with consumers, clients and experts and transcribing their recordings can be really useful for market research.

    However it can be notoriously difficult to transcribe..

    My tip is to use time-stamps to save your reviewing time. It helps a lot!

    Based upon what I’ve read, and my experience, it takes a minimum of 4-5 hours to transcribe 1 hour of digitally recorded interviews. Now the real question is, what’s your time worth?

    My suggestion is to use one of transcription services like

    They are used by Harward, Stanford.. The fact that such top universities trust with their transcripts proves quality credentials.

  • Samantha Robinson

    The list is extensive and resourceful too. Many of these tools like HeatMap and Voice Polls look pretty interesting and seem to fit one’s budget as well. I have few choices of survey tools (SoGoSurvey, ESurveys, Qualtrics) of my own and after reading this article I am confused. Can someone please review these tools and let me know whether they are decent enough?

  • Roman Zheleznov

    Howdy. I think 777spinslot and instagram would be just what the doctor ordered in such cases. It helps to earn a lot

  • Earlier i doesn’t use any tool or software for market research beacause i got most of my data from facebook audience insights tool but i has it’s own limitations i want more insights so, come up with this survtapp a unique survey works even offline !! you should review it!

  • Really very useful information. Thanks for sharing… Surveyforbusiness

  • jacksdadinaz

    what about the 30 day free trial from #neilpatel @crazyegg it’s a solid heatmap