How to Use Social Media to Recruit Research Participants

How to Use Social Media to Recruit Research Participants

Recruiting research participants can be the easiest or the most frustrating part of conducting a market research study.

Our market research company typically uses one of three methods for our clients:

Using social media to recruit research participants is not the first sampling research firms people think to utilize. 

However, from our experience, there are instances where using Facebook to find qualified participants is better than using a panel vendor. 

In this blog post, our qualitative recruiting firm shares the best practices to follow when relying on paid Facebook ads to increase participation in market research.

Looking for a short synopsis of social media surveys? Watch this 60-second video.

When to Use Social Media to Recruit Research Participants

Using Facebook advertising to source a research sample is dependent on a number of factors.

This includes targeting criteria and project components such as:

  • What are the demographics of your ideal participant or respondent (age, gender, income, ethnicity, etc.)?
  • How many participants are needed for the research study?
  • What type of methodology are you using (online surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, etc.)?
  • Are you offering a prize or incentive?
  • Are there travel restrictions?

For example, it will most likely be very for a market research company to find respondents on Facebook of all ages and genders to participate in a 10-question online survey.

In contrast, Facebook would not be a great fit for market research projects that are dependent on filling quotas unique to income levels and ethnicities. 

Facebook has great targeting capabilities when it comes to age, gender, and location. However, where they lack is the ability to target those that are of a specific ethnicity or tax bracket.

Tip #1: Custom Audiences

With paid social media advertising, or even “boosting” an organic social media post on Facebook, you can make sure your exact audience is being served your ad promoting market research participation.

Advertisers can select from targeting criteria such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geography
  • Interests
  • Other qualifying criteria

In doing so, researchers are able to best match those super niche target audiences or the general population.

It also helps assure market researchers are attracting real people, not robots.

Actionable Tip: One thing to be wary of is being too broad or too targeted with your audience. It is best to consult a market research firm, like Drive Research, that often uses this approach to find its participants.

Tip #2: Include the URL Twice

When creating a social media ad with the hope of recruiting research participants, you likely will have some type of call to action or landing page for your audience to click on and learn more about the study.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media platforms of your choice will require you to include some type of URL, whether it be your homepage or an online screening survey.

Along with adding your required call-to-action link in the URL box, think about including it in the “text box” as well, giving your respondents more opportunities to find the link and click off social media.

Tip #3: Landing Page = Survey

Just because you’ve used the audience targeting filters, doesn’t mean those being served the ad is going to exactly fit your screening criteria.

You must take into account for people sharing the post to their feed of followers, or tagging their friends to click on the ad as well.

In this case, your ad should encourage people to contact you or fill out an online survey as a way of screening respondents.

However, today’s generations don’t want to be bothered with nonsense and fluff.

If they click on a link or an ad, social media users want to be sent to a landing page delivering exactly what they had expected when deciding to click on the link in the first place.

Actionable Tip: Cut right to the chase. Make sure your call to action link takes social media users right to the first question of your survey so they can get started, or to a “contact us” form depending on how you’d like to screen respondents.

Tip #4: Rely on Analytics

Another important feature to utilize when promoting participation in a market research study on social media are the provided analytics.

Take advantage of the detailed reporting found on your social media platform of choice.

This likely comes in the form of analytics such as:

  • Link clicks
  • Impressions
  • Frequency
  • Cost per click
  • Reach

Understanding each of these analytics can help you better refine your message in order to gain survey responses or interest in the research study faster and more consistently.

No one understands this reporting tactic better than a market research firm.

Quick Disclaimer!

Do not hesitate to reach out to a marketing research company to learn more about how they recruit participants, even if you are planning to conduct the actual study in-house.

Drive Research, for example, specializes in both qualitative and quantitative recruiting strategies to find our clients the most qualified research participants.

Better quality data relies on having the best possible research participant, which in turn allows your organization to address key business objectives with fact-based evidence.

Utilize Facebook Surveys with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team has the knowledge and tools to deliver high-quality research participants and respondents that match the toughest of criteria.

Interested in learning more about recruiting services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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