LinkedIn is one of the most powerful, yet one of the most overlooked channels to conduct market research. Companies and individuals use LinkedIn in several ways to attract and engage their leads and prospects. As a researcher, this is a blessing for you as it provides you with a lot of needed data under one roof. Here is how you can use LinkedIn to conduct market research:

Join Relevant Groups

LinkedIn has groups for virtually every industry in the world. A good place to start your research is to join industry-relevant groups. Group members often post articles and statistics of interest, discuss trends, and offer advice to each other. You may very well find the data you are looking for in these groups. If not, you can post a question and group members will be more than willing to help you find the needed data.

Search LinkedIn Posts

With LinkedIn opening its publishing platform for everyone on the website, thousands of articles are posted daily on a wide range of topics. It is extremely likely that someone has written about the industry / market you are researching. Use LinkedIn’s Search Post feature to find the needed data. Many of these articles combine data and statistics from different sources, thereby saving you a ton of time.

Download White Papers

Content marketing has grown exponentially in the past few years. Many companies will let you download white papers for free if you are willing to become a “lead” for them. This means if you fill out a form with your name, company and contact information, you can download their white paper for free. These white papers often contain a lot of industry data and trends. Most companies will advertise such white papers on LinkedIn. Find companies in the target industry and quickly browse their updates to see if they are offering any white papers or guides.

Connect with Industry Veterans

If you are conducting primary research or need to talk to someone in the industry, LinkedIn offers great value. Use LinkedIn’s People Search to find veterans in the industry of your choice. If you are a premium member, you can filter people based on company size, seniority level, and a lot of other attributes. Once you know whom you want to connect with, send them an InMail or if you share a contact, ask for an introduction.

Ask Your Network

Lastly, another great way to conduct research is to ask your network for help. LinkedIn allows you to post status updates, which can be used to ask members in your network for help. For example, if you want to find out the market size of the mobile apps industry, simply post this question (as a status update) – “Does anyone know where I can find the market size of the mobile apps industry?”