Focus Group Confidentiality: Social Media Non-Disclosure
If you’re just tuning in to the Focus Pointe Global blog, this week we’re talking about the importance of maintaining focus group confidentiality.
Now that we’ve covered helpful tips to protect focus group respondent privacy and strategies for protecting client confidentiality, it’s time to turn our attention to a question that should be on every marketing research professional’s mind: how do you ensure focus group confidentiality in the age of social media?
As we discussed briefly in our last post, asking your focus group respondents to sign non-disclosure agreements is an essential step to help you protect both the participants’ identity and the intellectual property of a company testing a new product or service.
The problem is that social media has created a situation where commenting on a cool new product is very tempting. With the rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, sharing breaking news with everyone you know is easier than ever. What’s more, for many people, it has become an almost reflexive practice to provide their social networks with regular updates on every aspect of their daily lives. When it comes to sharing sensitive proprietary information gathered in a focus group environment, the speed and reach of social media makes divulging details of a new product extremely damaging.
Therefore, in order to protect the intellectual property of your clients, it is essential that you amend your non-disclosure agreements to include language that prohibits the sharing of focus group information via social media. Furthermore, all focus group respondents should receive verbal instructions at the beginning and end of every session explicitly forbidding them from discussing or mentioning their experience with a new product or service in person or online, even in a casual way.
Of course, monitoring the social media accounts of all participants to ensure compliance with your focus group confidentiality agreement is all but impossible. You can, however, limit the possibility of compromising client confidentiality by requiring all respondents to turn off their cell phones and electronic devices while the focus group is in progress.
We hope you’ve found this week’s discussion of focus group confidentiality useful and informative. For more tips and suggestions to help you maintain a safe and secure focus group environment, click on the button below to schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Focus Pointe Global.
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