Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook can be used effectively to gather research. These sites may not yield all the information necessary to answer a research question, but supplementing them into your research methodology will produce results.
First, monitoring social media buzz by tracking specific keywords can give insight into the frequency with which the specific product or aspect of your research is used online. Secondly, developing social media relationships with users can open up additional opportunities for surveys and online focus groups. The connections that can be established via social media networks can also be used for future research surveys and other qualitative research methods. This article from Entrepreneur explains how.