How To: Create Buyer Personas For Social Media Marketing
Developing buyer personas is a key aspect of good social media marketing. As you already know, marketing on social platforms is all about developing real relationships with real people. The problem is, this sometimes becomes hard when you can’t really visualise your customer as an actual person.
You think of them as a bunch of people who are interested in your business. But, you don’t actually think of what they’re like as people, what their likes and dislikes are, what makes them tick. This is why today I want to discuss creating buyer personas and how to factor them into your social media marketing plan.
What Are Buyer Personas?
A buyer persona or a marketing persona is a research-based profile of your ideal customer. These personas help you to get under the skin of your customer and gain a really good understanding of what they’re all about.
In simple layman’s terms, imagine your customer is one person with a living, breathing personality. A persona helps you understand this personality and what it is about this personality that makes them buy your products or services.
Depending on your business you could have just one or two personas or many more. You may even have different customer profiles for different social networks. It’s not uncommon for a Twitter user to be different to a Facebook customer. Understanding these customer avatars and their behaviors will help you tailor your social content, promotions and offers in a much more targeted fashion.
Creating A Persona
Setting up your research
The best personas are created with a mix of research and insight into a business’s customers.
Obviously, the best way to get to know your customers is to interview them. You don’t have to tell them you’re developing an avatar based on their answers, but your questions should be designed in a way to understand their goals, their aspirations, their motivations, their attitudes and anything else that is relevant.
There are a number of ways you can carry out your market research, depending on which works best for your business. The level of detail you require will also determine which research method is most appropriate. Some ideas include:
- Create an online survey with a tool like SurveyMonkey and email a link to your customers.
- Set up a survey form on your website and direct your customers to it.
- Interview your clients in person or over the phone.
- Ask questions via social media.
- Leverage feedback from your sales team.
- Hire a professional to carry out the market research on your behalf.
Questions To Ask Your Customers
There are so many kinds of questions you can ask your customers, depending on how well you really need to get to know your customer. Remember, the questions shouldn’t just be about your business but should aim to paint a holistic picture of who your customer really is.
Your questions could cover but definitely don’t need to be limited to:
- Demographic information i.e. age, gender, relationship status, ethnicity, nationality etc
- Lifestyle habits
- Hobbies & Interests
- Professional information
- Social media usage
- Shopping preferences (online/ in-store)
- Challenges surrounding your industry/service/product
- Factors that enable success in your role
Hubspot has a great list of questions that could be a starting point for you.
Breathing Life Into Personas
Once the research phase is complete and you have all the data, it’s time to gain some real insights from the data. You will start seeing patterns in your data that will help you club your customers into distinct groups. Don’t be surprised if your data yields more than one buyer persona.
Make sure your personas feel real (i.e. they sound like actual people and not just sets of data). Give them names too if that helps. Another thing I like to do is write a short blurb about each buyer type, describing them like a person. This helps them feel more real to me.
Using Buyer Personas For Social Media
Now that you’re armed with all the information you need for the ideal customer, it’s time to put it to practical use. Your social media strategy should be aligned with your ideal customers and their interests. Here are some ways I like to incorporate buyer personas into social media practices:
- Rethink and rework your editorial calendar based on the insights gained from your market research.
- If your ideal customer is overwhelmingly skewed towards one gender, make sure you address this. Create content and speak in a tone of voice that is appealing to the relevant gender. This is very important and is often ignored in social media.
- Share content relevant to their interests (even if it is not always directly related to your brand). For example, if a large section of your audience has shown an interest in baseball, it wouldn’t hurt to occasionally post baseball-related content to your page. You then start to speak to your audience as humans and are more likely to engage with them too.
- There is no “perfect” time to post on social media but if you find that your audience is mostly based on the East Coast and you’re posting at times more appropriate for the West Coast, you’re likely to see less engagement right?
These are just a few ideas on how you can put customer persons to work for you. These avatars can give you new insight into your own business and you will definitely appreciate the time you spend carrying out the research. It will help your business and your social media marketing efforts.
Do you use buyer personas in social media? If not, do you think you will create one now? If you have used personas in your marketing – tell us about your experience in the comments.