Buyer personas are an integral piece of any successful marketing strategy, as they help companies identify the needs and interests of potential consumers. In last week’s Persona’s Impact Intro article, we talked about how over-complicated the marketing industry has made personas. While the strategy, data, and insights that go into them certainly need to be high-level, it’s important not to get lost in the details and lose sight of what personas truly offer — an in-depth analysis of consumers by exploring their influences, brand affinities, shopping habits, social media channel preferences, and more.
These insights will help your brand create a cohesive voice, guide content development, and allow for alignment across all marketing efforts. What does that truly mean for you as a brand? More effective use of your time and resources, and better results.
Whether you’ve invested in a social presence for better overall brand exposure, to increase sales, or as a customer service channel, you’re going to see better results when you truly understand your audience. The buyer persona development isn’t necessarily more important for social media marketing than your other marketing channels, but how we use them to plan and execute our strategies is definitely specialized in the social world!
With accurate buyer personas for your social media marketing, you can determine which social channels you should be utilizing, what types of content will attract your ideal followers and customers, and how you can create engaging ad campaigns to maintain interest in your product or service. All of that knowledge gets you one step ahead of the competition, and one step closer to making social media truly deliver a return for your brand! Here’s an inside look at how I use personas when working on client social programs.
Select Relevant Social Channels
Choosing the right social media channels for your audience is crucial to the success of your social media marketing strategy. Different generations are on different social media channels and using them differently, so why spend your time on a network if your audience doesn’t utilize it?
For example, female consumers under 30 are more likely to be on Instagram, while female consumers over 45 are more likely to be on Facebook or Pinterest. Likewise, if your target audience is largely an older population, Snapchat is not an ideal option.
E/Power Marketing firmly believes that brands don’t need to be on every social channel, they need to be on the right social channels and utilizing them fully. It’s next to impossible to determine which channels are right for your brand without knowing who your target audiences are!
Taking that strategy a step farther, segmenting social media content based on channel users allows brands to speak to multiple customer bases across social media platforms in a more effective, engaging way.
Too many brands post the same content across every account without giving thought to who they’re actually talking to, what those people expect from brands in that space, and how to make the most of their presence there. Our client’s personas help us craft better content that produces better results.
Shape Social Content Strategy
Similar to how it’s important to choose the correct social channels for your buyer personas, it’s also important to correctly shape your social content. First, we think about the channel we’re developing content for. If I’m crafting a post for Instagram, I start with the image. If I’m writing a tweet, I have more flexibility in my post type.
Think of each channel as it’s own distinct neighborhood in a very busy and competitive social landscape. Your target audience will help you shape where your brand should set up socially, but the neighborhoods will heavily influence how you use that channel.
Then think about who your audience is on that channel and write for them. For example, humorous memes and bold tweets will be favored by Millennials who enjoy non-traditional marketing, while older generations will appreciate professional, more traditional social media content.
Likewise, Twitter users are more likely to engage with timely content, while Pinterest users are more likely to engage with inspirational content. Personas allow me to speak to potential consumers in a language or style that they are most likely to respond to and then customize that across social channels so I’m delivering what they want when they want it.
Targeted personas also help you figure out what organizations, influencers, and other pages your customers might be interested in, which helps you share the right curated content from to increase engagement and attract new followers!
Create Effective Social Media Ad Campaigns
Ad campaigns on social channels are heavily reliant on audience and user data. Defining your buyer personas will allow for social media ad targeting that is specifically tailored to your customers. Certain ad platforms, like Facebook, will help you create targeted ads for your ideal consumers based on a variety of factors from location, age, and related interests that allow your company to create more compelling ads that address the wants and needs of your target audience. You can learn more about this from our ads team as they talk about a buyer persona’s impact on digital advertising.
Beyond your ad campaigns, a shared vision of who you’re talking to (and why you’re talking to them) can be shared with your creative team for more impactful, consistent visuals across your marketing. Team up with your PR team and web development team to fine-tune your press outreach process. The possibilities are truly endless when you’re working with a shared vision!
Update and Refine Buyer Personas Often
It’s important to remember that best practices for social media marketing are always changing and the most successful companies maintain awareness and continuously update their social strategy to reflect those changes. It’s a full-time job (I should know)! The same goes for buyer personas — they are not static. Your existing customers will change and new customers will enter your target audience. New platforms will emerge, data will come to light, industry trends will evolve. Keeping your buyer personas updated with relevant consumer information will help your social media marketing be more successful.
Updating your personas isn’t enough though! Once you’ve got those refined, you have to take the time and perspective to adjust your strategies accordingly! Maybe your targeting is adjusted, or you have some new campaign topics or a new platform to focus on. Let your personas set the stage, plan and execute a strategic plan, then track results and adjust your next steps based on everything you learn along the way!
Revisiting your buyer personas at the beginning of each year is a great way to kick-off your annual social media marketing plan, as it will align your marketing strategy with your target audience and continue your social media momentum built up from the previous year.
Learn More About Personas
Ok, ok, now that we’ve covered social, let’s look at some of the other areas of digital marketing. From content to advertising to SEO, buyer personas help every area of your marketing be more successful. Check out these resources from other members of the E/Power team as part of our series on buyer personas.
Once you’re ready to dive into creating some relevant personas for your brand, be sure to download our handy buyer persona worksheet to start walking through the process.
Of course, if you need help developing, refining, or updating your buyer personas (or just want feedback on what you’ve got so far), we’ve totally got your back! Book a FREE consultation with our team of digital marketing experts to discuss your personas and social media strategy!