Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. In fact, 59.5% of the global population are active users of the internet, and in 2022, social media sites are estimated to reach 3.96 billion users. This means that we product marketers have easy access to a lot of public information about our target audiences. So, it makes total sense that we make our lives a little easier and use this to our advantage, right?
In this article, we’ll be exploring one particular way to do this. The important topics we’ll cover are:
- What are personas?
- Why are they important?
- Why is social media useful for building them?
- How to build social media personas.
- How to improve your personas.
What are personas?
Personas are an incredibly helpful tool that product marketers can use to understand their target market. They’re essentially hypothetical profiles based on characteristics of real users that companies create during their customer and market research.
They’re not to be mistaken for real people. Personas are used purely to represent the different types of consumers that may similarly use your product or service. Creating personas can be very useful in understanding potential customers’ needs, behaviors, pain points, and goals.
User vs buyer personas
These are rather self-explanatory terms, however, they can be easily confused. Buyer personas are profiles based on those who’ll buy your product, while user personas are for those who’ll be using it. They sound similar because, of course, the same person can buy and use a product. But, they can be different.
For example, a CEO may purchase a product marketing tool for their team, but won’t be personally using it within their role. Both types of personas are important because you need to be able to understand who you’re targeting your marketing towards.
This is especially true for B2B companies, for the exact reason as our example stated - your department isn’t always going to be the one to approve the budgeting, so the messaging needs to be appropriate and aimed towards the right audience.
Why are they important?
As we all should know, product marketing is very customer-centric. The first principle within the Product Marketing Manifesto is directed solely towards the importance of always putting the customer first.
Lauren Culbertson, Co-Founder, and CEO at LoopVOC said that:
“The best product marketers know who their customers are, what they want, what they need, and how to bring those desired solutions to market. They know how to use data to turn hypotheses into concrete, indisputable insights. They refuse to take orders and earn a seat at the table with a track record of driving measurable growth. None of this can be achieved without a relentless focus on what our customers need from us.”
Personas are perfect for this because their main objective is to understand the target audience. This strategy gives invaluable insights into how you should market your products to your target audience, and how to improve and refine them based on what your personas tell you about the consumer. Ultimately, personas help to improve customer understanding, which then leads to increased brand awareness and appreciation, customer retention, and product sales.
Not only this, but personas help your company make clearer and unbiased decisions based on what your customer would want, rather than what Bob from Sales wants, and have more empathy towards your target market.
Why is social media useful for building them?
As we’ve already highlighted, social media has become an important part of any product marketing strategy because of the huge influx of the population using it.
With so much public information at your fingertips surrounding your target demographic, social media is an essential and extremely useful resource for building your personas.
How to use social media personas
Creating social media personas can help you to improve your content strategy because you can then cater your marketing to specific segments of your target market.
This strategy is handy because you can aim your messaging towards certain audiences without fear of customer churn. You’re directly pinpointing a specific demographic, with the comfort that you are targeting the right consumer each time. For example, focusing and optimizing your ads on different social platforms so that the right audience sees and engages with them.
How to build social media personas
It can be tricky to identify how to appropriately and efficiently develop your personas based on social media analytics. So, we’ve put together a step-by-step process that you can use to help with building them. Outline your objectives and goals
Outlining and identifying some questions will help you to direct your personas accurately. This will save time and make the process just that bit easier for you. Here are a couple of examples of things to consider:
- What do you want to get out of your personas?
- Who is your target demographic? (Age, job, location, etc.)
- What kind of social analytic tools are you going to use?
Gather social media data
Carry out extensive online research. Discover what platforms your target audience uses and how they use them to communicate. This will help to better understand their pain points, how they like to be marketed on social media, their behaviors, what kind of content they engage with, and so on.
Remember that each social media platform has a certain type of content and audience. So, you need to ensure that you’re creating highly targeted and engaging content that’s right for the platform which will persuade your audience to buy your product, and increase their connection with your brand.
Also, identify when the best times are to post your content to receive the most engagement. Discover when your audience is most active on any day, and what sort of platforms they’re using on any given day (e.g. LinkedIn during the week, and Instagram on the weekend) and use that to help you.
Define customer goals and pain points
Once you’ve established who you’re targeting, where you’ll successfully be able to communicate with them, and what kind of content they will find engaging, you need to understand what their goals and needs are.
Your product is going to be the solution to these problems, so discovering what they’re looking for, or what will benefit them, and how your product can do this, is going to be crucial.
Get customer feedback
Doing your own research is good, but customer feedback is incredibly valuable to any organization because you’re getting first-hand opinions and reviews that can help to improve your products and services.
Set up your personas
So you’ve got all the info you need… now it’s time to create the personas. Here at PMA, we have some incredible templates for personas that make it easy to get started which you can access in the member’s area.
We also have research templates that will help you in the preliminary stages of building your personas.
How to improve your personas
Built using only the latest trends and proven practices from PMMs all over the globe, the Persona Masters: Certified course guarantees that you’ll walk away with new ideas sure to revolutionize your current approach to building your personas.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:
- Create, build, and deliver personas that work.
- Streamline the persona process by focussing only on extracting and mining data that drive bottom-line impact.
- Take your entire company’s product, marketing, sales, and customer-focussed efforts to the next level.
- Get everyone in your org rallied around your personas and demonstrate the tangible value they deliver.
- Understand where and when personas should be used and provide clear use cases to key stakeholders across the business.
- Show off your shiny new certificate to everyone in your network.