Essential for marketing via any medium, you need to know who it is you’re marketing to.
But how, exactly, do you figure that out? Especially with social media – how does anyone know what works ahead of time?
Do you just guess at what your target audience is interested in, testing things until you get some sort of engagement to tell you that you’re on the right track? Or maybe, you could check out what your competitors do, and use that as a guide for what you should do.
While either (or both) of those things can sort of work, they’re not ideal for crafting a social media strategy that genuinely attracts and converts viable leads. Guesswork or copying a competitor really just gives you enough to post something, buy phenergan elixir More about the author anything, not necessarily something that accomplishes your social media marketing goals.
What you need to effectively use social media marketing is to create personas to understand who you’re marketing to – and how you can best reach them.
Why your social media personas need to be more than just your buyer personas.
Worth noting before we begin is that your social media persona isn’t about the same things as your general buyer personas.
It’s ideal to tie in your social media or content personas to your general buyer personas, so you have a better picture of how your target market might interact with your content. In addition to a social media component for your buyer personas, it can be worth crafting a basic persona or two based around potential readers you might acquire – who aren’t buyers, but might be influencers for them.
Why do you care about readers who aren’t going to be prospects for your business, and why would you focus on how you can attract those people? Wouldn’t you want to just focus on potential buyers?
Not really! For one thing, your pool of potential buyers right this instant is going to be much, much smaller of an audience than you think. Additionally, you never know who is a potential buyer at what point in time. People change jobs, companies grow, vendors change – you need to market to anyone who could be a buyer at some point in time.
You also want to provide information to people who might pass it along to their friends or colleagues who are looking for the solution you provide. That whole idea of 3 degrees of separation? You’re only one or two people away from a buyer – and social media helps amplify that effect.
That’s why you need a social media marketing strategy that’s about more than just your target buyer.
Your website’s content should be about the buyer and their questions, but your social media strategy should be about reaching the entire community around your industry or topic. That’s how you both gain access to influencers for that trendy influencer marketing, and how you become an influencer yourself.
What to research and include in your social media personas:
Now that you know why your social media personas may be different than your buyer personas, it’s time to start actually creating them. It’s important to remember that personas are fictional – but based on real data. Don’t guess! I’ll review how to find this information in just a bit.
For a social media persona, you need to identify a few key things:
- Demographic data: age, gender, where they live, job title, annual income (roughly), marital status, etc. This is to get an idea of how often they’re likely to log on, when they’re most likely to log on, the device they’re most likely to use, and how they relate to your buyer personas.
- Device data: technological proficiency and where your audience is most likely to log in to a specific network are both essential features to knowing the type of content (and format) you should be sharing
- How your persona is most likely to interact with industry content, and where they’d most expect to see it.
Demographic data is some of the easiest to gather, depending on the network. Something like this is where a third party tool comes in handy – Sprout Social tells you about your Facebook or Twitter demographics, or you can dive into Twitter data using a tool like Audiense.
LinkedIn is tougher to dive into, as third party tools can’t analyze the data for your personal connections, and what’s offered for your company pages isn’t all that detailed. I suggest spending some time (an hour or two at most) looking up potential prospects on LinkedIn based on your buyer persona data (job title, industry, company name) and seeing if there are trends. For something like this, I’ll write out a simple checklist, and look for as many potential prospects as possible.
I don’t actually spend time qualifying them – I’m just looking for as many potential leads as possible, just anyone who could be in the right bucket. I’ll use website content and email marketing to qualify them more later on.
My checklist for data gathering usually looks like this:
Age: (list off age brackets for tallying next to)
Gender: (list men or women, with space for tally marks)
Job title: (I’ll write down full titles and add tally marks any time there’s duplicates)
Geographic location: (I’ll usually only list regions, or if I see a particular state or city with many prospects, I’ll make a note)
How active they seem to be on LinkedIn: (list options to put tallies next to)
It takes time to do this by hand, but it helps you really get an idea of your target audience in general – which is what you need for social media strategy.
After you’ve gathered your data, you can get other information through Google Analytics.
Check the device data by logging in and clicking “audience”, then “technology”, and drilling down into brower & OS, with the secondary dimension of “source/medium”.
It’ll look like the screen shot above.
What this tells us is what browser people were using when they viewed the site, and where they were referred from. In this case, most of my site traffic comes from Twitter users who are looking at my site on Chrome. However, I don’t know if that’s Chrome for desktop, or Chrome on a mobile device – so to check, I can click “operating system” in the primary dimension at the top of the table. I’ll have to input the secondary dimension again (source/medium), but now I can see that there’s an interesting trend.
Windows users generally visit my site on their desktop, and they’re the biggest chunk of my visitors – although not by much. However, if someone is visiting my site on mobile, they’re extremely likely to be on an Apple device.
Pro Tip: When you see iOS listed in your operating system data, that’s generally a mobile device. Apple uses the MacOS (listed in Google Analytics as Macintosh) for their larger devices, like desktop or laptop computers, which have keyboards and mice.
You can use this data to see who you’re currently attracting from social media. If you’re not actually getting any visitors from social, that’s alright – look at this information for your site as a whole, and compare this data against goal completions.
Any trends you see in device usage compared to goal completions tells you what types of users you need to attract.
Another metric that will help you figure out your ideal social media persona is to check returning visitor vs new visitors – compared to operating system.
From here, you can now review the conversions for new vs returning visitors, as well as the operating system associated with new vs returning.
If there’s a trend, record it – you’ll want to attract more people in the bucket that converts most often.
Now turn all of that data into a story – and that’s your persona.
With your aggregate data of who your target audience members likely are, you then combine it all into a story. You want your persona to feel like a person with a back story, not just a pile of data.
Since so much of my traffic comes from Twitter (I use Hubspot to measure my conversions, and far and away, Twitter is my best converting referrer), I need to also consider who my Twitter audience is.
My Twitter target persona sounds like this:
Twitter Theresa is a millennial, 25 – 30 years old, single, who works for CEO Charlie (one of my other personas). She still lives in the city, and rents her home – it’s usually an apartment or a room in a house. Her commute is the same length as Charlie’s – often up to 30 minutes – and that’s due almost entirely to traffic. She makes between $40,000 and $60,000 annually, as she’s usually in an entry level role. Theresa is extremely driven to succeed, though, and tends to look everywhere she can for ideas on how she can move her career forward.
She uses Apple devices because she’s competent with technology, but not overly knowledgeable, and the UX of the Apple ecosystem is easy for her to use. At work, though, she has to use Windows operating systems.
She’s fond of downloading content upgrades, such as checklists, ebooks, and resource guides, but she tends to avoid whitepapers. She prefers things to read that are engaging, easy to understand, and actionable.
She checks Twitter on her breaks, and sometimes sneaks it in between tasks at work. She doesn’t tweet much, but she likes to keep up on news and information shared by influencers she follows. She’s also extremely active on other social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, but she uses those almost exclusively for personal connections.
When it comes to ads, she clicks on the ones that look like organically shared news articles, and if she’s allowed to check Facebook at work, she often sees ads related to her work searches. She doesn’t click on the work-related ads often, though, and if she does, it’s because there was a checklist or resource guide offered.
See how Twitter Theresa goes from a handful of statistics to a real person? You can actually get a feel for her – as well as what she might find interest, when and why she’s most likely to click, and the channels that she expects marketing materials on.
You’ll need to keep adapting your persona as you experiment with your social media marketing.
One of the things that many businesses fail to do is continually update and adapt their personas.
The person you’re marketing to today may not be the same person you’ll be targeting next year.
Keep your persona information up to date, and easily accessible – check it on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure you’re keeping on point.