marketing-buyer-personasBuyer personas are a widely accepted component of the marketing industry, but that does not mean that they are used properly, or even understood by many marketers.

This gap in understanding leaves an amazing opening for people working within the realm of social media marketing. The proven tools and tactics used for offline sales are not always adopted for use on social channels—but they should be. Whereas social media used to be considered the wild west of marketing, that time has now passed. 

The Opportunity

There are two reasons why you need to be using your buyer personas in social media marketing.

First, is the reason businesses do anything – profit. 71% of companies with documented personas exceed revenue and lead goals. In addition, companies that exceed their lead and revenue goals were 7.4 times more likely to have updated their personas within the last 6 months.

The second reason for using buyer personas in social media is competitive advantage. Take a look at the numbers:

  • 27% of companies have no buyer personas
  • 44% of companies have buyer personas
  • 29% of companies will have buyer personas in the next 12 months

By making use of buyer personas you put yourself ahead of over 50% of your potential competitors. However, those competitors are also looking to adopt buyer personas, so the faster you adopt them in your social media strategy, the further ahead you’ll be.

Implementing the opportunity

Using personas as part of your social media strategy does something amazing for your company – it allows you to more easily scale your engagement efforts.

How does this work?

You can envision social media as hundreds of different random conversations happening at the exact same time. It can be incredibly time consuming to have a unique conversation with each person.

When you use personas in your social media efforts, it becomes like speaking at a conference. Each person has their own unique individual traits, but they all have sets of common interests and pain points that led them to come to that conference. This means that you can develop messaging that speaks to anyone belonging to that group, which enables you to engage with a significantly larger group than you previously could have if you were developing messages one at a time.

Essentially, instead of being a Picasso, painting individual masterpieces one at a time, you need to be like Henry Ford and create an assembly line to build the products people want.

At first, this might sound impersonal, which would be a huge mistake on any social channel, but the opposite is true. You’re becoming even more personal, but you’re shifting when you do the work.

If your ideal customers are predominantly one gender, you can use language and a tone of voice that speaks specifically to them. This simple tactic is very powerful, but all-too often it is ignored in social media.

Another simple tactic is time of posting. There is no such thing as a “perfect” time for posting on social media, but if your target audience is primarily located in one geographic area, such as the East Coast, posting at times appropriate for the West Coast would definitely lead to your social media having less of an impact.

Creating buyer personas requires extensive research into your existing clients, prospects, and leads. You take what you already know about your clients and then you dive even deeper to figure out what is important to them. This can require surveys, lots of phone calls, or even focus groups.

This research process means that when you take the time to identify your buyer personas, you also identify your social engagement opportunities. This helps you immensely when it comes to creating authentic engagement with your audience. By knowing the engagement opportunities, you are able to create visible and valuable content for your audience, share it at relevant times, and target your sharing to the people who will benefit from the information you provide.

Sharing isn’t just limited to content related to your company. If you’ve put in the research when creating your personas, you can also identify other common interests they might have. For example, if a large section of your target audience likes baseball, then you can post baseball related content along with your company content. This helps you speak to your audience on a more human level, and it increases your opportunity to engage with them.

Instead of putting in the effort to do this on a case-by-case basis with social media channels, you are undertaking the effort in advance, to streamline the time and work required for each conversation. The best part is that you don’t just simplify your social efforts so that you can scale them, you base your social interactions on well-researched buyer personas so that each conversation has a bigger impact, and there is no wasted time or effort.

Every one of your potential “buyers” is on a journey of discovery. They are investigating solutions that address the pain points of their business. Hubspot refers to this as the buyer’s journey.  By researching this journey and building buyer personas tailored to it, you engage with and offer value to your potential clients—making yourself an indispensable part of their business. It can be a lot of work to get your social media strategy integrated into the buyer’s journey, but the payoff can be pronounced.