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Developing Personas for Better Social Media Marketing

Posted on Nov 26th, 2010
Written by Lee Odden
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    personasDemystifying better social media marketing often starts with doing a better job of connecting with customers. But how can you connect with customers if you don’t know who they are?

    Do you know who your customers are? Do you know what they search for and talk about on social networks? What influences them to buy or to recommend things to others?

    While I’m pretty sure an entire book or two could be written about the details behind the art and science of developing personas and profiles, here are a few quick tips you can implement right now to get started.

    I first heard of personas from Shar VanBoskirk of Forrester at a MIMA Summit in 2005. She discussed methodology for persona development and it seemed a very smart way to better segment and personalize marketing communications to be more relevant and effective. At the time, there weren’t a lot of resources for small businesses to implement.

    To start, here are some considerations:

    • What are your customers content preferences?
    • How do they discover, consume & share content?
    • What are they looking for on search engines and discussing on the social web?

    The answers to questions like these can help marketers make important decisions about content marketing strategy, social media channels of focus and measurement via social monitoring and web analytics.

    Developing a profile involves collecting data, aggregating and analyzing it into profiles and maintaining the personas based on ongoing measurement and analysis.

    Starting point: Getting data to develop personas. Here are a few ideas on where to get the information from which you can aggregate profiles representing customer segments you’re trying to engage:

    • Survey existing customers aka “Ask them”
    • Web analytics & conversion data
    • Social media listening tools
    • Demographic info from Quantcast, Compete
    • Keyword info SEMRush, Google
    • Engagement info from PostRank
    • Aggregate social network information from Flowtown, Rapleaf (assuming you have an email list)

    The data you collect can be compiled and analyzed to reveal common characteristics for persona development. Then that persona can guide everything from the kind of content planned on landing pages, blogs and social media. It can also guide engagement via social channels.

    I’ll follow this post up with another giving a few examples of how persona’s can be put into action.

    If you’ve tested or implemented personas with social media marketing, please share your experiences. What worked? What didn’t? What questions do you have?