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How creating User Personas will help you win with social media

There are lots of factors in making your social media a success but knowing your target audience and keeping them at the heart of your thinking and planning is key.

Chances are you already know your ideal customers – or potential customers – fairly well but creating User Personas will help you achieve a deeper level of understanding and will hopefully encourage you to keep them as the focus of every decision you take.

So, what are User Personas and why do you need them?

User Personas – also referred to as pen portraits or archetypes – are widely used in marketing. They provide rich insights into who your customers are and what they’re all about.

A User Persona will typically include demographics – so gender, age, where they live, their education and income level, etc.  – as well as looking at their job role, family, hobbies, interests, and lifestyle. Where User Personas really get interesting though, is looking at the attitudes and behaviours of your target audience, their goals, needs, and desires; their challenges frustrations and pain points – and how your products or services can best serve them.

A User Persona designed for social media will also outline social media habits – which platforms your target audience is likely to use, when and how they use them; the content which will inform, inspire and entertain them; their motivations to engage with you and the reasons they won’t.

Once you have drawn up these personas, you’ll be able to use them to ensure that all your social media activity is tailored to them and their needs. They’ll determine which platforms you use, when and how frequently you post, what you talk about and the way in which you do so.

How to create a User Persona

User Personas are ideally created with data – the sort of numbers and facts which are held in the tools your business already uses, for example, Google Analytics, customer databases, and mailing lists. But for many businesses, the hard evidence will only go so far in completing the picture.

What better way to find out about what makes your customers tick than to do a little market research? Talk to your existing customers and ask them questions; check any assumptions you have and fill in any gaps.  Refer to information you collect from customers as part of onboarding, in customer reviews or end of project feedback.

You can also draw on the knowledge of colleagues or those connected to the business. Besides, getting the wider team involved in creating user personas, this can help in persuading them to use them too. If you’re yet to launch, then find the people who you think are likely to become customers or who are already buying from or working with your customers.

Social media listening can also be helpful. Find your target customers online and check out what they’re talking about and how. Take a look at who your competitors are engaging with and what this tells you about your target customers.

What does a User Persona look like?

Typically, you should look to develop around 3 – 5 User Personas. Templates are widely available but there are a few core elements to consider. Start with a name to help you move beyond a list of characteristics to someone you and your business can easily recognise. From there, settle on enough detail to enable you to view your plans and activity through their eyes.

There are lots of free templates available to help you get started. Take a look at Xtensio and their step to step guide and templates.

and their step to step guide and templates.

Bringing Users Persona to life

There’s little point in creating User Personas if they languish in a folder (virtual or otherwise) so find a way to bring them to life which works for you.

Print them off and keeping them to hand so you can quickly refer to them when you’re creating content or planning a new campaign. If you’re a more visual person, translate the knowledge you’ve gained in creating User Personas into a mood board and hand it in your office or add it to a scrapbook.

And update them continually. As you learn more about your target customers or as your product range expands and your business evolves, add to your existing User Personas or create new ones.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas on how to create User Personas and make the most of them as part of a winning social media strategy. If you’d like to know more or need help in creating User Personas or a strategy for your social media, I’d love to hear from you.