How many conversations would you say you’ve had today? 3? 10? 50? Whatever the number, think carefully about how you spoke to each person you’ve come across today. It’s highly unlikely that you chatted to the bus driver in the same way as you would with your boss, your kids or your best friend.
Whether you realise it or not, the way you communicate changes all the time to suit the person you’re talking to. Sometimes it will be ultra-formal and technical, whereas other times it will be more chilled.
It’s pretty easy for most of us to know which tone of voice and word usage would best fit different conversations and scenarios. In fact, many of us do it without even realising or having to think about it. But what if you don’t know who you’re talking to?
This is a common problem that many businesses face when to comes to posting relevant content on social media. Yes, as a brand you do need to post varied and regular content in order to cut through algorithms and to build your audience over time. But if you’ve got no idea who you should be talking to, you run the risk of posting irrelevant content and using an inappropriate tone of voice, that just plain confuses your current audience and prospective customers. Not ideal when you’re trying to build a strong social media following for your business!
What on earth is a social media persona?
Customers are far more likely to buy from brands that they feel understand them and engage with them regularly. So if you’re currently experiencing a downturn in your sales or a lack of new followers or engagement, the way you currently post on social media could be to blame. Thankfully, there is a simple solution; creating social media personas.
“What’s a social media persona?!” we hear you cry for the 4th time during this article. Well, a persona is a semi-fictional character that represents a key segment of your target audience. In other words, they are your ideal customer. Having this persona to hand will help you to deliver content across your social channels that is both useful and relevant to your audience, which in turn will entice them to engage with your brand and convert to those all-important sales.
For instance, you might run a business that provides educational workshops and conferences to teachers, students and working professionals. Each of these target groups will have different reasons for attending your workshops and paying for your services, be it networking opportunities or to continue their education. Therefore, you could create separate personas that represent teachers, working professionals and students to identify what the needs and wants of each group is. This can help you to create content that aids their educational or networking interests or solves a problem they might have.
It’s recommended that businesses create between three and five personas to represent their audience. Any more than this and you’ll find that you’re covering the vast majority of your audience, but losing your defined voice.
Creating your social media persona
If you were an expert in creating social media personas, you wouldn’t be here reading this guide. It can seem a bit daunting to essentially make up a single person that encompasses the wants, needs and traits of a group of people that enjoy your products or services. However, it’s not as hard as it may seem and can actually be quite a fun exercise.
To create your persona, you’ll need to combine both real data and good old fashioned common sense. To get useful data about your audience you can use a combination of Google Analytics and surveys or questionnaires. These two sources can tell you how old your audience is, what challenges they may face, their goals and desires and what their interests are. You might even be able to discover what their jobs are, where they live and the social channels they use most regularly.
This might all seem like random information that holds no purpose, but they will actually form the building blocks of your persona. Once you know some basic details about the different groups within your target audience, it will be far easier to visualise each persona.
Now you have the bare bones of what you need, it’s time to start to add some character to your personas. You can create a list of buzzwords for each persona or create a mood board with visuals; do whatever works for you. It can also be easier to distinguish the differences between your personas by giving them names or by using photographs of models or celebrities that are a similar age to the persona you’re trying to create.
Bring them to life
This is where you can really start to get creative. With the help of a few educated guesses, start to give your persona some individuality and interests. Based on their demographic you should start asking yourself what sort of shops they like to go to, would they prefer to go to Nando’s for an after work treat or a swanky cocktail bar? Do they watch Love Island religiously or are they more of a reader? Also consider what they might find interesting to read about.
For example, for a single mother persona, it’s likely they will find guides on days out for kids, kids clothing tips or quick recipes for kids to be useful. On the opposite end of the scale a single, career minded broker in the city wouldn’t want to know about those things but might be interested in reading about work life balance or tips on being more productive at work. Don’t forget to always link whatever you’re talking to them about back to your products or services – if there’s no feasible connection, don’t go there.
For instance, if you’ve identified that your audience is made up of a lot of students, creating a persona that enjoys going on long luxury holidays and spending loads on expensive designer clothes will be irrelevant. This could mean that you post content that is of no interest to your audience which is likely to cause you to lose followers rather than gain them.
Creating social media personas might seem like a time-consuming task that you can put to the bottom of your to-do list. There’s no denying that it can take a while to fully create multiple personas for your brand but in the long run it will make content creation for social media a breeze and is so worth it.
Once your personas are in place, they can help you to create targeted messages that resonate with your audience, whether it be giving them inspiration or solving one of their problems. In turn, you get to look forward to a stronger and more loyal social following for your brand – which is half the battle where mastering social media for business is concerned.