To effectively reach your core market, you must understand how your target audience including their influencers, end users, decision makers, and the public behave on social media.
With the evolution, expansion and diversification of social media platforms, it’s more important than ever to develop a social media buyer persona.
Just as you’d start creating a marketing persona based on your key audience’s demographics, psychographics and past purchase behavior, the same attributes apply to social media.
Social media’s influence on your target audience
Recent research by Critical Vision entitled From Social to Sale identifies important factors that help marketers understand their customers’ social media behavior. The data was taken from online surveys encompassing 5,657 interviews conducted from February 2012 to June 2013 in the US, Canada and the UK.
1. Understand social media platform usage by age and gender. Contrary to popular belief, the largest group of users (roughly 45%) on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are between 35 and 54. While Pinterest users are overwhelmingly female, (over 80%), Facebook and Twitter users are roughly evenly mixed.
2. Assess your target market’s social media engagement based upon frequency. Be aware of the social media platforms where your prospects and customers engage to ensure that your offering gets integrated into the conversation. Realize that the zero moment of truth happens before your organization realizes a prospect is in-market for your product.
- 3 out of 4 Facebook users visits every day.
- 1 out of 4 Pinterest users visits everyday.
- 1 out of 5 Twitter users between 18 and 34 visits everyday
- 1 out of 20 Twitter users 55 and above visit at least once a day.
- 1 out of 20 men use Pinterest.
3. Determine what topics your audience seeks on various social media platforms. While users engage around a variety of topics across social media networks, Pinterest drives the most purchase related interaction. It’s great for food and cooking, crafts, health and fashion and beauty. (Here’s more data on Pinterest and sales.)
How to develop your social media buyer persona
While this research was limited to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, take a broader approach to social media. Include blogs, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Instagram. Depending on your offering, don’t overlook socially driven sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and/or FourSquare as well as targeted social media platforms like SpiceWorks (technology) and Ravelry (knitting and crocheting).
Here’s a list of ten questions to help you develop the social media buyer persona for your business. Take the time to focus your answers based on your offering.
Understand that you may not be able to get this information from your social media dashboard. You may need to consider other ways to gather it such as follow up emails, social media requests, and/or in-store surveys.
- Which social media platforms does your target audience visit? Don’t assume that your typical prospect only uses Facebook.
- Upon which social media platforms does your target market have a user profile? Is it complete? This shows the depth of their engagement and willingness to share their personal details.
- What topics does your market seek information on social media? This is related to their interests and can influence purchase tradeoffs. Understand that the information they look for may vary by venue.
- What type of content (or formats) do they seek on which social media entities? This can be related to the topic in which they’re interested.
- What type of device (such as computer, smartphone and/or tablet) do they use most often when engaging on social media? What type of device do they use most often when researching purchases and when buying?
- Upon which social media venues do they share information? What type of information do they share and how often do they share it? Do they tend to just view other people’s content (aka do they just lurk)? You might want to check your fans and followers streams to see what they’re discussing.
- What types of purchase-related questions do they ask on social media? What kind of information do they seek? For example, do they want answers to specific questions or do they want to see how to style your product? Bear in mind that it may not be what you think is important. Have they ever asked their social media connections for purchase related input or recommendations? Are there special circumstances for social media input? For example, I’m in Montauk. What’s good place to have breakfast?
- Where are they when they seek social media input for a purchase? Are they at home, at work, in a store, or on-the-go?
- Have they made purchases that were influenced by their use of social media? If so, what did they buy or not buy? In other words, do they use social media to research or qualify purchases versus impulse buys.
- Do they share their purchases with their friends and family on social media? If so where and when do they share it? Do they share everything they buy or only major items? Are there special circumstances that push them to share or comment? Think bad service or other challenge.
Once you’ve developed your social media persona, use it in your post marketing persona creation, namely creating targeted content for social media distribution.
While you may not be able to answers to all of these questions, the point is to consider the role of social media in your target audience’s life and how it relates to their purchasing behavior.
Once you start thinking about social media in this way, you can start to develop more effective content to share on those platforms where your audience is active or lurking. Further, you can incorporate appropriate calls-to-action to provide additional information and to be able to track your target audience.
What other questions or attributes would you add to this social media buyer persona list and why?
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2015 is going to be a great year for social marketers, but to make the most of it you'll need a fine-tuned social strategy. This guide is your countdown to the New Year with ten fresh tactics based on the 2014 trends expected to shape the coming year, and ways you can refine your brand's social strategy for success.
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