Sometimes marketers take out all the personal elements of reaching new audiences. Customers become data points based on analytics. But to reach these customers effectively it’s important to remember they are individuals with unique combinations of needs and interests. Keeping this in mind can help you tailor your marketing efforts not to a statistical point of data, but to a real person. However, it is fair to assume that many of your customers have similar priorities, so you can sort them into groups for truly understanding what you should be marketing to them. This tactic is called using buyer personas and it’s an insightful way of considering who your customers are and what they want.
A survey conducted by ITSMA revealed 90% of B2B marketers gain a clearer understanding of their customers using buyer personas. However, just collecting such powerful information is a waste if it’s not used properly. By implementing knowledge of buyer motivations in your content, and particularly in your social media marketing, you’ll form very strong connections among your audience, leading to more customers and greater ROI.
Here, we’ll discuss how you can harness the power of buyer personas on social media, both on the micro-level of posts and throughout entire campaigns.
Using Social Media Buyer Personas to Create Social Posts
Every social media post is a chance to connect with a prospective buyer and convert them from a prospect to a lead. But if you’re hoping to garner engagement, such as comments, likes or Retweets, each post needs to contain a message that directly appeals to the reader.
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According to CMI, 76% of B2B marketers noted they planned to increase content output in 2016. Inevitably, much of that content will find its way onto social media and miss the mark because it doesn’t incorporate a rich understanding of customers. A fully sketched-out social media buyer persona, built from customer interviews and intelligence gained from your sales team, gives you that understanding by revealing your prospects’ mindset and buying behavior. Some Important points to take into consideration when creating your social media buyer personas include:
- How your buyers conduct business on a day-to-day basis
- Your buyers’ general disposition towards new, unfamiliar brands
- How your buyers prefer to gain new industry knowledge and make purchasing decisions
Armed with this information, you can create social posts that align closely with your social followers’ expectations. More specifically, here’s how you can use buyer persona insights to craft high-impact social posts:
- Speak to the way your followers do business. Do your buyers tend to work within a team or are they independent stakeholders? Do your customers act on their organizational goals quickly or do they use long, drawn-out processes that involve staff at every level?
If your social content reflects prospects’ daily business lives, you’re more likely to gain their trust.
- Take cues from industry influencers. Who do your prospects listen to? Look at some of the content your typical buyers consume (whether it consists of blog posts, whitepapers, podcasts or other high-value pieces), and take note of how well your current social messages align with those voices. You might even gain inspiration from influencer media to create similar, yet better-targeted content.
- Speak to the benefits of your product. Your prospects are interested, first and foremost, on how your products make their lives easier. Focus a large portion of your social media output on why your product fulfills a need.
- Address pain points directly. What’s frustrating your buyers? Whether it’s a minor inconvenience at the office or a major problem that’s interfering with business efficiency or profits, make sure you address pain points and link to content related to the solutions your products provide.
- Think of posts your buyers are likely to share. Your social media buyer personas should address the substance of the conversations your buyers have with their industry peers. This insight is great fodder for social posts your buyers will gladly share within social outlets, which will only improve your company’s social market presence.
Reviewing how your buyers make decisions, how they feel about industry concerns and what’s driving their approach to changing their business processes for the better—all things that your social media buyer personas should reveal—can help inform substantial, trust-building content for your social media pipeline. That increase in trust yields more customers and greater ROI from your personas.
Using Social Media Buyer Personas to Guide Campaigns
Using your social media buyer personas to help guide individual social posts is simple and effective. But what about entire campaigns?
If your approach to marketing is not targeted, it will fall flat. Only 30% of B2B marketers report their content marketing efforts are effective. One of the best ways to ensure you’re implementing a targeted (and thus, more effective) approach is to use buyer insights to construct and refine overall campaigns.
When designing campaigns, keeping the following in mind can make sure you’ll persuade your audience to enter your sales funnel and convert, ultimately raising your ROI:
- Use buyer insights to construct an approach to thought leadership. Thought leadership is an important goal to achieve through content marketing; general interest in the subject is very high and continues to grow steadily. Make sure social and other content subtly builds on the type of ideas your buyers associate with a high degree of influence in their respective industries.
- Introduce stimulating perspectives in active social media conversations. In social media, posts matter, but active engagements really matter, and they can make an impact in real time. Informed by your buyer insights, respond to questions on social platforms and get involved in discussions that will build buzz about your company’s industry savvy.
- Create streams of content targeting different stakeholders. Depending on the complexity of your market segments, some of your customers’ purchasing decisions might be primarily made by C-level executives, middle managers or regional leaders. Develop content for the individuals pulling the trigger on the purchase, and make sure it’s persuasive both to them and other important stakeholders in the chain of command. Also, make sure that through social listening, you’ve identified the proper social channels on which to engage the point persons you’re targeting.
- Make sure the campaign’s “story” makes sense. Different buyers require different approaches. Especially if your products serve a variety of industries your campaigns need to make sense to each type of buyer. For example, a SaaS software marketer might not have the same needs as a financial services company, so your campaigns will have to target each in a highly-personalized way.
Your social media buyer personas are a great source of material for constructing campaigns that will resonate deeply with prospects and turn them into leads. Remember that other resources, such as your CRM and your social media marketing platform, can yield even more buyer insights for sharpening your campaigns and extracting maximum ROI from content.
Channeling the knowledge you gain from buyer personas can be a true challenge. But by taking the details they reveal about how your buyers think and act, and using that data to sharpen both your social media content and entire campaigns, your company will engage more social followers as leads, and ultimately, as customers.
Cover image via @Federico Feroldi