Picture this. Your brand has a great piece of content that you want to share with the masses. Great! But do you know who the content is directed at or who would benefit from it? How much do you know about your target audience? If your answers are “somewhat” or “not a lot,” then you’re in need of a marketing reality check.
[Image credit: iStock/eternalcreative]
First things first: you need a plan. A marketing campaign without a strategy is like a ship without a sail. It’s not going anywhere worthwhile if you can’t steer it in the right direction. Not having a strategy behind your digital marketing plans could mean your content won’t get the right reach, engagement, or make its way to the right people. And sure, you may have an idea of who your brand’s main audience is, where they live and what they do, but how do you know that this is accurate? Maybe this is who you want to target, but are they really the people that have a need for your product or service?
Enter persona profiling
In a nutshell, persona profiling is the process of establishing who it is that you need to be targeting with your marketing efforts.
So why are personas so important to your strategy?
That’s the million dollar question! It’s because they help you understand your audience. You gather information about key behaviors, demographics, motivations and needs that define the target group. With this information, you can tailor your content and services to their specific behaviours and interests. When you have key details such as gender, age, and occupation, you’re able to target your audience using social advertising on the platform they are most likely to use. If you're not sure how to begin, here are some tips that can help to develop your brand’s persona.
Do your research
Building a persona is a data-led process. Since data is representative of human behaviour, the details your brand has about its consumers, trends, and purchasing habits can give you a push in the right direction. After you’ve analysed your data, get the people who most often engage with your consumers involved using internal questionnaires or interviews. Ask them what types of people are engaging most with the brand, and the types of people they aim to target. These details will provide the initial stage of creating your persona.
Next, conduct external questionnaires to get in touch with the people on the other side of the sales and marketing funnel. This will help you paint a clear picture of who you should be targeting.
The next step is social listening. To do this, you need to use a social listening tool that will help you to establish where your target audience is on social media, what channels they’re using, what conversations they're having and what they're looking for in a product or service like yours..
You'll then find that the combination of results from all of this research will tell you who your audience is, and the methods they're likely to take to interact with your brand and the content you create.
Social Media and Targeting
In this day and age, most brands have a social media presence. Whether that's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other social platform, as a brand you need to have all of the right information to best tailor your targeting options.
Unfortunately, not all social platforms offer the same targeting options, and some are much more advanced than others. Some, like Facebook and LinkedIn, allow you to be very specific with your targeting. This is due to the amount of information users provide when building and maintaining their profiles. Twitter, on the other hand, is more difficult, as it only collects limited data when someone creates a profile, and the character limits are very strict.
Remember though, you don't want to narrow personas down to the finest detail, as you then run of risk of excluding potential customers. Keep it to the key demographic details, along with needs, interests and online behaviour of this group.
Now it's time to apply what you’ve learned
Tailor your content to the personas you've discovered through your research, and use social targeting to make sure it's reaching the right people, and you should find that engagement increases.
If you want to learn more, then check out our ebook on personas here.