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5 Steps to Creating an Effective Persona for Social Media Marketing

8174824430_b792eda043_k In my last post, I talked about the importance of truly identifying your main target audience and creating a persona of the ideal customer or client whom you want to attract. I know this is so hard to do, but I can confidently tell you from years of working in this field and advising hundreds of businesses that this is a major key to success with social media and online marketing. Once you identify your ideal client or customer and create a persona for him or her, you can focus your social media marketing efforts on meeting this character’s needs, being valuable to them and connecting with them. Believe me–this is transformational. So how do you create a persona for social media marketing? How do you narrow down to one specific persona from one or more larger target audiences?

1. Get past the fear that somehow you are limiting your audience.

As much as we’d like to think it’s true, we cannot please everybody. When you create a tight focus on your exact niche, you open up to finding more and more people who fit your ideal customer. Narrowing down is opening up. It means you are working towards talking to your #1 ideal client. After you work through the first persona and get comfortable, you can create other personae for other segments of your audience. The key is to start small and work outwards.

2. List the people you serve (or want to).

Make a list of all the different people you are able to serve. Make these broad categories, such as mothers of pre-school children, teachers of pre-K-2, education advocates, general community, etc. Once you have all the different segments identified, decide who is the money-maker. Who brings you the most leads or sales? Whether it’s the leads or sales you’re focusing on, be sure this is a person to whom you can market online. I know it’s hard to narrow it down, but again, you can expand and add more personae later on.  You are starting with one focus to get started.

3. Construct one character.

This seems to drive entrepreneurs and small business folks nuts. Why? Because it feels contrived and feels like you are being told to choose random things that could or could not be an attribute of your customers. Who is the person you want to serve above all others? If you had your choice and could fill your business with one person, who would it be? This is who you’re creating. Create them, and they will exist.  Answer some basic questions about this person: • What is their name? • How old are they? • What gender are they? • Are they married, single, divorced? • Do they have children? • Do they live in a city, suburb or rural area? • What kind of job do they have? • What is their income? • What is their education? • What are their career goals? • What is their biggest life issue (work or personal)? • What are their biggest problems in their career? • What types of challenges do they face with career and life balance? • What is their favorite music? • What type of books do they read? • What blogs and or news do they read regularly? • What kind of movies do they like? • What social media channels do they use? How often are they using them? • What problem can you solve for them? These questions may seem too detailed and may make you wonder–why do I care? The point of it all is to try and create a profile of your ideal customer so you can understand how they operate and ask the important questions, like what is important to them? What they care about? What do they need, and what do they want?

4. Write this character’s story.

2271842696_f087493d1a_o What is their life like today? Write out a few paragraphs or longer of a narrative so that you have a clear picture of who they are, what drives them, what their challenges are and how your product can help them or make their lives easier. Now at this point you can stop, or you can take it a step further and create an image of them, using magazines you can cut out pictures to represent them, their families and their lives. Or you could use one of many online programs to design an image of them and their lives. Or draw a picture. You do not have to do this, but as long as you have a visual in your mind or on paper, it will be helpful in catering to their needs.

5. Use this persona as your model.

As you set out to pick social media channels, create goals, strategies etc. focus on this person. I promise you this will help you in your process and in the end this exercise will make all the difference in your overall success. Tell me about your persona! For more tips on how to create a persona that will drive your business or cause to success, contact me or leave a comment below. – Photo Credit: TempusVolat and Katie Inglis

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