You have several target personas to reach. Here’s how social media can help.
- You’re a non-profit. You need to market your organization to donors, volunteers, and the group of people you serve. How do you communicate your message without confusing your audience?
- You’re an interior design business. You work with both home decorations and large businesses. How can you speak to both your residential and business clients without sending mixed signals?
- You’re a clothing retailer. Your styles target both men and women. How do you deliver the right content to your customers?
All these questions are about how to target a marketing message toward a specific persona when doing so comes at the expense of other personas. Communicating your brand to different audiences can be complicated. However, with the right strategy in place, persona messaging can do a lot to help you reach your audience. Here’s how.
A quick recap: What is a persona?
Since we’re going to be addressing marketing personas extensively in this piece, it’s worth reviewing what they are and why you need them for an effective marketing strategy. A persona is a stand-in for your target customer. You can create them based on broad demographic information, but it’s also important to include specific details. These can include the type of magazine your target customer is likely to read, or what grocery store they shop at.
You can then use the persona as a tool to help you speak to that kind of person. Doing so will help you write more naturally, give you a sense of what cultural references you can use, and maintain the correct tone in your copy. For example, if you’re writing to a college-aged audience, a Game of Thrones references will be more in keeping than it would be for a board of high-level executives.
Personas are a valuable marketing tool that can help direct your messaging to attract the right audience. You can also assign certain automated email workflows to different personas, so that when a new lead lands on your site you can target your messages toward their likely needs and interests.
However, personas become complicated when you need to speak to many of them in one place, as on a blog or a website. While there are strategies for directing visitors to the right content on the right page, doing so can be complicated. This is where social media can step in, allowing you to target your personas based on the channel they’re most likely to use.
How to use social media to speak to different personas.
Using a targeted, multi-channel social media strategy takes more time and attention than a general distribution plan because whatever content you create or share needs to fit strategically with each channel’s target audience. But there are significant advantages to being able to deliver a consistent, unmixed message to these groups.
By way of example, let’s say you’re a large department store, like Target or TJ Maxx. In theory, while you could appeal to a wide range of customers, you also know that your primary demographic is 25–40-year-old women. Those women are split between stay-at-home moms, working mothers, and singles. You’ve also noticed a small but loyal group of teenagers, and you think there’s an opportunity to grow that consumer base. How do you reach out to all these women at once?
This is where social media can come to the rescue. Because social media demographics correlate so strongly to different personas, you can match content to the persona and the channel at the same time. Making sense? Let’s break this down further.
We all know that LinkedIn is a professional channel. Most of us use it to signal career achievements and for networking. It’s not a place for “fun,” but it can be a great way to reach out to target marketing toward the professional class. So, in the department store example we just described, if you want to reach women at work, this would be a great place to promote an article on time-saving appliances that can streamline the morning routine.
This network boasts the most strongly female demographic of them all (about 70% of users are women). And with its strong DIY attitude, it’s an excellent opportunity to promote seasonal projects, craft ideas, or home decorating tips. Most users come for visual inspiration, so project-based content does well.
While Instagram also has a slightly more female demographic, its most important feature is its reliance on images. Instagram followers want a vision more than information. So posts on this site should be beautiful, artistic, and brand-centric. They should be a reminder of what your business has to offer, and the value it will bring your customers.
Unless you have a strong teen demographic—or are trying to grow one—there’s not much reason to be on SnapChat. But, if you do have a teen audience, SnapChat has some real in-group cache. You can send a strong, teen-oriented message without worrying about it being intercepted by a career-focused individual. And, because fewer business are on SnapChat, you have fewer competition to get your message across.
Content gets lost quickly on Twitter. While you can keep your channel lively with lots of content, a better strategy would be to use it for PR, customer service, and outreach. See what other people are saying about your brand, even if they aren’t reaching out to you specifically. After all, they might not use your handle in their tweet, but you can search for hashtags using your brand name. That will give you an opportunity to gather customer research and repair your brand image if someone’s been complaining behind your back.
We’ve saved the social media behemoth for last because it’s the hardest to use personas for content targeting. This is because so many people are on Facebook, and they check it throughout the day. However, while it’s hard to zone in on your target personas in your general posts, you can use Facebook’s demographic information for your ad campaigns.
Personas are not about stereotypes.
One final note about personas: they are not stereotypes. A woman looking for home improvement inspiration on Pinterest may be doing so on her lunch break at work. A few hours later, that same woman could be reading your article on LinkedIn about how to better organize her office space. And after that, she could see your fall clothing ad on Instagram while she waits to pick her kids up from school. This person fits multiple personas, but each for a different time and place.
People are multifaceted. They carry different images of themselves based on their environment and what they are doing at that moment. A good marketing persona allows you to appeal not just to a broader range of people, but to the same individual in multiple areas of their life.
Or, in other words, you’re not creating fun posts about DIY home decorating tips on Pinterest because that’s what women want. You’re creating these posts because when a woman wants to start a DIY home decorating project, she’s likely to look for inspiration on Pinterest.
A stereotype can cause you to lose sight of the individual by focusing too much on group characteristics. A persona can help you use demographic information to place yourself in the shoes of the individual buying your product or services. That’s what makes the work.