Understanding your customer’s story: Why buyer personas are awesome
As an integrated marketing firm, we handle anything and everything, from marketing and PR, to design, website development, SEO and event management. Our clients engage with us for many reasons, but telling their story is the key to successful marketing.
To get the best return on your marketing, you need to know exactly who your target customer is. We call this your buyer persona.
Hubspot defines a buyer persona as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.
One of the (not the only) research avenues we turn to for identifying, researching and building a buyer persona is social media, this often provides a very realistic snapshot of the target customer.
Let us demonstrate what we mean using our boss lady’s Instagram account:
(You can follow her at @bode834)
At first glance (Research):
First impressions are (almost) everything. Profiles, photos, hashtags, brands/companies mentioned can tell a lot about a person, which in turn can assist company’s in better understanding their target customer.
Here is what @bode834 told us.
- Kim is a Grand Rapids business owner and is damn proud of it, listing it as the very first descriptor on her profile.
- She writes for Huffington Post, so she stays current with news and information and uses that as a tool to engage with others as well as share her thoughts, opinions, and experiences.
- As you scroll through her photos, you quickly see that Kim has multiple dogs—four to be exact. We think this categorizes her a Crazy Dog Lady, but we still love her. Knowing that Kim is an animal lover, we can connect-the-dots and see that Kim is generous, loving, and has a compassionate heart. She probably speaks up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
- Kim is also a wine lover, as stated in her bio. She loves to spend a night out-and-about to meet up with friends, or have people over for a relaxed get-together as evident by her photos.
Commonly used hashtags can also provide valuable insight.
- Kim’s most-used hashtags include #team834, #834clientnews, #dogsofinsta, #furkid, #grmi
The next step in creating buyer personas is to develop key takeaways.
We were confident in forming the following conclusions.
- She is a passionate small business owner and based off the content she shares, she is committed to constantly evolving the way she works, manages and runs her business.
- She is committed to inspiring the next generation – it seems to be a priority for Kim to provide knowledge and experience to those who are new/soon to be entering the marketing and communications world.
- Kim has a great sense of humor, albeit snarky at times, this is sprinkled into a lot of her photo captions.
- Kim has a wide knowledge base or serves a wide range of industries based off the information she shares and the companies she tags.
- It is obvious she is involved in her community and puts an emphasis on networking.
As a customer…
If Kim were your target customer, which is why we would be stalking her online, then what does her social account tell you?
- Animals are the key to her heart and her wallet.
- She likes to learn and read. Smart content appeals to her.
- Humor will grab her attention, smart humor not slapstick comedy.
- Entice her with booze, she clearly likes it.
- As a small business owner she can appreciate other small businesses and will be more apt to listen to a small business.
- Her belief system is out there for all to see; she is an advocate. Inspiring her to take action for a greater good will not be difficult.
Buyer personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.
Know your customer, don’t just blast your message out there and hope for the best.