It’s incredibly important to understand your target audience in granular detail in order to not only reach but to motivate them.
Market segmentation is a powerful tool to help you find pockets of the market that are distinct from the rest of the market, share a core set of values or needs, and are motivated by similar things.
Using your market segmentation, you can create a target persona. This a personification of an average member of the group. You can different personas within a target market in NYC if there are differences in gender, location, or media consumption.
This short video gives a high-level overview of how to build a persona.
The reason you might have a different persona per platform is due the platforms underlying demographic usage patterns. For example, Twitter skews older than Instagram or TikTok. Knowing those demographic differences can allow you to be more authentic and relatable.
Each social media platform has demographic reporting data you can see about your followers. This is an important step to ensure that your initial persona is matching your audience. Social media agencies can really help you here.
With privacy constraints, this is becoming harder to do. For example, Twitter removed their audience insights in January 2021. Therefore, you will probably have to use some third party software program to pull the demographics for you.
There are several quality programs you can use. A quick search of social media monitoring software can get you started. Each has its pros and cons. Choosing one is more an issue of preference than performance.
Once you have a program in place and linked your social accounts to it, you can see how each platform performs. You will probably see some variation from platform to platform. When we looked at our demographic splits, we found that:
Our age and gender varied significantly between platforms. Therefore, we need to create 3 social media personas. As you can see, it is important to understand your audience demographics, so you can share the right content to drive engagement.
You can also slice the data to see if you have any variances because of location. While it surprised us to see that we had followers in other areas like California and Texas, we did not see any major differences in demographics. Our followers from New York City and Pittsburgh were identical to those from California and Texas.
You want to make sure that you balance the numbers of personas you have versus the effort it will take to maintain them. As a rule of thumb, I recommend only three unless the data shows the need for more.
For us, we needed three personas:
One of the great tools that you can leverage is Natural Language Processing (NLP). There are several natural language processing software packages available. They can help you take the comments or posts from your target audience and turn them into usable data.
NLP software can cluster comments around themes. These tools can also perform sentiment analysis around those themes. Some themes will have positive emotions tied to them, while others will have negative emotions.
For example, our themes looked like for older male small business owners in NYC.
As you can see, they were discussing small business marketing and digital marketing heavily.
When talking about their business, there were several emotions that rose to the surface.
On the positive side, there was a significant amount of positive emotion around assistance and friends (support), and negative emotions centered on feeling unfairly hit by the pandemic.
There are several fun and interesting ways you can slice and dice these data. However, we will focus on the basic level in this post.
If you want to connect to your target audience, you need to match the right persona, topic, sentiment, and platform. This is the goal of a social media marketing agency when they develop social media campaigns, which are usually part of a larger marketing campaign.
We would build content designed for Instagram or Instagram stories that focused on her key topics (digital marketing, lead generation, conversion). Providing facts, thought, insights, tips, motivation, etc. built around her positive emotions of (support, community, etc.)
We would build content designed for Facebook that focused on his key topics (digital marketing, lead generation, ROI). Providing facts, thought, insights, tips, motivation, etc. built around her positive emotions of (assistance, enduring, etc.)
We would build content designed for Twitter or that focused on his key topics (digital marketing, small business marketing, marketing strategy). Providing solutions, tips, guidance, etc. built around reducing his negative emotions (obliterating & unfairly)
The other simple tactic is to find the influencers on a platform that match your persona for that platform. For example, you would not have an Instagram influencer who was a male in his late 40s/early 50s. That would not be inline with your persona, it would like be less effective.
You can use the content formula provided to develop a few months’ worth of marketing content. After which, repeat this process to see if the conversation has shifted. It will every three to six months, so it’s worth repeating this process somewhere between four to six times per year.
If I can leave you with one thing from this discussion, it is to do your homework on your user personas. These personas can vary by locations, e.g. NYC vs. Pittsburgh vs. Texas.
As you have seen, they often split by gender and age. Therefore, it is wise to make sure that your persona on your platform acts and speaks like the average follower on that platform.
Nothing loses credibility faster than a mismatch between the platform persona and social media platform audience.
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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