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How to Build Your Social Marketing Personas

Senior Social Strategy Consultant Brooke Andersen and I recently appeared on a webinar about targeting your audience effectively on Instagram.

A huge portion of the webinar focused on setting a strong foundation by building out social marketing personas for your brand. If you missed it, here’s the step-by-step process—along with the webinar recording at the bottom.

Step 1: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Start with your larger marketing personas. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Begin this process by identifying and learning about the personas (customer types) that your whole marketing team goes after today.

Don’t have marketing personas? Skip to step 2 below.

Step 2: Start Listening

Using a Listening solution is the quickest and easiest way to both identify and build out your social marketing personas.

You should be looking at the organic conversation happening around your general topic (i.e., “yoga” if you sell yoga pants), your brand (i.e., “Yoga Pants Inc.,” if that’s the name of your organization), and the product launch or service you’re trying to heavily promote right now (i.e., “Coolest Yoga Pants Ever”).

By understanding what these three levels of conversation look like, you’ll be able to build out robust, detailed social marketing personas.

Step 3: Social Data + Personas

Social Data Personas

With social data, you can augment the very general information you have about your buyers. This level of detail will give you a strong idea of who your personas are and how you should be targeting them on social, including campaign inspiration and social channel distribution.

Step 4: Choose Your Key Tactics

Now that you have a much better idea of the personas you should be targeting, what their traits are, and how they are differentiated, it’s time to choose the tactics you’ll be using to reach each persona. There are a few processes you can put into place to make this a smooth ride.

Save Time Day-to-Day

Learn more here.

Engage Regularly and Authentically

Know When to Post and Identify Your Most Successful Campaigns

  • Here’s a guide to help. 
  • Identify which pieces of social content and which campaigns have generated the biggest results for your brand over the past year.
What does “big result” mean for your brand?

Step 5: Know the Latest Network Features

Follow Hashtags. Instagram’s new hashtag follow feature is perfect for targeting niche communities, and makes it easy for Instagram users to delve deeper into the specific worlds they find appealing. Once an Instagram user follows a hashtag, he or she sees its photos and videos appear in Instagram Stories, his or her feed, and in the Following section of his or her profile. As we’ve established, multiple niche communities (personas) are potential buyers for your brand. 

You can use Listening to identify and leverage like-minded hashtags to reach your target audience. This is a beneficial and educational strategy, whether you are using Instagram as a channel or not. 

Simply Measured Topic Word CloudInstagram Stories are a feature of the Instagram platform that allow users and brands to post photo and video content that disappears within 24 hours. Instagram Stories:

  • Are flexible and timely
  • Allow for quick updates, especially around in-real-time events
  • Keep your brand top-of-mind (and feed)
  • Can drive traffic to your site if you have an Instagram Business profile

Learn more about Instagram Stories (and the data available) here. 

Instagram Live. Consider going live.

Step 6: Choose Your Persona-Based Approach(es)

Now it’s time to come up with an individual strategy for each persona, including how you intend on targeting each persona.

Remember that just because a strategy hasn’t been used in your vertical or industry yet doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use it.

Let’s say Nike rolls out an excellent Instagram campaign with massive reach, engagement, and press pick-up—but you’re a tourism brand. Just because you don’t sell the same thing doesn’t mean you can’t use similar tactics, like video, tight influencer partnerships, and simple, text-driven branding.

Step 7: Define and Redefine Your Success Metrics

Check out the full recording here, and request a demo of Simply Measured, a Sprout Social Company, below that! 

Learn about the complete social analytics solution

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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