Want Social Media ROI? You Need A Persona-Based Social Media Content Strategy

Everyone wants social media ROI, but not everyone has the discipline to execute on social media marketing strategy

If you want to see social media ROI you need to create personas, and, more importantly, you need the discipline to create every single piece of content and message in alignment with personas. You may be trying to build a fan base on social media, but at the end of the day you're responsible for reaching business goals. You're not going to affect your company's bottom line talking to the wrong people, talking about the wrong stuff, or talking to people at the wrong time in the decision-making process.

Personas are critical for the entire marketing mix, but social media in particular exposes weaknesses in your personas or your ability to consistently create persona-driven content. Social media is a more personalized marketing medium that requires companies to speak to people like…people. It's actually quite simple. People don't go on social media to talk to corporations. They talk to people on a human level. To reach people in the social context, you need to talk to your target market about what matters to them. You have to know your target market really well to create content that can compete with photos of puppies and family vacations. If you do social media personas right though, this won't be a problem. Persona-driven content is wanted, needed, consumed, and shared.

For more information about personas, read "How to Get Started with Persona Mapping.”


6 tips to creating persona-driven content for your social media strategy

1. Persona-driven content matches your target market's basic demographics.

If you're selling women's health products, you should be talking to women. If you're selling arthritis products it doesn't make sense to talk to teenagers. This all makes perfect sense to most marketers who understand they should be talking to specific demographics. Where things go awry isn't necessarily whom you're talking to, but what you're talking about. Take it one step further to ensure relevance. If your target market includes senior citizens, they're probably not interested in winning tickets to a rap concert. Where people are in life dictates what matters to them and even how much they are likely to share (and about what). If one of your company's goals is to increase product awareness, then you need to capture the attention of the right people if you're going to see some social media ROI.

2. Persona-driven content speaks the language of your target market.

Persona-driven content ensures that the way you speak resonates with your audience. This includes tone and style, but also what language you use. When you know your target market really well, you know what kind of jargon they are familiar with and what kind of jargon would alienate them. It may seem like minutiae, but in the context of social media where messages are generally short and people are scanning through lots of content, you need to get the message across quickly and in familiar terms. If you don't speak the language of your personas, you risk sending the message that your brand doesn't understand them.

3. Persona-driven content comes from the perspective of your target market.

It's critical to get in the mind of your audience to understand what will be interesting and compelling to them.  How important is the weekend to your target market? Probably a lot more exciting to 30-somethings working full time than to retirees who have the leisure of doing whatever they want any day of the week. If you're targeting retirees and making a big hoopla on Fridays, your audience (if they're even retirees like you hope) won't find this terribly celebration-worthy.

4. Persona-driven content reaches the target market at the right place in the decision-making process.

It's important to understand how to align your content with key parts of the decision-making process. If your company manufactures artificial knees for total knee replacement surgeries, you need your audience to be aware of your brand before they finalize their plans for surgery, not the week of their surgery. Is your product something patients use one time or repeatedly? There's no point in talking about your product in the context of multiple uses, for example, learned experiences, (i.e., routines, habits, etc.) if your business comes primarily from one-time users. Getting social media ROI is as much about reaching the right people as it is about reaching them at the right time.

5. Persona-driven content prevents corporate speak.

Persona-driven content is more likely to create content that sounds like a real person. Real people don't talk like corporations. This means authenticity (fake-enthusiasm is usually easy to sense), showing compassion, and truly investing in your community and their needs.

6. Persona-driven content decreases the likelihood of creating drivel.

Persona-driven content is purposeful (it should be if you want social media ROI). It's interesting and compelling. The pressure to produce content and build social media communities can sometimes drive brands to post just to post. Silly posts that have no purpose hurt your credibility and drive people away. Before you post, think to yourself, "will this provide value to my target market?” Does it educate, inform, or entertain? If not, don't post it. You don't get any extra points for pointless posts. You also don't add value when your posts are riding the obvious wave. If a holiday isn't particularly relevant to your brand, you don't necessarily need to post about it. People have zillions of other posts about it in their newsfeed already, and unless you can find a way to provide a truly unique experience or perspective, you're just adding to the noise. If anything, you risk getting picked up by the Condescending Corporate Brand Page, a Facebook Page dedicated to ridiculing brands who make shameless, silly attempts to engage people on social media.

Want Social Media ROI? You Need A Persona-Based Social Media Content Strategy