The Importance of Company Personas in Social Media

This is a guest post from Alicia Lawrence. 

Company personas – a phrase that holds much controversy and confusion definitely has an impact on your purchasing decisions. A marketing persona is simply an invented version of your business, consumers and products that work as a marketing tool for your overall business.

The Three Types of Personas

The use of personas is as varied as its definition. For example, Flo from Progressive Insurance and Doug from Ford are both marketing personas but so are the hundreds of buyer personas created during the research phase of almost all campaigns. Doug and Flo act as characters that allow customers to relate to the brand on a fun new level. But they serve a very different purpose than buyer personas.

There is also a third kind of persona that is often frowned upon but if done correctly has the ability to create a strong interactive advertising campaign. Nokia used this technique during their Somebody Else’s Phone campaign. They had three personas (Anna, Jade and Luca) that lost their phone and would start conversations about it with real people over social media.

All three kinds of personas, if used wisely, offer opportunities for the company to strengthen their brand.  Especially in social media, personas offer the ability to better understand and connect with their customers.

Creating Your Personas

There are many details to consider when creating a persona for your company. You should always keep in mind your customer when thinking up your perfect persona.

  • Demographic: Where do they live? How old are they? How much education do they have? Are they male or female or both? What is their annual income? How many people live with them?
  • Lifestyle: How do they spend their money? Are they reckless or cautious when it comes to spending their funds?
  • Hobbies: What are their interests? Do they have specific hobbies? What political views do they have? Do they follow a religion? Do they like sports? What kind of music do they listen to?
  • Influencers: Who influences their product buying decisions? Are they the head of the household? Do they get their information from TV, new media or magazines?
  • Goals: What are their personal goals? Are they focused on themselves or others?
  • Personality: What is their response to difficult and happy situations? How do they react to purchases?
  • Past Decisions: Have they bought from your company in the past? How do their buying decisions relate to your company?
  • Competitor Relationship: Do they like your company/products? Would they ever purchase from your competitors? Do they like your competitors?
  • Company Relationship: What do they want from your company? Low costs? Best made products?
  • Information Source: Where do they get their information? Are they using search engines online? Do they talk to friends/family members regarding information?
  • Information Types: What do they want to know about your product? Reviews? Trials? Prices?
  • Where Do They Spend Time: When they’re learning about your company, where are they? Are they on their phones looking it up, on the go? Are they home waiting for the kids to get home from school?

The answers to all these questions should be similar for your customers and your company personas. This allows your audience to realize that your company understands them and truly speaks their language.

Personas in Social Media

Once you figure out who your persona is, you need to consider where you’ll be using them. Sometimes personas are created just so the company can better understand the content they should publish on their social pages and blog. Other times, the persona becomes more of a spokesperson for the company. Either way the goal is the same, to reach your customers in a unique way that will create a positive impression and influence their purchase decisions.

Social media is a great way to get your personas out. Best Buy did a great job of this with their personas: Buzz, Jill, Barry and Ray. These personas help to influence a customer, in many ways, such as:

  •  Why their brand is relevant to customers.
  • How different types of people (i.e. your personas) relate to the different products.
  • What factors influence their purchasing decisions.
  • How a customer’s personality relates to the product and how that influences their decisions to buy products.

Almost as important as your brand’s persona are the backstories of your personas. They need to relate to your customer base. Have your personas deal with issues that your real customers would be faced with. It’s important to remember to be completely upfront that the persona is not a real person, but rather a character for your brand. Lying to your customers will only cause a negative reaction to your company.

Alicia is a content coordinator for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Business Insider, and Spin Sucks. 

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