Four ways to align social media posts with marketing personas

By Tiffany Delmore

Many whip-smart brand marketers still find themselves in danger of leaving their actual buyers behind. No matter how confident you are about your own social media marketing skills, we recommend following these four steps.

1. Choose metrics wisely

Like most areas of business, social media marketing should begin with a goal. Think beyond vanity metrics to those that actually matter: Do you want to grow your share of voice? Click-through rate? Engagement?
To choose your metrics, think about how your customers buy. Domino’s, for example, lets users use the hashtag #EasyOrder to order pizza via Twitter post. In this case, hashtag use count isn’t a vanity metric, but a measurement that directly ties social engagement to revenue.

2. Run prior posts past a focus group

Shares and likes can be deceiving — not just in number, but in spread. A post that gets attention on social media might look like a winner, but it doesn’t do a teen brand much good if its message resonated with geriatric users.

Check past social media content by assembling a focus group of your core customers. This can provide insight into the attitudes and behaviors of specific users, letting you peek behind the numerical curtain. Ask open-ended yet specific questions like “What do you like best about this post?” and “How does this post influence your view of our brand?”

3. Refine personas with focus group and platform insights

Once you have a better picture of what your audience likes and dislikes about your existing social content, use it to enrich your buyer personas. Then, augment them further with platform-specific tools like Facebook Insights.

For instance, you might learn through focus groups that your Millennial customers particularly like posts that signal corporate social responsibility. But to discover which causes resonate best, individual comments won’t cut it.

Instead, look at platform data: Perhaps environmental causes received the most engagement among cause-related posts. Put those pieces together, and you’ve got the backbone of a social media strategy.

4. Plan paid and organic posts together

As sponsored posts on social platforms grow by double-digit percentages, social media users are seeing them mixed in with organic posts.

The trouble is that the marketers in charge of a brand’s paid social content aren’t always the same ones firing off its daily tweets. And because so-called “dark posts” don’t show up on the brand’s timeline, it’s easy to forget they exist at all.

Communication is the only fix. Get your social media team together each week to plan sponsored, boosted, and organic posts.

Build them around the buyer personas you refined, and run timely organic posts past paid planners to avoid messaging conflicts.

Doing so may slow things down, but inconsistent messaging undermines the customer experience and impedes ROI — which matters much more than speed.

Newton may have lived centuries ago, but his insight into motion still rings true when it comes to social media. He understood that everything, including popularity, comes at an equal and opposite price.

Gaining a mass following can make it tough to reach targeted consumers. But Newton knew that objects in motion tend to stay in motion. If Newton were a marketer today, he’d recommend getting started on a new strategy; once you’re moving in the right direction, it’s a lot easier to keep going that way.

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