How to Use Personas to Target to Your Audience on Facebook

Demographic information from Facebook alone won’t help you understand what motivates your customers and prospects. After you have a good understanding of the demographics of your target audience, you should also look at your customers’ behaviors, beliefs, and the stages of life that they’re in. This helps you better understand what motivates your prospects to actually buy your product or service.

For example, new parents tend to exhibit a specific set of beliefs and behaviors. Raising children and learning how to be good parents require focusing on or developing specific behaviors, including being thrifty, creating a secure home, being protective about the family, and choosing healthier eating habits.

How can you come to understand your target audience’s behaviors? By using personas. Personas are your marketing campaign’s imaginary friends. Playing with imaginary friends helps kids learn to interact with real people. Your personas teach you to interact with a real audience. Think of a persona as an imaginary character that represents a member of your targeted demographic.

The purpose of personas is to encourage you to creatively come up with marketing campaigns and messages that resonate with your prospects.

You can develop personas by following these basic steps:

  1. Figure out who your customers are.

    Define their needs, demographics, income, occupation, education, and gender. Ask yourself if they volunteer, how much they donate to charity, and so on.

  2. Create groups of customers that share a lot of the same characteristics.

    Include groups for new customers and repeat customers to help you understand why people buy from you in the first place, and why they come back to buy again.

  3. Rank these groups in order of importance.

    Home Depot, for instance, might rank professional builders higher than first-time DIYers.

  4. Invent fictional characters that represent each group.

    Add details such as age, occupation, marital status, kids, hobbies, interests, online activity, and more. Anyone who directly connects with your customers on a daily basis should be brought into this discussion (salespeople, tech-support people, and so on).

  5. Give these characters life by using a stock photo of an actual person and naming him.

    This also makes it easier to create products and messaging that speak to this person. It might be tempting to skip this step, but don’t. The more real you can make your personas, the more compelling your marketing will be.

  6. Finally, create a short back story for each persona.

    For example, a food pantry might have the following story for “Beth,” one of its volunteer personas:

“Beth is a 55-year-old empty-nester with two kids in college. She’s a busy customer service manager at a local software company, but strongly believes in living a balanced and meaningful life. She also values contributing to her local community.”

“When her kids moved to California to go to college, Beth began working at the local food pantry. This gives her a tremendous sense of happiness —not only because she believes in giving back, but because she has new friends who she has over for dinner parties. For Beth, the food pantry is not at all about food — it’s about living a meaningful life.”

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