Nobody likes to waste money. In today’s digital age, brands should be able to avoid this by prioritizing solutions that allow them to hyper-target personas. Personas are generalized representations of your target customers. Having a firm grasp of your personas helps with everything from customer acquisition to retention for your brand.

Seventy-one per cent of companies who exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas, according to a 2016 report by Cintell. ITSMA’s recent survey indicates 91% of companies using personas have been able to create a clearer understanding of who their buyers are. Last but not least, Cintel also found that 65% of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals have updated their personas within the last six months.

The numbers speak for themselves. There are many ways to adopt a persona-first mindset when trying to target users for your next social influencer marketing campaign. Let’s get started.

What constitutes influencer personas

There should never be a one-size-fits-all approach for creating influencer personas. Why? Because the influencer with the highest number of followers may not be the best fit for your campaign. For example, a vlogger who is known to typically do product hauls on bargain beauty finds may not be the right fit for a dedicated post on a prestige beauty brand. That comes across as disingenuous to the blogger’s followers and doesn’t reflect well on the brand.

You can avoid such a faux pas by considering influencers’ behaviors, psychographics, demographics, habits and routines first, before even thinking about their follower counts. Here’s a framework to go about it:

First, there are cultural factors like the geography, language, culture and environment.

Next, there are social factors  like family, socioeconomic status and social groups. There are also personal factors  like  age, lifestyle and personality. Lastly and most importantly, there are psychological factors  such as  motivation, perception, learning, beliefs and attitudes that all add to the full picture of your influencer personas. Most influencers choose to create and share content about your brand in exchange for something—whether it be for early VIP access, exclusivity, personal brand building, financial compensation or free products.

It is extremely important to understand the motivations behind why each influencer shares their views with their followers to help you align on the right message—one that stays true to your brand and reflects the influencer’s personal voice—at the right time of your campaign.

How to create influencer personas

To understand your customer personas, you have to understand the goal of each marketing campaign intimately. If you’re aiming for the generation of authentic UGC, there are many ways to get there through thoughtful targeting unique to each social channel.

Although obtaining personal information like age, geography, and income may be a breeze through onboarding, it’s the other important things like shopping habits (do they browse in-store or online?) and lifestyle preferences (do they own an Amazon Echo or Google Home?) when building a persona that are harder to get. At Influenster we parse through data on user reviews, ratings, scans, shares, photo uploads, questions asked and answers given to dig into their personas and understand exactly what they are creating content on. We also get members to connect their social media networks to Influenster. This helps us not only understand their social influence but, coupled with social listening to monitor their conversations, it allows us to understand which campaigns they are suited for depending on where their strengths and interests lie.

After collecting the aforementioned info and conducting all your research, a sample influencer persona could look something like this:

Kathy, 36 years old: lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto with her husband and two kids; freelances as a writer; strives for a well-balanced meal and life for herself and her family; uses BPA-free products and supports socially sustainable brands; has a social impact score of 5220; most active on Instagram, Twitter and her health and wellness blog.

With the amount of metadata that we gather on our users, we’re able to not only help brands target their exact personas, but also go a step further to reach users of competitive brands or even engage with current brand loyalists they may be missing.

How to drive action 

Now that you are armed with the information, you need to understand how to get the right message to the right person at the right time. In order to drive an action through segmentation and hyper-targeting, there are two main things to keep in mind: one, which life stage your customer is in and two, what your customer is doing and thinking in real-time (e.g. what are they consuming in their everyday lives? How do they get and digest content? How do they communicate?). Once you take these two factors into account, you can deliver the message that is most relevant to them at the right moment, in the right life stage.

When I talk about life stage, it is not just about being a Baby Boomer shopping for a new computer or a Gen Xer browsing for a new pair of sneakers. It has to be more granular than that. I’m talking about sending sample diapers to expectant moms living in the suburbs—grabbing their attention right before they start considering other brands of diapers. I’m talking about young professionals who are “adulting” (taking on their first jobs straight out of college and living in their own apartment for the first time) and sending them a brand of paper towel to try before they start considering other household brands, and then getting them to share their opinion with their other followers of a similar life stage. Now that’s hyper-targeting of specific personas and meaningful word of mouth marketing.

Machine learning is also critical to predict future behavior in order to shape your customer’s journey or identify the customers who need engagement the most. An example is to use a vendor app to geo-target your audience while they are in stores to activate them in real-time. Customers can be sent push notifications of discounts and offers of the products and brands that they like on third-party apps based on their proximity to the closest store selling your product or service. In-store contests and sweepstakes are also a way to activate your target customers in the right places.

As much as this geo-targeting helps a brand, it’s also useful for a consumer because it’s relevant. When we created the Influenster app, we listened to member feedback and incorporated a mobile barcode scanner to allow shoppers on-the-go to scan a product’s UPC, access reviews, post questions and receive offers from brands they’ve expressed interest in. It is all about reaching your audience at the right time on their path to purchase.

Conclusion

Consumers are bombarded by ads 24 hours a day, seven days a week and so they tend to tune out the noise. It’s time for brands and marketers to not spend unnecessary time and money on messages that don’t resonate with their audience. Learn who your personas are and start making an impact today by tailoring and customizing to their needs.

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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