question mark A few years ago, while working at a management consulting firm, I was using some focus group findings to craft two prospective marketing personas for a new product launch. One of these personas was a "social media user," and the other was not. It was one bullet point. A yes or no question. Man, it was simple back then!

Nowadays everyone uses social media , and in order for inbound marketers to make the most out of that fact, perceived social behaviors need to be included in whatever customer personas are driving your strategy. You could admittedly fill an entire binder with specifics around who does what on which social media platform, but here are five questions to get you started thinking about "where" your customers are most socially active online, and how you should act/share in return.

1. What platforms do they use, and why?

An example answer to this question might be, "This customer uses Twitter to follow industry leaders." While an admittedly basic observation, consider how impactful this could be when crafting your brand's voice on Twitter and setting criteria for the types of information and links you share there.  

2. When do they log into these platforms?

Think about the time of day when your customers and prospects are using social media platforms . Lots of people keep Twitter and Facebook open all day. Others spend their lunchtime poking around and then tune it out until they get home. How can you use these usage patterns to inform when and what you post? If you can zero-in on a time of day when most of your audience is online, you can use this information to maximize the potential for each post.

3. Are they active participants or flies on the wall?

Do they dispute answers on Quora? Are they "commenting" multiple times below wall posts on Facebook? Or do they just watch others? If the former(s) are true, than you need to make sure your marketing team has time allocated for responding to the conversations you start. If it's just the latter, then spend the lion's share of your time developing content that pops.

4. What is the nature of their connections on each platform?

Who do your customers/prospects follow on Twitter, and why? Who are they connected to on LinkedIn, and what is the nature of those connections? They're no doubt hooked up with friends and family, but what types of brands and businesses do they follow on Facebook? Hashing out answers out these questions can help you build a blueprint for what is already working with this crowd and allow you to piggyback on the habits of brands that are having success.

5. What is example of an interaction your customer/prospect might have?

Get an example of something your customer or prospect would retweet. What would spark their interest enough to motivate them to post it to their own Facebook wall? To share content is to be moved by content. Answering this question will give you an idea of what type of content moves your prospects to act the most.

What social media behavior do you try to understand about your customer? More importantly, how do you use it strategically to get more out of your inbound marketing campaigns?

HubSpot's inbound marketing experts will be diving deep into the topic of marketing personas at HUGS and the Inbound Marketing Summit . Sign up now to learn more!

Photo Credit: Stefan Baudy


Originally published Aug 24, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013

Topics:

Social Media