How to Use Facebook to Create Powerful Customer Personas

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Advertising, Social
How to Use Facebook to Create Powerful Customer Personas

As an advertiser, the more you know about your customer personas, the better the content you can create. Rich customer data also helps determine how to distribute this content effectively, which leads to more successful marketing campaigns.

But gathering this customer insight can be expensive and time-consuming. You have to run extensive surveys, conduct one-on-one interviews, and collect regular feedback. In an ideal world, you would have the resources to do all of the above. But in reality, you often have to charge in blind, armed with just your intuition and fragmented conversations with clients.

Fortunately, there is a little-known solution called Facebook Audience Insights. Apart from helping you run better Facebook ad campaigns, Audience Insights is also a fantastic tool to gather customer insight. By combining raw intuition with Facebook’s hard numbers, you can create detailed customer personas.

The result? Content that your target customers love. Plus, higher conversion rates. Read on to learn how to use Facebook to develop your customer personas today.

What is a Customer Persona?

A customer persona is a biographical sketch of a single representative customer, or your “ideal customer.” While this persona has some hard demographic data (age, location, gender, etc.), it is mostly a subjective summary of the customer’s likes, dislikes, problems, and desired solutions.

Here’s a sample customer persona from HubSpot:

hubspot marketing mary

There is no limit to how many customer personas you can have. A large business like Amazon might have hundreds, even thousands of customer personas, while a bootstrapped SaaS product might just need a couple.

Customer Personas Use Cases

Well-defined customer personas can guide your content efforts from planning to distribution:

  • What kind of problems to address in your content
  • How to write, style, and present your content
  • Where to distribute your content for maximum impact
  • How to prioritize content creation

Suppose, you have two target personas:

customer personas

Persona A represents a key decision maker, someone in an executive-level position. To target this persona through content, you can use their preferred format, style, and media:

  • Create shorter content that’s easier to consume
  • Distribute mostly through popular enterprise blogs and LinkedIn
  • Emphasize high-level wins
  • Use a writing style that’s aligned with the demographics.

Persona B, on the other hand, represents an entry-level employee. They don’t make critical decisions yet, but can tell decision makers about your product.

To attract this persona, you can adjust your content accordingly:

  • Create more in-depth or beginner-level content
  • Distribute via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular mainstream blogs
  • Use a more casual writing style aligned with the demographics.

As you can see, a content marketer would likely create two very different content marketing campaigns for these personas. Detailed customer personas will make content creation easier and help you attract targeted traffic.

So, how do you create customer personas? This is where Facebook Audience Insights helps.

How to Create Customer Personas with Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights offers a fast and free alternative to extensive surveys and expensive focus groups.

Let’s look at how you can use this nifty tool to create customer personas.

Start by Researching a Competitor

The first step is to find and research a popular competitor. This will give you the initial data you need to zoom in further on individual personas. Ideally, this competitor should be popular, yet niche. If you’re selling software, don’t research Adobe; your data will be too broad. Instead, look up 37Signals or FogCreek.

Go to Audience Insights and plug this competitor into the “Interests.” In this example, I used Copyblogger to research content marketing customer personas.

copyblogger custom audience research

You can already see that this first step already yields some interesting insights: most of Copyblogger’s audience are older than 25 and, for the most part, women.

Find High-Affinity Related Pages

Once you have your seed data, you need to find related pages that have a high affinity with your existing audience. To do this, go to “Page Likes” and sort the pages by affinity. Make a list of at least five or six pages.

facebook page likes

Research All Related Pages for Demographic Data

Next, add all the pages you found above to your list of interests. This will help you expand the audience and gather demographic data. For best results, keep your total audience size under 50k monthly active people. For smaller niches, I stick to 10k people and under. For example, adding “Duct Tape Marketing,” “Derek Halpern,” and “Jeff Bullas” to the interests list shows me this:

facebook audience interests

While this won’t give you specific customer personas, it will help paint a general picture of your target audience.

In the above case, it’s clear that most of my target audience is in the 25-54 age group. A look at “Lifestyle” shows that a lot of these are also “Top Professionals.”

facebook audience lifestyle

The Education and Job Title section shows that my selected audience are mostly college-educated and work in media, management, or sales roles.

facebook audience education and job title

Based on this, I gather a few things:

  • My target customers are mostly professionals working in media, management, and sales
  • Most of them are at least in their late twenties and went to college

Once you dive further, you can start creating your customer personas.

Drill Down by Age and Education Level

Your next step is to drill down further and create specific customer personas from the general data you gathered above.

Here’s how:

  • Divide audience into distinct age groups
  • Segment this audience further based on their education.

In the above example, the age and gender data shows that most of my audience falls into three age groups:

facebook age gender

I focus on age since it usually correlates with career advancement (older people tend to be in positions of higher authority). In most cases, the above three age groups would form three separate customer personas. Research each of these age groups separately.

For example, focusing only on 25-34-year olds shows me that 54% of this audience is female.

facebook audience personas

To get an even better picture of your audience, drill down based on education level. For example, looking only at college-educated 25-34-year-olds, you can see that an overwhelming majority is in management or media roles:

facebook audience job title

Look at each segment’s page likes to find:

  • Where this audience hangs out
  • Where to distribute content (including guest post spots)
  • Identify influencers
  • Narrow down on niche interests (social media marketing -> Facebook marketing)
  • Tools and products they use and like

For example, here are the page likes for college-educated 25-34-year-olds:

audience influencers and guest posts

In contrast, 25-34-year-olds with a graduate degree are equally represented in management, sales, and media roles. They also tend to be female. Based on this data, you might have two customer personas:

  1. Persona A: 25-34-year-old male with an undergraduate degree working in a managerial position in marketing. Hangs out on social media and career-focused websites.
  2. Persona B: 25-34-year-old female with a graduate degree working in a sales or media position. Follows SaaS businesses in the MarTech space, reads established marketing and business bloggers.

Do this for all the different age groups until you have a handful of customer personas.

Test Your Customer Personas

To test your hypotheses and create more accurate personas, follow this three-step process:

  • Create a custom audience based on a single customer persona
  • Create a blog post that would appeal to this customer persona
  • Promote the blog post via Facebook ads and measure results

If there is an alignment between your content and customer personas, you should see a healthy engagement rate. If not, try narrowing or expanding your target audience.

See this guide if you want a primer on running Facebook ad campaigns.

Create Your Final Persona

Once you have all this data, it’s time to create your final customer personas.

Here’s how:

  • Give each customer persona a name and age (“Tony Stark, 42”)
  • Add a picture representing the persona. Use stock images or find something on MorgueFile.
  • Give the persona a fictional position (“CEO at Stark Industries”).
  • Summarize each data point in a single sentence.

You can use PowerPoint or the MakeMyPersona tool from HubSpot.

Conclusion

Facebook Audience Insights can be used for a lot more than running Facebook ads. The insight you gather from it can also help you create customer personas for your content marketing campaigns. By researching your closest competitors’ audience, you can learn about their demographics, their favorite products, what industries they work in, and what influencers they follow.

It’s not more accurate than running an expensive customer survey campaign, but it’s a lot better than going in blind. Plus, it will neither cost you money or take up too much of your time.

Puranjay Singh

Puranjay runs GrowthPub.com, a content-focused growth agency. He also blogs about marketing automation and growth hacking at GrowthSimple.com.