If you’ve ever been a part of the world of business, chances are you’ve heard of buyer personas or a target market. But have you ever heard of creating a buyer persona specifically for your followers on social media? 

It turns out you don’t need to sell a product or service to find buyer personas useful. 

A buyer persona is a detailed description of a customer (or in this case, follower) who represents your target audience. This is not a real customer but a fake character that personifies the qualities of your ideal customer. You give them a name, demographics, interests, etc. Through that process you attempt to understand your target audience better. 

I spent this past week researching and creating two buyer personas; one  for my Instagram account and one for my Youtube channel. This is part of my month-long social media marketing strategy project for Making It Up. Part of building a social media strategy is knowing who you’re talking to and the kind of content they want to consume. And building a buyer persona is the best way to get that information.

In this blog post, I’m gonna guide you through three easy steps to build a buyer persona for your social media followers. Because whether you’re on social media to sell your product/ service or you just sell your content, we can all benefit from knowing who we’re talking to.

Step 1: Research 

In order to know what your ideal follower looks like and what they want, you have to dive deep and research. 

If you already have established social media platforms, your research will look a lot like diving into your analytics. Look for things like where your followers are located, their genders, their age range, and the type of content they engage with the most. 

Making It Up’s Instagram Analytics

Most social media platforms have comprehensive analytics that clearly outline who your audience is and where they come from. And, chances are, if you’ve been on social media for a while you already have a semi-clear idea of what your followers look like. So read your analytics for the basics, but research beyond that to learn about your followers’ behaviors. 

Check out the comments and likes they leave. Stalk them a little and learn about the kinds of accounts they follow and look at what they share in their stories. By doing this you’ll get the human aspect of your buyer persona. 

If you have yet to launch your social media and want to have your buyer persona ready to go before you launch, you can still do some research! 

Instead of looking at your non-existent analytics, research your competitors’ followers to figure out who you want your target audience to be. Look at all of their social media platforms and pay attention to likes, comments, content with high engagement, questions the followers ask, etc. 

Combine that research with the character traits you think your ideal customer would have and you’re on your way to building your buyer persona! 

Step 2: Understand What Your Followers Want from You

Why do your followers follow you? What do you give them that’s better than what other content creators give them? How do you add value to your followers? 

If you don’t know what your followers want from you, it’s gonna be hard to create content they’ll enjoy. And guessing without researching is not the way to go. Especially when you’re building your ideal follower. 

When I first started my Youtube channel just for fun, I was not thinking about my target audience at all. I was just sharing the type of content I liked to watch. But when I decided to get more serious about my channel I never switched my mindset. I only uploaded things I thought would be interesting without thinking about what my subscribers wanted to see. 

My channel was growing slowly and I had no idea why. And it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I wasn’t listening to my subscribers. I wasn’t adding value with my content and nobody wanted to follow me because their needs weren’t being met.

Needless to say, after my epiphany I started creating content that I loved and that my followers found valuable. As a result of that, I started growing at a faster rate. 

To build a successful buyer persona you have to understand why your followers follow you. But it goes beyond that. If you want to grow, you have to understand your followers and why they chose your content over someone else’s. 

The best way to go about this is to make a comprehensive list of the unique things you bring to your followers and how you help them solve their problems.

If you’re not entirely sure what you bring to the table, ask yourself:

  • What are my followers’ biggest problems? 
  • How can I help them solve their problems through my content?
  • What kind of content does my audience engage with most? Why is that? 

Your list is meant to be very personal so don’t worry about making it make sense to others. You don’t have to follow a set of rules either. Just write what feels right. To give you an example, this is what my list looks like:

  • Realistic makeup tutorials for the everyday human
  • Affordable & high-end short product reviews
  • I teach my followers how to do their makeup 
  • As a small creator I’m more relatable and closer to my followers 
  • I teach my followers about beauty products 

The more things you add to your list, the better equipped you’ll be to build your persona and reach your followers effectively. 

Step 3: Build Your Buyer Persona 

Once you have an outline of your persona’s demographic and needs, it’s time to put it together and build your buyer persona. 

There are many ways you can go about this and many templates you can follow. You can create a general buyer persona or create a specific persona with a face and everything. 

To build your persona, all you need to do is grab your extensive research and your list of unique reasons why your followers follow you and put it together. 

This could be in a Google doc, an excel spreadsheet, a beautifully designed graph, anything. Get creative with it! And if you’re ever feeling stuck, there are endless templates and examples online you can resort to. 

Some things to include in your buyer persona are: 

  • Demographics
  • Pain points
  • Needs
  • Preferred social networks
  • Budget
  • Unique characteristics
  • A picture or drawing of your persona
  • Anything else that’s helpful to your specific social media platform like their favorite kind of content to consume or what they share on their social media

If you need some immediate inspiration, this is how I did mine. I added a name and a face to each of my personas and narrated their traits as if I was telling a story. I decided to go super specific with my personas because it helps me understand and feel connected to my followers. But feel free to find what works best for you. 

Your buyer personas will evolve over time, especially if your content changes or you want to incorporate something different. So make sure you revisit your personas every once in a while to see if they’re still relevant and make new ones if needed. 

Buyer personas might not be a huge thing in the world of social media if you’re not a marketer. But knowing who you’re talking to and how to talk to them to get them to engage with your content is important for any creator. Especially if your goal is to grow your social media channels.

Curious about my social media marketing project? Click here to read about my entire journey!

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