Birds of a feather - Using Twitter to build and target personas

6 minutes read
Adam - 10.01.2016

If you want to achieve any marketing aim then biddable is a great way to boost our activity however, biddable is difficult to get right. If you want to get some solid advice on how to do it right, then read our blog on “Biddable media can accelerate any inbound marketing campaign”

We have all been in a social media strategy meeting when someone announces something like:

“We want to target Hipsters aged 18-48 to achieve synergy within the Digi space”

No doubt your reaction has been:


Often (and understandably) people will try to market to what they believe their target audience looks like and market in a way that they would want to be marketed to. Unfortunately, that's not always aligned with the reality. By approaching marketing like this you fail to understand your customer’s needs and often pidgeonhole them in to stereotypes.

"Hipsters", "Gym Monkey", "Soccer Moms" (SIC) are all examples of stereotypes which from a digital marketing perspective, are effectively useless. All “soccer mom” tells you is that this is a mother, not how many kids she has, what interests her, what needs she has or how she feels towards her children's activities.

“Gym Monkeys” may go to the gym but what do they do there? They may do Yoga or spin classes and not just lift weights and “bash protein!”.

As for the “Hipster”, can anybody actually describe what a hipster is in less than 10 words (not including the four letter variety...)?

As an industry, we need to start moving away from stereotypes. We need to start creating accurate personas with real consumer insight. It makes the whole process from marketing to sales easier for you and more useful and relevant for your prospective customer.

The good news is that with the ever evolving social channels you have a window to your consumers that Don Draper would have traded in a lifetimes worth of Canadian Club for.

How do we do it? Twitter.

So why Twitter?

Famous for forcing users to be succinct in their messaging (although this may soon be changing). Twitter encourages its user base to convey narrative, feelings, sentiment and even context in a small (140 character) message.

As a marketer, this allows you to pick key information from the messages without the need for reasonable qualitative analysis. As a highly engaging platform, Twitter allows you to build a wider picture of your consumer’s feelings and interests in real-time.

Twitter social media marketin advertising

Finally, Twitter has an incredible amount of behavioural data selections available, so when it comes to bringing the process together you get an accurate outline of what is available in your market space.

Perfecting your personas

You always need to put your consumer at the heart of everything you do. To try and understand our consumers we use a simple exercise taking information from Twitter and other channels.

First start with this paragraph:
My Ideal consumer does [blank] because they [blank]. This person normally feels [blank] and would [blank] had they [blank].

Now move to:
My product does [blank] for my consumers and if they had it the issue above would [blank].

This paragraph should be an honest representation of how you view your consumers and what you can offer to them. It really does need to be honest otherwise the next part wont work.

Once you have this it's time to get on Twitter, start with what you believe your ideal consumer to be and what they would interact with (books, magazines, tv shows). Now look at the followers they have, who they follow, what they tweet etc. From the info begin to study what’s important to them. Is it Honesty? Family? Money?  What do they like? What do they complain about? Start building up an impartial picture of who they are and how they interact organically with product.

Once you have this, revisit your original statement and I guarantee it will have changed. So you should now have a profile of who "Your" ideal consumer is and another that is an organic representation of your consumer. Begin to match the two up. Look at what’s true and what’s not and build out a list of qualities, interests and behaviours.

Now comes the fun part.

Sizing your personas

Once you have your consumer representations you need to start matching the information with the data available on Twitter.

Open up your Twitter ad campaigns and create a new dummy campaign. Look at the information you have and start to see how it matches up.

As a live example, we did this exercise for one of our insurance clients. Their core product is employment cover. Their desired niche; women who are the decision makers within their family unit.

Our research showed the predominant audience was as follows:
Women who believed in family and honesty, loved convenient service as it reduced stress. They loved browsing lifestyle magazines but were also concerned that their lifestyle was not secure. They normally had young children and were predominantly in their mid twenties to late 30's with income range of 25,000-55,000. Coincidentally, they also loved pictures of Puppies and Kittens, like everyone.

From here we looked at the targeting and began to narrow our audience. We looked at income level, lifestyle influencers, family compositions, age range etc. All of this showed us that we had a target audience of 357,000 highly relevant consumers. This meant that when it came to CVR and CTR we were seeing double digit figures across the board.

This process can be replicated across multiple channels - Facebook being a great example. It gives you the insight you need to tailor targeting, creative and copy for effective interactions.

The above example was created following the same process outlined above and within minimal work gives you a huge deal of insight into how your consumers actually interact just look at how Pinterest grew from 3,000 to 75 Million users.

All seems a bit feathery to me (.....sorry)

You need to look at this exercise as a necessity, not a nicety.

Demographic classifications (e.g. ABC1) and scatter gun marketing are not dogma anymore. Their influence and usefulness is rapidly fading. Marketers have to start looking at their consumers from a holistic perspective, crafting content and targeting based on consumer’s personalities and needs.

This benefits you with higher conversions, better brand awareness and less wastage and it benefits the consumer too, no cold-calls, no digital spam.

Connecting with consumers is key to marketing and the now the social media marketing tools exist to make the task far easier.

If you want to achieve any marketing aim then biddable is a great way to boost our activity however, biddable is difficult to get right. If you want to get some solid advice on how to do it right, then read our blog on “Biddable media can accelerate any inbound marketing campaign”

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