Pubcon Liveblog: Utilizing Personas in Social Media Contests

Direct from Collegis Education, online community specialist Kendall Bird and inbound marketing specialist Katy Katz are going to dive into personas – why they matter, how to leverage them in social media contests and more.

Kendall Bird and Katy Katz at Pubcon Las Vegas 2014
Kendall Bird and Katy Katz at Pubcon Las Vegas 2014

Knowing your personas at a really detailed level is important. Personas should play into all your social media efforts, Bird and Katz explain.

What Is a Persona?

“A buyer persona is a semi-functional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” –Hubspot

Persona research is taking data and turning it into a person. That person is your persona and you think about him or her whenever you’re creating your content.

Create a Persona

  • Conduct target market research:
    • Surveys
    • Creating gated content
    • Analyzing social behavior
    • Utilizing an external partner (like Simmons Data)
  • Divide results into persona buckets
  • Create a story for each aspect that you identify
  • Edit, edit, edit
  • Make the personas personal and detailed
  • Name
  • Job title and where they work
  • Details about their role
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary
  • Location
  • Education
  • Family
  • Values and fears

What a Persona Should Include

Be best friends with your persona – you’re targeting them constantly. You want to build a relationship. Have images of them.

Social media is where your customers are. It’s where you, then, conduct customer service! 71% of customers ended a business relationship because of poor customer service (according to Forbes), and only 23% of customers think that a company values their business (according to CBS News). Responsive social media is a key differentiator.

Personas and Social Media Contests

What do personas have to do with social media contests? If you don’t understand your personas, your social media contest is likely to fail. One of the most common reasons why business fail to gain ROI from their social media marketing efforts is their failure to fashion their content to target specific personas (according to SquareFish).

Social Media Contest Fails

  • Audi: They did a social media contest targeting and featuring hipsters. Rather than using a photo of a car, they used a photo of a hipster and came under fire. They weren’t adhering to what their personas wanted to see. Their actual persona should be 30 to 40-year-old businessman – that’s the demographic that buys their cars.
  • Molson Canadian: This beer purveyor held a contest asking fans to promote Molson Canadian. They invited college students to share pictures and show why their school is the number one party school and feature the drink. It really didn’t work. In fact, it was a PR nightmare for the colleges. They should have been targeting their actual personas – beer-drinking fisherman, downhome people.

Persona-Driven Social Media Content Successes

User-generated content is trusted 50% than traditional media. (Crowdtap). UGC is an excellent way to collect creative material for marketing purposes or to get photos of your products on the social web to drive sales and brand engagement (Mashable). When you understand you persona … it gets your audience is excited. You’re speaking to them.

  • Eggo Waffles: Kellogg’s held a contest, people were invited to share pictures of their Eggo creations/recipes. This spoke to the 30-something moms that Katz and Bird envision are the persona that Kellogg’s was targeting. The contest was wildly successful, and it is because Kellogg’s understood their personas.
  • Brush Buddies: Brush buddies is a singing tooth brush. The brand held a karaoke contest where users posted videos of themselves singing with toothbrush, and users voted. There were only 30 contestants, and it drove 23,000,000 impressions and garnered 65,300 votes. Again, Brush Buddies understood their audience: teenage girls who love to post videos of themselves and sing.

5 Things You Need to Know About Personas

  1. They should be a person, not a segment.
  2. Know their input and their outputs.
  3. Understand their story.
  4. Be personal to what they care about.
  5. All content should be directed at a persona.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (2)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent Social Media Marketing posts is better than the last!

2 Replies to “Pubcon Liveblog: Utilizing Personas in Social Media Contests”

Hi Kristi,

This is a great article and highlights some really important points.

Many businesses STILL don’t value social media as a legitimate way to build their businesses. It’s still staggering as to how many don’t even have social profiles.

If you don’t have a social media presence you are missing a huge amount of business, but also, the opportunity to further build/strengthen your brand and the relationship with the customer. In addition, you highlight the persona. Again, a huge point. If we do not get a picture of who our customers are its simply impossible to market to them, or speak to them in a way they will understand. Really, this most basic research needs to be done before anything else.

Really great examples too of fails and wins! Enjoyed this, and will share with my networks.


Thanks Andrew :) Glad you found it useful!


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