5 ways to create better buyer personas with social media data (2023)

The great content marketer Ann Handley advocates for making your customer, rather than your company, the hero of your brand story. It can be difficult to create a compelling heroic arc, though, if you don’t understand who your customers are. Getting that part right is as critical to a good brand story as it is to your favorite novel or TV show.

To create an effective marketing, sales or social media strategy, you must first have a clear idea of who is consuming your content and why. In this guide, we’ll show you how to better understand your target audience by creating buyer personas built on social media data.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona (sometimes referred to as a customer persona, target persona, audience persona or marketing persona) is a fictionalized profile of your target customer. This internal document is used by marketing, sales and product teams to ensure their messages and activities are tailored to the people they want to reach. The information recorded for each buyer persona will vary depending on the brand but often include things like the channels they frequent, their motivations, their pain points, as well as demographic information like age, gender and location.

Most brands develop many personas to stand in for the various people who participate in the buying cycle for their particular product or service. The number you need will depend on the complexity of your brand’s offerings as well as the heterogeneity of your audience base.

Why are buyer personas important?

Buyer personas are important to brands and social media marketers because they act as a guide to understanding the voice of their customers. When built on diligent market research, they can be helpful in a variety of circumstances in and beyond marketing, offering critical audience insights. This information can then be used to shape everything from campaign creative to new product development.

Create for one person, not for many.

But what does that look like?

❌It does NOT mean cookie-cutter buyer persona profiling.
✅It DOES mean talking to your best customers, understanding their goals, and creating content on how your product helps build a bridge from A to B.

(Video) How To Create a Buyer Persona

— Michaela Mendes (@mmendeswrites) November 9, 2021

More specifically, buyer personas help teams to:

  • Make quicker, more strategic decisions. With defined buyer personas, marketing teams have a foundational knowledge of who their customers are and what they want. They don’t have to scramble doing a bunch of just-in-time research or making guesses about how a marketing message or activity might be perceived by their target audience.
  • Create better content by delivering messages tailored to specific audiences. By proactively seeking to understand your customers’ pain points, your team will be better positioned to craft nuanced blog articles, investor decks, help center content and other resources that provide specific, relevant value to people at different stages of the customer journey. This stands in stark contrast to brands that forgo this step and write content that is too broad to be helpful to anyone.
  • Accelerate buyers through the sales cycle. When customers feel like you understand their pain points and are delivering relevant solutions, they will progress from knowing to liking to trusting your brand more quickly than if your marketing messages were scattershot or unstrategic.

How to create a buyer persona using data from social media

So, how do you actually create a buyer persona that will make your life easier? Glad you asked. There are five key steps you should take.

1. Evaluate your existing audience

The first step you should take is to get a handle on your existing audience by aggregating social media data across your active social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) With the right tool, you can easily determine the attributes of your most engaged followers. Characteristics like age, interests, professional title or industry can help you better understand how to reach them.

In Sprout, running a Profile Performance Report gives you a snapshot of your brand’s visibility across the major networks to quickly identify patterns in your engaged audience base.

5 ways to create better buyer personas with social media data (1)

As a tenured brand, Starbucks knows enough about their audience to realize they love the release of seasonal concoctions. The moral of the story: keep your ear to the ground to learn what your engaged audience loves and then lean into it. Hard.

A holiday party in a cup. Caramel Brulée Latte has returned. 🎉 (US & CA) pic.twitter.com/96P9ddAIJe

— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) November 10, 2021

(Video) Using Data to Create Buyer Personas (Template Included)

2. Analyze competitors’ audiences

Most marketers understand that it’s critical to have a firm grasp on your competition’s value proposition, strategy and positioning. But fewer recognize the opportunity to mine for this information (and more) via social channels. Social listening is a source of business intelligence that allows brands to harvest voice of customer data without doing the legwork involved in a full market research project.

Wendy’s and McDonald’s are both well-known fast food juggernauts. And their social media game is tight. So, when McDonald’s recently got a lot of social attention via high-profile celebrity partnerships, Wendy’s kept an eye out for a chance to enter the conversation.


— Wendy’s (@Wendys) November 12, 2021

With a tool like Sprout, you can easily analyze the competition’s data to see what tactics are working for them, who they are attracting and how that audience might intersect with your own. Sprout’s Competitive Analysis Topic Template (available in the Advanced Listening plan) allows you to see everything from engagement trends to message sentiment and audience demographics for up to 10 competitors.

(Video) How to Create a Real Estate Buyer Persona | Create Social Media Buyer Personas

5 ways to create better buyer personas with social media data (2)

3. Find customer pain points and goals

A good buyer persona delivers more than mere demographic information. At their best, these tools offer a glimpse into your customers’ psyches to uncover the social, emotional and logical reasons they behave the way they do. Marketers need to understand their customers’ pain points in order to clearly explain how their product or service can alleviate them.

In Sprout, you can search for positive and negative brand or product mentions across social to understand how your customers view your offering, and ultimately, what drives them to buy. @Mentions and hashtags are a good place to start, but Sprout’s Smart Inbox can help you go further to keep an eye on how people are using your branded keywords (e.g., brand and product names) on social.

Pro tip: You can even use this tool to monitor your competitors’ branded keywords to see how their public sentiment compares to your own.

5 ways to create better buyer personas with social media data (3)

For instance, Calm has recently expanded their kid-focused content (#CalmKids) in an effort to grow their audience. This means a good portion of their social content is now targeted toward parents and highlights the benefits of using their app with your children. With posts like this, they can (and should) monitor how people respond to track public sentiment about this new offering.

4. Get insights from customer support

As I’m sure you’re aware, social media has become a primary outlet for customers looking to voice frustration with a product or get a quick response from a brand (especially when other channels have failed). Thus, your customer support teams have a unique perspective to offer because they field questions and complaints constantly. This often overlooked group can provide key insights to help you speak with authority on your customers’ pain points.

Looking for a place to start? With Sprout’s Smart Inbox Views and Automated Rules, customer care teams can create an efficient tagging strategy to organize incoming messages. This sets you up to analyze inbound posts in a way that makes sense for your brand (e.g., by product line, sentiment, question type, etc.).

(Video) 5 Easy Steps of Building a Buyer Persona

5 ways to create better buyer personas with social media data (4)

In the following customer service Tweet, a ClassPass subscriber vents frustration about using trial credits. ClassPass has an opportunity here to mine their social data to see if this is an issue that other users often experience. And if so, create a plan to address it.

How do I know which businesses accept my trial credits? I can’t reserve anything! I feel like this was a bait to get my personal information.

— Ivy (@ivyfeenix) September 28, 2021

5. Build your buyer persona

The last step, unsurprisingly, is to take all the information you’ve gathered and put it together in a buyer persona (or multiple personas). This document can be used by your marketing and sales teams to support their efforts to engage prospects and customers.

An example buyer persona

The following example of a buyer persona does a good job of visually representing windchime’s ideal customer avatar, Jerome Carter, via demographic information, motivations, goals, frustrations and even personality traits. Your buyer persona doesn’t have to be this well designed, though, to be effective. Consistency, in whatever format you choose, is key.

5 ways to create better buyer personas with social media data (5)

Don’t let your buyer personas collect dust

No matter your role or who you market to (B2B or B2C, Millennials or Boomers, etc.), a clear understanding of your audience’s goals and motivations can be a game changer. Once your buyer personas are built, the work really begins. The best marketers continually and intentionally integrate them into strategy conversations and make sure they are updated regularly. Public sentiment is a moving target. It’s important to stay current—building personas with social data helps you do just that.

If you’re looking for a place to start, this worksheet can help you complete a quick 90-minute social media market research exercise with tips for accessing the data you need in a tool like Sprout.


How do you make buyer personas in 5 simple steps? ›

How to Define Your Buyer Personas in 5 Steps
  1. Step 01: Research Your Buyer Personas. ...
  2. Step 02: Segment Your Buyer Personas. ...
  3. Step 03: Create a Name and a Story For Your Buyer Persona. ...
  4. Step 04: Focus on Roles, Goals, and Challenges. ...
  5. Step 05: Use Your Buyer Personas to Craft Tailored Digital Marketing and Sales Strategies.
22 Nov 2022

What are the 7 steps to create persona? ›

Here are 7 steps to creating buyer personas to help build your consumer brand.
  1. Segment your audience. ...
  2. Determine what problems your product solves. ...
  3. Customer characteristics. ...
  4. Triggers and objections. ...
  5. Talk to real customers. ...
  6. Bring your personas to life. ...
  7. Share your personas with your team.
1 Dec 2014

How do you create an effective buyer persona? ›

How to create a buyer persona in 3 steps
  1. Study your current customers and ask the right questions. Knowing your current customer can help you target potential new customers with similar wants and needs in a product or service. ...
  2. Categorize your ideal customers into different segments. ...
  3. Create your buyer personas.

What is a buyer persona answers? ›

A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. This persona is fictional but based on deep research of your existing or desired audience. You might also hear it called a customer persona, audience persona, or marketing persona.

What are the 4 types of persona? ›

Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic, and Methodical are the four types of online purchasing personas. Knowing how each persona thinks and acts could help you exponentially when creating your online strategy. A competitive persona is exactly how it sounds.

What are the 3 types of persona? ›

3 Persona Types: Lightweight, Qualitative, and Statistical.

How do you get the best persona in persona 5? ›

The quickest and most obvious way of acquiring new Personas is by claiming them from vanquished enemies, but you can also create new ones or strengthen existing ones by sacrificing them in the Velvet Room.

What are the 5 types of buyers? ›

Buyers are generally categorized as belonging to one of the following groups although, in reality, most buyers fit into more than one.
  • The Individual Buyer. ...
  • The Strategic Buyer. ...
  • The Synergistic Buyer. ...
  • The Industry Buyer. ...
  • The Financial Buyer.
25 Mar 2022

What is a buyer persona in social media? ›

In other words, a buyer persona is a detailed description of your target customer. A fully created buyer persona includes all details from demographic information to hobbies, interests, desires, and pain points.

How do you gather data for buyer persona? ›

Gather Data

Marketers can craft buyer personas by examining data from various sources. The data can come from market research, survey results, and telephone or face-to-face interviews. The sources can be from current customers, former buyers and prospects that fit your target audience.

What are some factors you would use to develop a buyer persona? ›

Information like age, gender, geography and language can influence the kinds of products you develop, the social networks you leverage and even the languages your website supports. Demography plays a key role in the development of buyer personas and marketing in general.

Why buyer persona is important in social media marketing? ›

Using buyer personas can also help you save time on content creation and stop agonizing about what to post on social media. Naturally, when you have data about your audience's questions, concerns, challenges, and goals at your fingertips, you can write and publish posts more efficiently.

What are 3 traits you think are important for a buyer persona? ›

Among the characteristics that are generally found in personas you will find:
  • Demographic characteristics: age, gender, location, level of education.
  • Social characteristics: occupation, income, interests, family situation.
  • Psychological characteristics: major character traits.

How do I create a buyer persona for Facebook ads? ›

How to create a buyer persona
  1. Do thorough audience research. The buyer persona you create for your company should be based on real-world research and not educated guesswork. ...
  2. Identify your customers' needs and challenges. ...
  3. Identify your customers' goals. ...
  4. Understand how you can help the customer. ...
  5. Build your buyer persona.
21 Jul 2021

Which is the most important part of a buyer persona? ›

Let's take a more detailed look at what characteristics you need to include when creating a buyer persona and how to go about doing so.
Basic Demographics and Behaviors
  • Profession.
  • Language.
  • Gender.
  • Spending power and patterns.
  • Interests.
  • Motivators.
  • Challenges.
  • Stages of life.
25 Feb 2022

Why should you create a buyer persona story? ›

So, one of the immediate benefits of a buyer persona is that it helps you gain customer insights and cross-departmental alignment. This will ensure that marketing, sales, product development and customer support all have the same view of your ideal customer.

What are the 5 persona stats? ›

The social stats in Persona 5 are five different stats (Knowledge, Guts, Proficiency, Kindness, and Charm) that dictate your accessibility and skill in different parts of the game's social features. Increasing them will help open up new Confidants to you and help you accomplish different tasks.

What is buyer persona examples? ›

Most businesses have multiple buyer personas, with each one describing in detail what drives them to buy their product or service. For example, the person's age, location, job title, goals, and challenges they face.

What are the five dimensions of online persona? ›

In the following, we identify and explicate the five dimensions of persona as public, mediatised, performative, collective and having intentional value and, while we acknowledge that these dimensions are not exhaustive or complete, they are certainly primary.

What makes a good persona? ›

Effective personas: Represent a major user group for your website. Express and focus on the major needs and expectations of the most important user groups. Give a clear picture of the user's expectations and how they're likely to use the site.

How many different personas do you have on social media? ›

As per Smart Insights, there are six social media persona types.

Which tool is used to build customer personas? ›

Hubspot's persona generator is a step-by-step wizard that will walk you through the process of creating a useful client, customer, or user persona for your business.

Which Persona 5 is the best? ›

Persona 5 Royal: 10 Best Personas, Ranked
  • 8/10 Shiki-Ouji.
  • 7/10 Alice.
  • 6/10 Black Frost.
  • 5/10 Maria.
  • 4/10 Satan.
  • 3/10 Lucifer.
  • 2/10 Satanael.
  • 1/10 Yoshitsune.
8 Oct 2022

What is the fastest way to raise your stats in Persona 5? ›

Here are some other methods to increase social stats quickly:
  1. Get new books. Per completed semester a new book unlocks at the bookstore in Shibuya. ...
  2. Raise Social Stats on busy days at your part-time jobs. ...
  3. Take the Big Bang Challenge. ...
  4. Slack off in class. ...
  5. Drink juice or watch a movie with friends.
20 Oct 2022

How many Personas can you have in Persona 5? ›

Even with the Fool arcana's ability with it's max Persona allotment of 12, you still won't be able to hold as many Personas as there are Confidants, and it takes a while before you can hold 12 Personas at once.

What are the 5 types of customer value? ›

Types of Customer Value

There are five main customer value types: functional, social, emotional, epistemic, and conditional value.

What are the 6 steps a buyer moves through? ›

Let's look at the six stages of the buying process below:
  • Stage #1: Problem Recognition. ...
  • Stage #2: Information Search. ...
  • Stage #3: Evaluation of Alternatives. ...
  • Stage #4: Purchase Decision. ...
  • Stage #5: Purchase. ...
  • Stage #6: Post-Purchase Evaluation.

Who is a consumer 5 points? ›

The person who pays and purchases a product is called a consumer.

Which are the 5 e s in the customer journey? ›

The 5 Es is a map of the five stages that customers go through – Entice, Enter, Engage, Exit, and Extend.

What are the 4 buyer behavior? ›

What are the 4 types of customer buying behavior? There are four types of consumer behavior: habitual buying behavior, variety-seeking behavior, dissonance-reducing buying behavior, complex buying behavior.

What is Step 5 in flow of the marketing plan? ›

Step 5: Build Your Activity Plan

Now that you've created your marketing goals and have a budget, you are ready to develop your activity plan. The most effective way to approach turning your marketing strategy into an execution plan is by using a campaign structure.

What are the 5 main factors that influence purchasing decisions? ›

Typically, there are five core factors that influence the decision to buy which are:
  • Psychological Factors.
  • Social Factors.
  • Cultural Factors.
  • Economic Factors.
  • Personal Factors.
1 Dec 2022

What are the 5 factors that affect the buying and selling process? ›

These factors are namely Psychological, Social, Cultural, Personal, and Economic factors.
  • Psychological Factors. ...
  • Social Factors. ...
  • Cultural factors. ...
  • Personal Factors. ...
  • Economic Factors.
9 Apr 2021

How do personas factor into social media strategy? ›

Social media personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. Taking into account factors such as demographics, desires and pain points, personas paint a picture of the individuals you're trying to sell to. In other words, a profile of your perfect customer.

What is the first step of building your buyer persona? ›

Step 1: Define your ideal customer

To build your buyer personas, you'll want to identify three to five segments of your audience. Focus on the types of customers you'd like to attract in the future—those ideal, right-fit customers. Next, think about who your company interacts with throughout the sales process.

What is the first step when creating a customer persona? ›

The first thing you should take care of when creating a Persona is gathering information about your customers. It's fine to start with hypotheses if you validate them afterward. But in general, without research, goals, tasks, needs, and pains of your Persona will be about your imaginary customers, not real ones.

What is a buyer persona in simple words? ›

What is Buyer Persona? A buyer persona is a fictionalized characterization of your best customer(s) based on information about them and how they use your product or service. These descriptions mirror your various market segments, with names to match the type of buyer.

What are the key components of a buyer persona? ›

Key Components of a Great Buyer Persona
  • Demographics. The key ingredients here are geographic location, age, gender, income and (possibly) ethnicity. ...
  • Lifestyle (or Workstyle) For B2Bs: What kind of company do they work for? ...
  • Personality Profile. ...
  • Goals. ...
  • Pain Points. ...
  • Information Sources. ...
  • Objections. ...
  • Identity.
29 Dec 2019

What are the three steps to developing a buyer's persona? ›

A buyer persona is a detailed description of representative individuals for each of your target audiences.
Create And Use Buyer Personas In 3 Steps
  1. Step 1: Research your target audience. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify pain points and commonalities. ...
  3. Step 3: Write your buyer personas.
14 Mar 2022

What are the types of buyer personas? ›

Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic, and Methodical are the four types of online purchasing personas. Knowing how each persona thinks and acts could help you exponentially when creating your online strategy. A competitive persona is exactly how it sounds. They are looking for your competitive advantages.

What are the six steps in the buyer readiness stage model? ›

the state of preparedness or willingness in which an individual consumer may be in regard to the purchase of a particular product; the stages are commonly listed as awareness; knowledge; liking; preference; conviction and purchase.

Why should you create a buyer persona? ›

Buyer personas allow you to better understand the needs and wants of your customers. This allows to do a more efficient job of appealing to those specific desires. As you know, lead generation requires the tailoring of your marketing efforts toward the right people; buyer personas are a crucial tool in this.


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