A funny thing happened to me last week on holiday in France…. I discovered I can’t speak French. It was a bit of a shock, because not only did I pass my French GCSE with flying colours, I continued studying French for two years afterwards, and lived in French-speaking Montreal for three years after that….
Samantha Bass is a 34-year-old mother of two who has a family history of cancer. As a result, she is obsessive about her own children’s health, making frequent doctor’s appointments, eating well and insisting on family exercise.
Until recently, she had health insurance through her parents, but now they’ve decided it’s too expensive, and she’ll have to take out her own cover.
The catch: Samantha isn’t a real person. She is a ‘buyer persona’ – a fictional representation of an ideal client created for a company selling health insurance.
The company knows a lot about her: what she looks like (she has a profile that includes a picture), what her background is, what she thinks about her family’s health issues, her internet habits and what factors might influence her decision to buy health insurance. Other personas might even have a video profile.
The key to social media success, we are told again and again, is to “Know your audience”. And like many clichés, it’s true.
Understanding who you are targeting allows you to create exactly the kind of content that appeals to your potential clients, building up a relationship between you, so that when they are ready to buy – you are their obvious option.
Surface knowledge about demographics is nowhere near enough. To effectively appeal to them, you really need to understand their priorities, needs, worries.
Again and again, though, we have found that businesses assume they intuitively understand their potential clients – and then, when they sit in on focus groups, or read the market research, are shocked to discover that many of their basic assumptions were wrong. They may have been out-of-date, based on guesswork, or perhaps they just knew less about them than they thought.
What if I told you that there was one change you could make to your social media that would totally and completely revolutionise it – for the better?
And moreover – this change doesn’t involve learning a new skill, mastering a new platform or any financial investment. It just involves a paradigm shift, a new way of looking at things.
Well, the good news is that there is! To really achieve social media success, you must internalise this message:
Your customers are just not that into you.
Not that they don’t like your products or services, or that they are not avid users; they may even be enormously loyal. Nor that they don’t prefer you over the competition.
But simply that, however crazy they are about you, there’s someone they’re even crazier about, and that’s themselves.