Buyer personas are the backbone of a strong marketing campaign. They help inform the channels you use, the key messaging for each audience segment and the buyer’s journey that you develop. So, it’s important to ensure that they are robust and constantly evolving.
If you’ve already developed your buyer personas, there’s a good chance you plugged them into your CRM, segmented your audience, used them to dictate a few campaigns and haven’t looked at them since. While you’re off to a great start with your list segmentation, there’s a lot more you should be doing with your personas, including building them out with more data over time.
If you’re scratching your head wondering how to build them or plug them into your CRM, this tool from HubSpot can help. If you’re set with initial buyer personas that could use some refining, keep reading along.
Using LinkedIn to Enhance Your Buyer Personas
One often overlooked tool for rounding out B2B buyer personas is LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives a direct line of sight into your target audience, including their background, interests, skills and more. And all this information is available on the platform for free.
But how do you sift through the data to find actionable insights for your buyer personas? Here are some keys ways to get started.
Finding Additional Demographic Information
Demographic information can be found by analyzing your buyer persona’s profiles on LinkedIn. Start by searching for profiles that match the job title and industry of your buyer persona. In the search results, look for accounts that line up with your targets.
Once you’ve identified 10-15 accounts, look at their profile information. Jot down key data such as their years of experience, career trajectory, where they went to school and their degree. Once you’ve compiled this information, note any trends you find and add them to your buyer persona. For example, you may find that 12 of 15 of the profiles you review all have the same advanced degree or worked in the same role prior to their current position. Put these into your buyer personas.
Keep in mind, if you look at another person’s profile, they will get a notification. If you’d like to research your buyer personas without giving away your account information, you must set your profile to private. To do this, click on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner of your navigation and click on “Settings & Privacy.” Once you’re in your privacy settings, scroll down to “how others see your LinkedIn activity” and click on your profile viewing options. Change your settings to anonymous LinkedIn member.
Once you’re done working on your buyer personas, don’t forget to change your privacy settings back to full profile – if you’re set to private you won’t have access to analytics on who’s viewing your profile.
Determining Their Needs and Responsibilities
There are a few sections on LinkedIn you can utilize to determine your target’s needs and responsibilities.
By looking at your buyer persona’s experience section, you can learn a lot about their responsibilities at work. Look for trends in the items listed in their job summaries, including the key tasks they accomplish, wins and successes highlighted and any information regarding challenges they’ve overcome in their role.
Looking at a person’s recommendations can provide a lot of juicy information as well. By learning how they’ve impressed their team members, bosses and customers, you can identify key insights into how they go above and beyond to get the job done.
By adding these nuggets of information into your buyer persona, you’re armed with potential ways to provide a value-add from your products by meeting the needs they have to excel in their field.
Content They’re Posting and Engaging With
Looking at the content your ideal customer is creating and engaging with can also help enhance your buyer personas. Look for clues into their needs and responsibilities by looking at the themes of their posts. If they’re looking for recommendations about software, tools or online courses, take note.
In addition, review the types of posts they’re engaging with. Look for commonalities between post topics, especially if they’re industry-specific, as they can provide information on the needs that they have within their role. You can find this information on their profile by going to their activity section and clicking “see all.”
This will take you to a new page where you can look at their activity across the platform. To see the content they’re engaging with, review the “all activity” tab. Here you can view any content they’ve posted, liked, commented on or shared.
A person’s summary can also provide a look into their needs. For each the profiles you review, take a moment to read their profile summary. Pay attention to the accomplishments listed, responsibilities mentioned and any key identifying information that they share. As you review each summary, looks for patterns in the content and add any relevant findings to your persona documents.
Identifying Watering Holes
LinkedIn can also be a helpful space to identify your buyer persona’s water holes. To do this, look at the following profile sections:
Licenses and Certifications. Within licenses and certifications, you can look for trends in certifying bodies for the licenses and certifications that your buyer personas have. This can help you identify where they get information and the organizations they frequent for educational materials.
Accomplishments. In the accomplishments section, there is space for LinkedIn users to include organizations they belong to. Look for trends in the organizations they are associated with and add them to your personas.
Interests. The interests section shows you all the influencers, companies, groups and schools that a user follows. By looking through the companies, you can identify the news outlets or businesses that your buyer personas follow. In addition, the groups and schools may shed light on their overarching interests.
Speak Their Language
Not only does reviewing a person’s LinkedIn profile showcase their demographics, needs, responsibilities and watering holes, but it can also provide guidance on how to speak their language.
As you’re digging through profiles and user-generated content, pay attention to the language and phrases they use. Pull out key abbreviations, terms and product or service names that they use. Then, when you create content or begin outreach to members of this buyer persona, utilize that language. This helps provide your leads with reassurance that you understand their industry and are equipped to help them with their needs.
Constantly Optimize your Buyer Personas
Over time, continue to go back and revisit your buyer personas and their LinkedIn presence. Note any changes to their role, new needs that have arisen and key challenges they’ve overcome. If you’re struggling to maintain up-to-date buyer personas, I know a team that can help.