Building B2B buyer personas with social listening
by Nancy Dexter-Milling on November 14, 2023
A new use: Social Listening for B2B personas
Building B2B personas can be difficult, especially when identifying your buyer. However, it can be done using social listening. A detailed buyer persona is required to build the best marketing messaging and ensure advertising dollars are spent efficiently. If you don’t build around personas, marketing becomes very general, and no one buyer connects to the messaging. When creating personas, it’s essential to be specific in your choices but also know that these specific choices were made on generalizations. As in, not everyone fits in the bubble you create.
Now, often in marketing courses and tutorials, personas are built for B2C companies or those companies that sell directly to consumers. That is great. It gives the basics and makes it accessible. However, the market cap for B2B is predicted to be 5x B2C market cap by 2028. Marketers need to be able to transfer their skills from B2C methods to B2B markets.
Now, for all things, B2B, LinkedIn is considered the gold standard for customer and ICP engagement. However, this is highly ICP-dependent. We will show you how three different ICPs behave on social media and the insights social listening can bring to show how to create better engagement, better campaigns, and better outreach to prospects in an otherwise busy marketing environment.
What is an ICP?
An ICP is your ideal customer profile. For this step, we recommend reviewing your current customers and what your best product-market fit looks like.
Here, we’ll show our approach and how to build your own personas with the massive amount of information available publicly on the web. LinkedIn is walled, and so it’s not a great resource. Data available on other platforms is enough to build a quality buyer persona.
Start with the basics
We chose three different buyer personas to build out based on a particular job title. These job titles are Marketer, Lawyer, and Software Engineer. A quality social listening tool will provide what’s called Source Bio data. This data is what people on social media put in their platform bio profiles. Each of these personas had one of those keywords in their source bio, and from there, we can build complete profiles of what these groups look like when fleshed out into actual people.
We start with the basics. What is the gender and age makeup of these groups? To get this data, a survey of more expensive means would need to be used, but with social listening, all of this data is right there.
For gender makeup, we learn that Software Engineers are predominantly Men. Lawyers and marketers were dominated by men from a 55-45 split and 58-42, respectively. For age distributions, we see that for software engineers and marketers, engagement is most common for ages 25-34, which correlates to those building their careers. Lawyers are evenly distributed from age 25-65+.
How does this inform building your buyer personas?
For Marketers, content shouldn’t be particularly bent towards a specific gender; images and content should be used at about the same rate. Software engineers seem to be more male, which means that more content should show men. This isn’t saying no women should be shown, but it does mean a much more significant percentage should show men. For our age distributions, they inform what time-related references we can make in our content. For software engineers and marketers, millennial and Gen Z references are acceptable, but for lawyers, these may not land correctly.
Figure 1: Gender distributions associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
Figure 2: Age distributions associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
In Figure 2, we see Marketers produce the most posts compared to Lawyers and Software Engineers, with 826M posts compared to 299M and 180M, respectively. Additionally, Marketers are more favorable than the other source types.
Figure 3: Query comparison associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
We can also see in Figure 4 that Marketers are far more passionate than our other example personas.
Figure 4: Query comparison associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
How does this inform building your buyer personas? To engage with Marketers producing content and engaging in social media platforms is essential to connect with them. Our media strategy should include these. Content written for Marketer buyers should also be more positive and less negative because that is the content they create. Sentiment of content for software engineers and lawyers can go either way. We can also use more passionate language with our marketer persona than the lawyer or the software engineer.
Adding personality to the persona
Now we get into the fun stuff. We dig into the other words these professionals use in their source bios and titles, view hashtags they use, and other interests. All of these analytic types should be available in your social listening tool.
For the software engineers, they are interested in building things computers and the work they do. From our hashtags, we can see that they are discussing learning the coding of many languages. The code language they know is a part of their identity. There is also interest in many cryptocurrencies. The other interests these people have are primarily in software coding. Political discussions and sports are other topics of interest. For Lawyers, we find that they are passionate about the law they pursue. They are advocates and also position themselves as parents. Lawyers use a bunch of different hashtags. They discuss #Covid19 and #law, #photography, and #travel. Other topics that they are interested in are politics, women’s fashion, and sports. Our Marketer persona identifies with digital marketing and business. Their hashtags are #marketing #digitalmarketing, showing that their interests are much like software engineers and are still in their work interests. The other topics they discuss are computer applications, politics, and sports.
Figure 5: Source bios associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
Figure 6: Hashtags associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
Figure 7: Interests associated with Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Marketers (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
How does this inform building your buyer personas? We can now add personality to what we’ve created. Our final work product can look like this:
|Name||Lawyer Linda||Marketer Mark||Software Engineer Sam|
|Interests||Fashion, Law||Marketing, Food/Drinks||Coding all day|
We can build on this with our tool and add their problems and how we can message them. These are guides to building content. The content your team makes should use these as a north star.
Social listening is our crucial ingredient
With social listening, building B2B buyer personas is cheaper regarding time and resources. By using a tool like Infegy Atlas or Infegy Starscape, we were able to create fully fleshed-out models of who personas are to build content in a way that best speaks to our target audience.
If you are interested in using Infegy Starscape or Infegy Atlas to build your B2B personas, or any of your other consumer intelligence needs, schedule your customized demo today.