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The first step to marketing any product is to know what you’re selling.  The second step is knowing to whom you’re selling.  In other words, define your target audience. 

 In years past, knowing your target audience was largely a statistics game.  Male or female?  Affluent or middle-class?  18-35 years old or 50+?  Married, single or divorced?

 This worked fine with conventional media choices.  However, social media has upped the ante.  Today, it’s more important than ever to drill down below the stats to understand just exactly how and what your ideal customer thinks, wants and behaves.

Building a buyer persona requires asking questions – lots of them.  For the sake of this space and your sanity, I’ve listed a few of the more critical ones.  (I’ll be using the male pronoun, even though many of your buyers may be female.)

Who buys my product?  Start with the demographics.  What is the age, gender, income, ethnicity, marital status and educational level of your ideal client/customer?  Have those targeted demographics changed at any time?  If so, why? 

What interests him?  Discover what stimulates your ideal customer, and appeal to those interests.  Does he have hobbies, enjoy traveling or hold certain religious beliefs?  Does he love movies, follow sports teams or volunteer at charities?  The better you can relate to him, the more likely he’ll respond to you. 

Where does he look for information?  More specifically, where does he seek data about your product category?  Does he visit websites?  Read user reviews?  Peruse blogs? 

If he uses a search engine, what words is he plugging in? 

What kind of information does he want?  Is it product specs or product support?  Does he want to check out customer reviews before making a purchasing decision?  Knowing what your ideal customer looks for and providing it increases your ability to relate.

Why your product?  Does (or will) he buy your offering because of its price, durability or reputation? Does he ever buy from your competitor?  If so, why?  Does he have any problems using your product?  

As you can imagine, the more questions you ask, the more dependable your buyer persona will be.  But how do you find out all this stuff?  Fortunately, there are plenty of places to go for the answers.

Remember, social media is more about engaging than selling.  The more you know about your ideal buyer, the better you can relate to them.