The What, Why, and How of Influencers and Personas!

If you are a marketer who has grown tired of routinely targeted marketing messages or if you are simply looking for a way to boost your brand awareness and try something new for your marketing strategy, then read on! Influencers may be for you! 

If you are an influencer or want to be one, then this article is also for you! 

A tech-savvy social media influencer at work Source: Unsplash

We explain the concept of an influencer, how using personas can provide insight, why it is important, and how the Automatic Persona Generation (APG) system can help generate personas for influencers easier, faster, and better! 

Now the next question on your mind might be “So, what exactly is a persona?” 

An ideal persona is a proxy for a person. The person is the targeted user group, audience, or customer segment. An ideal persona both describes a segment and predicts the segment’s behavior

Understanding influencer marketing and personas

So, personas for an influencer essentially are pictorial representations of the characteristics of an influencer’s audience! These influencer audience personas can help influencers in crafting their social media posts and have more focused messages for their audience. 

Next obvious question – what is an influencer?  An influencer is anyone who has the power and ability to change consumer behaviors and impact buying decisions through the content they share. 

If you have used major social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook, you must have seen accounts of individual users who have a large following promoting different products or services. 

Take an example of the following Instagram profile of Sierra Dallas. She has a whopping 1.5 million people who follow (like or interact with her posts) on Instagram

Figure from the Instagram account of Sierra Dallas

Apart from sharing updates from her daily life, she also frequently collaborates with companies to promote their products or services. Take an example of a watch from Daniel Wellington which she promoted a while back.

Sierra Dallas promoting a watch through her Instagram account

As you can see within 39 minutes from promoting the watch, her post had 9000 likes. What we do not see from the above image are also interactions from users who might have not liked the post but would have still clicked on the link above and subsequently bought the watch. 

The whole idea behind influencer marketing is that companies collaborate with individual users from Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube who have a large user following to promote their products and service offerings. 

Some characteristics of an influencer persona

More often than not, influencers generally have the following in common:

  • A huge fan base (the most obvious one!).
  • They often share and market content of brands/products/services.
  • Their followers often are inspired and/or persuaded by their content. 

For a deeper discussion on influencer personas and their use in marketing, we recommend a more comprehensive reading to familiarize yourself with the concept. 

Example of an influencer persona

To put things in perspective, take a look at the following picture.

Example of a persona for a technology editor (source)

This is a fictitious person (who most probably also exists as social media has users who have varied interests from fitness to technology) who is a technology editor i.e. reviews technology products and services and writes about them. 

Companies can collaborate with such a person who can in return promote their product offerings on their social media platforms. The added advantage? Companies can benefit from the wide audience that such a persona would provide which would, in turn, raise brand awareness and potentially may result in an increase in sales! 

Effectiveness of influencer personas – A personal example

Moving on to a more personal example from my daily life. 

I watch a lot of cricket and follow the captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli, on Twitter. I am working out a lot these days, and I do look up to him for inspiration because when he started playing cricket, he was not so fit. Over the years, he has built a solid physique. I find his journey from an average athlete to the captain of the Indian cricket team inspiring. 

I was looking for some supplements which I can take after my workout and, coincidentally, I came across the following post from him:

Source: Twitter profile of the captain of the Indian cricket team

Needless to say, I clicked on the Herbalife nutrition which was mentioned on his profile, and bought supplements from that company! 

Virat Kohli is an influencer! 

Tip: If you are looking for good background knowledge on the theory of personas, be sure to read this: Theory of Personas

How our automatic persona generation can help 

At the Qatar Computing Research Institute, we have developed an automatic persona generation (APG) system, which is an algorithmically driven persona mapping tool. APG is both a methodology and a system for automatically creating data-driven personas from online analytics data

APG links to and accesses the specific online social media platforms (e.g., Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics) via the application programming interface (API) of each analytics platform, given the account holder’s permission.

These platforms’ typical user data include the demographic variables of gender, age, and country of the person, provided at an aggregated group level. Via the APIs, APG collects users’ detailed interactions with each of the online content pieces on the corresponding platform. This data is available to only owners of a particular social media channel (e.g., YouTube channel) and not available to the general public.

Following is a sample persona generated using APG: 

Example of an automatically generated persona using APG (source)

As you can see from the image above, this persona was automatically generated using the APG system and is data-driven as opposed to being subject to any human bias. The algorithm gleaned through thousands of profiles using YouTube API in the above instance and was able to generate unique personas pertaining to different individuals. One such individual is Siim (pseudonymized name) presented above. 

The main benefits of using a system such as APG are:

  • Data-driven personas (DDPs) using APG can be created in minutes (this saves an enormous amount of time when compared to a manual persona creation process which involves numerous steps).
  • DDPs created using the APG are updated automatically every month (another advantage over a traditional persona creation method wherein once a persona gets outdated, enormous fieldwork is needed to update it again).

What does this mean for an influencer persona?

There are potentially two use cases for using APG when it comes to influencer personas. 

Use Case 1: For the Influencer 

If you are an influencer and have your own Facebook page, Instagram page, YouTube channel, or Webpage and want to understand your target audience (i.e., how many people engage with your content, where do they live, what do they work, etc.) you can use the APG to automatically generate personas for your audience in a matter of HOURS! 

Using APG as an influencer has the following benefits:

  • A good grasp of your audience allows you to create more engaging content better suited for your audience. 
  • A good grasp of your audience allows you to collaborate with different companies wishing to market their product or service offerings
  • A good grasp of your audience allows you to say no to companies whose product or service offerings might not be suitable for your audience. 

Use Case 2: For hiring an Influencer 

If you are a business that wishes to market your product or service offerings that want to:

(a) understand the audience (i.e. how receptive would they be to your product or service offerings, how does a typical day for them look, their goals, motivations, frustrations, etc.) in order to employ influencer marketing

(b) understand audience profiles of an influencer

… then you can easily use the APG system to accomplish these goals!

Takeaway

Influencer audience personas can offer tremendous benefits for your organization!

Influencer audience personas can help increase your brand awareness by promoting your product and/or service offerings to a wide and potentially untapped consumer base. This can potentially have a very high return on investment for your company. 

Thankfully, advancements in online analytics and the development of artificially intelligent algorithms allow creating personas from huge user bases in a relatively short amount of time. 

Once you understand your users better, you can then make good user-centric decisions concerning influencer marketing!

Would you like to learn more?

If this article got you intrigued, read our persona analytics research for more in-depth knowledge on persona development.

If you are an influencer and would like to learn more about how APG can increase your online impact, contact us immediately!