Define your Target Market Persona

Using Facebook Graph Search can help you locate your target demographic.

By Sarah Stahl, Content Marketing Strategist

This article is designed to reveal the character development process, showing brands what it takes to pinpoint a specific customer persona. Although, I can’t take all the credit, these ideas were inspired by a colleague of mine, Robin O’Callaghan who has been successfully implemented this strategy for years.

I’m still not quite sure why this process has been such an elusive action step in the business cycle, but I’m happy to say those days are over.

I mean, how do brands know what decisions to make without understanding who they are talking to? These steps will define why your target persona makes purchasing decisions.

This is something Google SEO can’t even do. In fact, their most masterful algorithm is still unable to determine “why” people make purchasing decisions. Kudos to Google as they are working on it; but this is how you can get ahead of the game.

You don’t need to be a mathematician to find out “why” your customers buy. You just need to be willing to put in the time to research the right things. These are the research steps that answer the question…

Who’s my target market? I don’t mean what genre of people; I mean, what specific person. This is how you get it done.

1. Define your brand by completing a company profile.

This step has to move from your mind to written form; no shortcuts here. This way you have a foundational reference of your brands objectives before moving forward with customer profiling.

WikiHow has a very simplistic article on how to accomplish this in 10 clear steps .

You can also review THIS COMPANY PROFILE as a physical example of the completed product.

2. Conduct a Facebook Graph Search.

Now that you have defined your brand objectives, it’s time to start identifying your individual persona.

Use Facebook’s Graph Search to find specific characteristics that link your company’s objectives with real life goals of actual people. This is the most labor intensive step of the process, but one you can’t skip if you are truly looking to define your persona.

What’s a Facebook Graph search?


Your starting point will look different, but this is just an example to set the foundation.

Because I’m a passionate advocate of building a community that markets for you, I tend to default to community related topics. So, I started there.

In the company profile I identified one of the “community involvement” contributions as being, “a board member of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.”  This identifies the companies involvement in helping entrepreneurs transition to leasing commercial properly.

At this point I was able to assess the starting segmentation as:  “an entrepreneur who likes the local Wichita chamber of commerce.”

I then went to Facebook and conducted a detailed graph search titled:

“Entrepreneur who live in Wichita, Kansas” and “People who like the Wichita metro chamber of commerce.”

There really are lots of ways to play with this! I suggest you test and experiment with it. Facebook will even adjust your search based on available data. It can get a bit frustrating, but trust me, you’ll want to stick with it.

This is where the magic happens.

At this point you can begin analyzing real peoples interests. Based on your search results, you can review what music they like, what teams they cheer for, books they’ve read, the school they attend, where they work, places they’ve visited and so much more.

I would take at least an hour to go through all the people that populate in your search and start taking notes of similarities. You will start to see that several people in your search follow the same mentor, have read the same book, have similar family status and enjoy the same hobbies.

The more precise and detailed the better; go beyond age and gender to include:

Psycho-graphics (the why) “is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.” –wikipedia as well as, Demographics (the who) “the statistical data of a population, especially those showing average age, income, education, and other cultural profiles” –

Create a character with a name, occupation, interests and hobbies. Be as detailed as if you were describing yourself to someone you recently met; and remember to keep the age span within 10 years.

List the characteristics and explain how the audience currently thinks or feels about your company/brand. At this point you should have two write-ups.

Next, comes the fun part!


3. Build a Pinterest Persona Board.

At this point it should be very clear who your customer is.

Your profile should represent the emerging member of your target market. In the Pinterest, create boards and “pin” things that the target market member might like, own, buy, use and aspire to. Include pictures, infographics, quotes or other things that may be of interested to your target market.

The Pinterest Persona Board should reflect the data you collected in step 1 and 2. As a visual representation of your target market I’d advise you not to look at this project as a marketing strategy, but as market research. If your target market is someone who would never use Pinterest, that’s fine, you’re not suggesting that. You’re simply creating a visual picture of who you’re targeting to then use as a benchmark for making business decisions.

Here are some ideas for things you might use to create your Pinterest Persona.

  1. Character name
  2. Professional background: Job title, role or employer.
  3. Basic Demographics and psychographics: Age, gender, where they live, occupation, salary, family life, likes/dislikes, hobbies or their feelings towards the company/brand.
  4. Technical Background: How comfortable are they online, what social media channel do they use regularly, what devices do they use (iPad, Smartphone, computer) and how do they currently interact with the company/brand online.
  5.  Goals: What are their personal goals or what is important to them?  How do their goals relate to your company?

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