Fiverrcast Episode 42: How to Develop a Social Media Persona

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Transcript

Ryan: Hello and welcome to Fiverrcast, the official Fiverr podcast for sellers by sellers and I am Ryan AKA Customdrumloops on Fiverr and today I’m joined by – I don’t want to say a special guest. I’m going to call him a co-host. I’m joined by Chris who’s the Global Head of Social and Digital Marketing at Fiverr. Chris, welcome to the show and congratulations on being a co-host.

Chris: Thank you very much. Honored to be here and honored for the special title.

Ryan: It’s rare. I don’t throw that one around lightly.

Chris: Nice.

Ryan: So Chris, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do at Fiverr and what being the Global Head of Social and Digital Marketing entails, what you do on a day to day basis and give the people insight to your life.

Chris: Yeah. So in terms of joining Fiverr, my job mainly has been to come in and help work on our digital presence up the kind of places we’re having communication and really work a lot on defining a really differentiated persona for Fiverr.

We’ve got some great content. Obviously we have a fantastic community featuring yourselves and all the great people listening here and we want to activate that in more ways. We will talk in a little bit about how we develop personas and sort of social media and content marketing strategy and that’s really what I’m here to do, to figure out ways to engage people, to answer questions that our community asks and to delight them as much as humanly possible.

Ryan: So Chris, when did you join Fiverr? When was your first day on the job?

Chris: So I joined on May 16th and since then have been working a lot, meeting a lot of the different people in the company and doing a lot of the strategy sessions in terms of refining and expanding our digital presence as mentioned before. So working on a lot of the projects, how we want to differentiate our conversations, how we want to activate our community that’s already obviously very active as evidenced by this podcast that I’m participating in right now and figuring out ways that we can increase the experiences with content and community and digital.

Ryan: Yeah. I know we met in the San Francisco office and we talked about some of this in person. What was it like coming into a community that was so developed and has so many sellers and there was such a solid base there? Do you approach that differently than if you were working with something that was a complete start-up? What’s your strategy for approaching something that has that community in place?

Chris: It’s a lot more fun to be honest. In my career, I’ve worked with very small, early stage start-ups and helped define social presence and build communities. I’ve worked with some very big names like Adobe on Photoshop specifically, the New York Times, the folks at Google and activated some of those communities. When you walk into an existing community, what you get that’s a little bit different is the ability to kind of see where the passion is and also ask questions immediately.

When you don’t have to build and you already have a very passionate group of people out there, you can just start to put together the plans based on the answers that you’re getting and that’s where we’re kind of defining a persona and defining what you want to be. That’s how you get really powerful information because a person should never be a one-sided developmental process. It needs to be both sides. So having that community in place already and being able to chat like you said just in San Francisco or I went to a community event in New York and just meeting those people, hearing their stories. That’s what gets really exciting when it comes to building out strategic processes and ideas.

Ryan: I think the concept of defining a persona, you touched on it being from both sides. I think even adding another element to that because the community has both buyers and sellers. That adds a whole another level to it. So you have a lot to work with and an interesting platform to start with that. So when you approach something like defining your persona, what are the first steps? What are the first things you look at in doing that?

Chris: When you first start defining a person, the first thing you do is you do an audit of your current process, your current presence online. So you do – as you said, you need to look at the audiences on the other side. But before you even approach that, you say, “OK. What do we as a company whether it’s a single person company, a small business, a start-up and a large enterprise, what are our unique differentiating factors? What do we care about in the world? What are the things that we have a very unique perspective on that other companies don’t?”

Then at the same time, what you do is you layer on the second side which is the audience side. So the person is made up of that unique overlap. If you want to think of it as a Venn diagram between those unique positions that we talked about on the company side and then the unique perspective and interest of the audience. So what are the questions they’re asking? What are the sort of hot button topics that they care about? Where are they trying to go? Ultimately, what are the goals and what are the trends that are impacting conversations on the audience side?

Where those two overlap, that unique perspective of the company side with the unique interest of the audience side, that’s when you start to develop the persona. So if you were to do that and take the sellers and the buyers and combine that together, there’s often probably a lot of overlap between the two of them. These are both communities of creators whether it’s entrepreneurs trying to build a business or whether it’s entrepreneurs trying to leverage their skills in a fantastic marketplace.

So we look at how we combine those things together and then how we layer in Fiverr’s unique perspective and that’s where you begin the persona.

Ryan: I think the Venn diagram example is fantastic. I mean that overlap is where the magic happens. So when you’re doing this persona, you’re developing it, are you doing this across all the social platforms or do you start on one or does each one have sort of its own mini Venn diagram? What’s your approach in looking at the things like that? Do you start on Facebook? Do you start on Twitter? Do you combine everything into one?

Chris: Tons of Venn diagrams. There’s typically the overarching – you know, if you want to call it brand persona, digital presence person. That exists and that holds fairly well across all. But no one should ever consider every platform to be the same. Your audience on Facebook is interested in different context and your perspective on Facebook should be different therefore. Same with Twitter, same with LinkedIn, same with Snapchat, Instagram.

Any platform that you’re going to look at, there’s the baseline usage patterns of the platform and interest patterns of why people are going on there. So you do want to layer that in. There are a lot of – we call is sub-personas when we’re looking at content. But you want to make sure in the end of the day you have a really strong central brand person that everything is laddering up to.

So you treat channels differently but you don’t necessarily change who you are completely.

Ryan: So I think that’s actually great advice for anybody who’s running social media campaigns whether it’s for a huge company or for something they’re doing, just starting up themselves. Why don’t you go into a little bit about different approaches to different platforms? You mentioned different content is more popular on different platforms.

So people on Facebook are consuming content differently than people on Snapchat. If you had to give a brief overview of who the clientele is on each platform, just something brief for the major ones, Snapchat, Instagram, what would you say? What type of content is being consumed on each platform?

Chris: So yes, absolutely. Taking that from a historical perspective, they kind of came into the market. We can start with Facebook. Facebook is your classic sort of broad social platform. People are on there often when engaged with friends and family. It’s very visually-centric. You don’t want to be posting content on there that’s overly serious in nature unless it’s pulling at the emotional heartstrings and trying to do cause-based marketing kinds of things.

But Facebook should be your general, engaging, interesting content. Lead with visuals. Don’t try to overdo it on Facebook when it comes to – this is advice in general. When you write a post that’s so long that people can’t read the whole post, you’re probably going to lose 50 percent of your audience clicking through on that. So keep it short, keep it simple, keep it fun.

Twitter kind of blends that real life content side of social media with also some of the little bit heavier conversations whether it’s around technology or business. You can really use Twitter as a platform to engage in a lot of different topics of that nature. Visuals again are important but not as much as Facebook or for say Instagram. Instagram is your key visual platform. You want to be using that to delight users visually every single time they’re on there. It’s about experiences. It’s about sharing what people are doing and it’s about ultimately trying to connect in a way that’s different from just text. Your text and your hash tags on all platforms are incredibly important and we can talk a little bit about sort of hash tag strategy but getting there and finding a way to visually delight on Instagram is key. Then Snapchat is kind of the new interesting platform. I love it as an experience platform whether it’s live events, whether it’s a day in the life kind of activity.

There’s a lot that you can do on Snapchat that is free from some of the constraints of social when it comes to other things, whether you’re a small business or a large business.

Then LinkedIn is the last one. LinkedIn, I sort of saved for last not because it’s the least interesting but because it is sort of the heaviest of platforms. It’s often business-focused, technology-focused, career-focused. You want to make sure you’re adding a lot of value on LinkedIn. You don’t have to be super campy there but you need to make sure that everything you’re doing is offering a pretty big impact because people aren’t typically going on LinkedIn to look at family photos because people don’t post those there.

They’re going on there to learn about their industry, their life, how to better themselves, all of those things. So you keep each of those in context and they could play really well together. You can cross-post if you’re thinking intelligently about how do you drive people from one to the other. But ultimately you want to make sure that you’re driving action and engagement towards a topic that you want to own based on that persona.

Ryan: That’s fantastic. I mean everybody who’s listening to this needs to go back and rewind that and listen to that at least one more time because that covered everything so in depth so briefly. I mean that’s a great blueprint for a starting point on getting across all those different platforms. I think a big thing you touched on with all of those is the type of content people are looking to consume on each platform is going to be different. It’s like you said. If someone is going on LinkedIn, they’re not going – you know, hey, I hope my old boss posts his family photos. That’s not the place for that. Instagram would be the place where people are looking for photos. You said Twitter is very conversational.

When you’re developing content for these different platforms, what’s the strategy based on the platform that you’re posting on? I know you touched on that a little bit. But how does that tie into that overarching main goal of your social media presence and your persona?

Chris: So we like to employ what we call a 3C method to developing content and this works across pretty much all channels. But again, just as we’ve talked about, making sure that you’re thinking about the audience and the consumption habits on those channels and optimizing. But the 3 Cs stand for created content, curated content, and collaborative content.

So looking at it across the board, this healthy mix allows you to sort of create interplay, keep things fresh and not talk too much about yourselves. Another rule that we always say – and we will dive into the three Cs in a second – is that 80 percent of the content you’re putting out should not be completely self-serving. You should be continuing the conversation, sharing a thought, trying to push forward an argument, but not doing it in a self-serving, self-promotional way. Created content, that’s your classic content. This is the stuff that is perspective on you. This could be showing blog posts. This could be announcements about the company. This could be pretty much anything that is driven internally and then released externally.

Curated content is where you get the social proof concept involved in your community and you show that other people are having similar opinions too or perhaps you disagree with them. So you want to make sure you always have a unique perspective whether you agree or disagree with it, so that you can see the social persona of the company coming through in everything you do.

Then the last is the collaborative content. As you build your community, you want to showcase that community. So at Fiverr, we have a fantastic visual community, fantastic audio community whether it’s design or video or music. We want to be able to showcase that. So we’re working on a lot of programs that will highlight that and that’s where that collaborative content comes in. People throw around the term “UGC” a lot, user-generated content. That’s the collaborative side of things, showing what your community can be, what they are and what they love and what they’re passionate about.

So bringing that digital persona into all three of those, that healthy mix allows you to not get stuck in one side too much and keep things fresh while also always driving toward that strategic goal of defining your presence and building your community.

Ryan: Yeah. I mean I think a big mistake a lot of people make is thinking they only have to post created content. You threw the number 80 percent should be created content and I think that’s a good thing to shoot for. Only posting your own content, it starts to become – I don’t want to say annoying but it almost bombards your viewer with the same thing over and over and doing that curated content, it almost gives you a chance to show why you’re an expert, to show your knowledge base.

Look, here are these connections I have too. Here’s the content. It almost builds your brand in a way based on what you’re sharing. So I mean covering all of those bases and then collaborative content. Obviously if you can find ways to do that, I think that’s great. Again, I think that works for both beginners and large companies.

Chris: Yeah. Even just thinking about it from a strategic business perspective, there’s a stat and I can’t remember where it is. So I can’t quote it effectively but I will paraphrase a little bit. That said, once you get past that kind of 20 percent mark on self-serving content, individuals, community members, start to actually sort of realize and remember that you are a business trying to communicate with them rather than truly just a person out there. So that’s where that 80 percent focus on content that’s talking about things and not just pointing it yourself and saying, “Hi! Look at me! Look at me! We’re so great!”

It really is important from a psychological perspective when it comes to building and sustaining social and digital communities.

Ryan: I think a big misconception too on social platforms is you always need to use it to sell. So people think, oh, if I’m doing a Facebook post, this has to be used to sell something. If I’m joining a conversation, the ultimate goal has to be to sell something. What would you say to people who have that thought in terms of switching their mentality? How can that help them in the long run?

Chris: I would tell those people to look at the clickthrough rates of digital advertising and know that just selling is certainly not the fast way to success anymore in today’s digital world. Content marketing and digital engagement, the core sort of underling principle is offer value and exchange for consideration. So you don’t need to sell. If you’re putting out good, engaging content and you have built a persona that shows a unique perspective, that uniquely targets the audience that you’re trying to attract, by having that relationship, you’re going to gain the consideration you need and certainly I’m not to say that digital advertising, SEO and other kinds of acquisition techniques, it’s not to say they’re not important. They’re certainly important.

But you need to have a healthy mix between the two in order to make sure that your brand is valuable and your community cares about it. That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re brand building. You’re not selling. So think about that always when you’re making content. It’s really about engaging your community, being a real person. That’s why we call it a social persona and not a social media, Excel spreadsheet, filled with words that we use because they trigger the right response. It is a persona. You should be living and breathing and engaging and interacting as much as possible.

Ryan: And not trying to trick the system. I think that’s a big thing too is when you act like you’re a real person, you’re not doing any weird things like buying post likes or trying these black hat SEO techniques, different things like that. When you treat your business like you’re an actual person, it makes you – it immediately makes you think like your client would think. It doesn’t seem like you’re faking it and you don’t seem like a business.

To go back to something you touched on, the clickthrough rate, what other metrics do you look at in terms – because obviously we mentioned making a sale isn’t necessarily always the goal in social media and is, from what you said, rarely the goal in terms of the content you post all the time. What are the metrics you look at to determine if a post has been successful? Is it engagement? Is it likes? Is it shares? Is it clickthrough rate? I mean I know obviously it depends on the platform and it depends on your ultimate goal. But what are the key metrics that you look at or you would suggest people to look at when they’re running their campaigns?

Chris: I generally bucket that into – to kind of three areas and there’s a lot more to be fair. But you look at awareness. You look at consideration and then you start to look at conversion. So when you’re looking at awareness, that’s the growth of your community. That’s the reach of your content. That’s engagement. We haven’t even talked a lot about sort of third party digital engagement but getting involved there. Those are kind of awareness metrics that you want to look at to see if you’re trending in the right direction.

At the sort of consideration perspective, then you really dig in on the engagement side. You want to look at shares, likes, comments, posts, reshares. If you’re using hash tags, the strategic tools, all those hash tags being picked up in other places, those are things that are starting to show. Not only do people know you’re there but they’re interacting with you and you’re building that relationship with them. Then when you look at conversion, then you start to hit the hard metrics. That’s clickthroughs. That’s visits to sites.

If you’re using things like trackers and Bitlys and all that and UTMs, then you’re talking about getting to the point of charting journey. So there are kind of three different levels generally that you talk about. Defining success in the social and digital world is a very tricky thing. This is something we struggle and debate and redefine and define and rearticulate over and over is, “What is the most valuable thing?”

But if you’re looking at those three levels, you will generally have a pretty good idea of how you’re growing your community, how they’re interacting with you and ultimately where they’re going. So that’s always a good starting point.

Ryan: So Chris, let’s actually touch on third party engagement that you mentioned. Did you want to go a little bit more in depth with that?

Chris: Yeah. So when you’re sort of looking at the digital presence, there’s kind of two ways you can define it. One is the owned channels that you’re working on. So this is your feeds, your blog, your podcast, like this fantastic thing that we’re doing here.

Then the other side is what we consider third party. So this could be Twitter conversations that you get involved with. This could be Reddit conversations that if you’re going to dive into, I wish you the best and I hope you’re prepared. This could be LinkedIn groups. It could be everything. There’s an amazing amount of conversation happening out there that’s not just on your channels and so when businesses look at getting to that level, sort of stepping beyond the content they create, curate and collaborate, they look at, “OK. Where do I strategically want to get involved?” and this is why having the persona is so important.

When you define those core four, five themes that matter most to your persona, then you can go out there and you can start to see where those conversations are happening around the topics and get involved. You can dip your toe in the water a little bit to begin with to sort of show that you’re there and then you can get more and more involved. You can actually build an entire third party community just out of engagement around topics that you care about and that you sort of build through your persona.

So that opportunity is there. Again, if you’re thinking about it, that obviously comes with a lot more commitment. So you may not have as much time if you’re a single entrepreneur or a really small company to get out there. But if you’ve got a few topics and you keep an eye on them and – you know, we haven’t talked at all about technology on that side. But social listening technology has come very far in a very short amount of time and you can get triggers when conversations are starting to pop and you can get involved in them and just see what works.

Sometimes you get bigger impacts there. Sometimes it may be on your own channels. But that’s the beauty of social media like we talked about. It’s a real person. It’s a real thing. So you can try to engage in different places and then refine your strategy as you see what’s working.

Ryan: I know you touched on entrepreneurs that are solo and they might not have enough time to dive into those. But you touched on Reddit and I know we’ve talked about the standard Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. I think the big thing is knowing where your market has their conversation. So it might not be on Facebook. It might be on YouTube. It might be on Reddit. If you can go to those places, you’re going to be much more likely to engage in that conversation effectively with those third party people that are going to get that conversation going, that you can participate in.

So I think when you know your market, it makes it that much easier, so you don’t have to just go take shots in the dark on each different platform. What advice would you give in terms of when you’re looking for the platform where your conversation is happening? What are some of the key things to look for as an entrepreneur?

Chris: Yeah, again it’s great because it brings it kind of full circle back to that developing the persona and the Venn diagram I kind of described. Go out there and just spend some time looking and following. If you know the core things that you care about on your side and you’ve identified even just broadly the things that you know your audience cares about, it’s not hard to kind of search around on the internet and see where people are talking about things. I mean that is kind of the beauty of the hash tag. It allows you to very easily on those platforms see who’s talking about what.

When it comes to hash tags, I always advise kind of a broad and narrow strategy. So just think of what is a larger hash tag around a very big conversation, broad conversation that you can search for and again just searching in general on these different platforms and seeing where the conversations are there.

Then as you dive down and deeper, if you have it, what is the smaller and more unique kind of conversation that maybe isn’t happening yet that you could own? That could actually be your hash tag development strategy. It’s finding the sort of confluence between the bigger topic and then the one that you have. So as you’re out there and you’re searching around online, you will start to see it and it sounds crazy and it probably sounds daunting for people to initially jump in. But it’s really just a matter of getting involved and seeing where it’s happening, trying to be a part of the conversation and then that often steers you in a lot of places like we said.

Reddit is a conversation hot bed for people that are incredibly passionate about topics and you could probably find discussions on there. So just looking around at the Reddits of the world, the LinkedIn groups and following Twitter in general. Again, digital personas are about being citizens of the online world. You have to invest that time but you learn so much about your audience. In really a relatively short amount of time, that’s going to better inform you to plan better, to execute better, and ultimately to create a larger impact on your programs.

Ryan: I think the biggest takeaway for somebody who’s new with that is you have to go out and actually do it. Take that first step. Join the conversation. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to say something wrong or say something stupid. Just get out there and join. Look where you think your customers will be. Look where you think your clients will be and join that conversation. I know Chris is going to obviously provide every single one of his Venn diagrams for your reference so then you can use those as your blueprint. Moving forward …

Chris: Venn diagrams, circle diagrams. We’ve got …

Ryan: Your whole binder of diagrams is just – I can just imagine your house. It’s just a bunch of frames and diagrams, like every room, all over every wall. So my favorite part is asking about the tips, the tricks, the hacks. Any secret insider knowledge you have as a head of social and digital marketing at Fiverr? I love saying that. That has a nice ring to it. What advice do you have that are insider information that people can use and implement to grow their brands?

Chris: So the biggest tip that I would give anyone is something – actually you just pinned it out a little bit, but get involved. What I always like to say when it comes to getting involved is get comfortable and then start trouble. See what your community reacts to. See what gets them fired up. See what is your sort of catalyst moment of starting conversations and then go from there. It’s a big tip and it’s something people are afraid to do but it often is what starts a community, starts a conversation and could start the growth of a business.

Other tricks I always like to talk about, I talked a little bit about the sort of dual hash tag strategy. Everyone is on the sort of trending topic. Everyone likes to get involved in things, whether it’s the dress or whether it’s a Kevin Durant me or a crying Magic Johnson or whatever you want to say.

Don’t be afraid to try something on those, but also don’t feel compelled if you don’t have it in your persona. Again that’s why the persona is so important. The persona is built to help you take the questioning out of your social and digital engagement. So I am all for doing fun things when it comes to being fun or being emotional and finding triggers. But be authentic. That’s a trick that people forget often in the world of likes and shares and things of that nature.

Then also don’t forget about influencers. Don’t forget about building your community around people that already have followings. Bring them into the fold. Get them excited. Get them engaged and use them to tell your story for you as much as possible. Again, going back to that sort of collaborative content. You don’t have to be the only voice in your community if you’ve got the right strategy and you’ve got the right community built around you. So test it out. But mainly, yeah, start some trouble. That’s the fun one.

Ryan: Yeah. I think stirring the pot is great. I mean I think that when you go and you have opinions or things that are too safe, nobody is going to notice them. So when you have a strong opinion one way or the other, you’re bound to piss some people off, which is going to start that conversation and like you said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’re not going out there saying something completely negative. It’s just giving an opinion. So let’s give one last set, the three takeaways that people can do today to start building their social media persona.

Chris: Listen to your audience. Understand them. Know what makes them tick. Spend some time thinking about what you care about as a business, as a person, as a company. Overlap those two and then when you get out there and you’re making content, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Mix it up in fact for sure. But also don’t be afraid to mix it up in the sense of starting trouble. I would say those are the big three things.

Know who you are. Know who you’re trying to talk to and see what way works best and then make sure that you’re always constantly measuring, refining and improving on what you do because digital and social as a world is very fluid. So don’t assume that one thing that worked once or failed once won’t work again. Come with your strategy. Execute it and learn from it constantly.

Ryan: I like that. Mix it up and mix it up. I mean I think those are great points that everybody can go implement today to grow your social brand to help develop that persona that Chris was talking about. That’s so important when it comes to building your social media presence.

That you Chris for that insight and thanks for joining us on Fiverrcast today. Some fantastic takeaways to go and implement today. That’s all the time we have. Thank you for listening. Our jingle was made by me Customdrumloops and as always, we were edited by Dansha. We will see you next week.

Transcript by Prexie Magallanes as Trans-Expert at Fiverr.com

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