As a follow-up to my previous post asking whether Product Managers are taking advantage of social media for their product management responsibilities, I recently saw an insightful post on how to use LinkedIn to flesh out buyer personas. I’d like to argue it can also contribute to user personas as well, as you can find insights around motivations and daily responsibilities. This is especially true if, as suggested in the post, you follow links to personal websites that are available.
With a dominating market share of professionals, LinkedIn is an ideal place to learn more about the type of person you’re building for and selling to if you’re in any sort of B2B product company.
The post assumes you have some idea who the target is, so it starts with a job title. The post goes through answering the following questions using LinkedIn:
- What are their demographics?
- What is their education and work background?
- What are their needs?
- What are their interests?
- What type of media do they consume?
- What motivates them?
- Who makes their decisions?
- What is their preferred method of communication?
- Summarize their strengths and weaknesses
Don’t forget about LinkedIn Groups! Groups exist for almost every interest known to man, and professionals are regularly sharing knowledge and asking questions to improve their skills. If you build a reputation in relevant groups, you’ll start to recognize those also participating regularly with you. This will lead to opportunities to get to know them better.
It is NOT recommended that you just request connection with strangers having the right job title. This is tacky and unprofessional. Get to know them somehow first!
There are other places for topic-related discussions as well. Quora has built a niche community around questions and thoughtful answers. Twitter users conduct tweet chats, where many people discuss a topic together at a pre-scheduled time. Both of these can offer an opportunity to meet real people with the detail you need to ground your personas in reality. These people also might become in person contacts one day!
It’s becoming easier to use the opportunity of social media to extend the reach of product management virtually, even if you’re mostly stuck in the office.