Green light: You’re approved to create a new website for your company. Your logical next step is to lock yourself away with some energy drinks and start cranking out new copy that brings the new vision for your company’s message to life. By the end of the week, you can have it done, right?

Whoa…let’s pump the brakes a little. You’re understandably excited, but there’s a lot that needs to happen before you ever put fingers to keyboard to start writing web copy, starting with development of personas, your website’s imaginary friends.

Time to Make Some Friends

In user-focused website development, a practice to which Flying Cork is committed, development of personas is a critical component to creating the optimal user experience. Personas help answer the question, “Who do you want your website to target?”

Too often the answer is “everyone.” But that’s not realistic. There will be people out there who are completely disinterested in what you have to offer. By trying to reach and convert them with the same messaging used to talk to your most loyal brand ambassadors or likely prospects , you’re not truly reaching anyone.

Personas allow you to get inside the heads and lives of your customers. The most effective personas are based on data gathered through focus groups, internal/external customer interviews, and other demographic and psychographic information. That information is then turned into representative descriptions of the people most likely to visit your website – the personas. These profiles explore who these likely visitors are, their interests, what would bring them to your site, and what actions you could expect them to take.

Why Go to the Trouble?

Personas play an important role in the creation of all facets of your website – from the copy to the design to the user interface. In essence, everyone on the team has the same understanding of the customer and their unique needs. As the various teams are developing their individual components, keeping the personas in mind will help them build an end product that speaks directly to your users, not to what your internal teams or even clients think the site should be.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: At Flying Cork, we don’t build websites for everyone, we build websites for someone. We can conduct the necessary research to create your website’s best imaginary friends. Let’s talk!

In this day and age, social media is like the axis on which the world turns. Whether it’s a post to Facebook, a tweet on Twitter or an update to Google+, social media is a great tool for businesses to utilize when trying to connect with consumers.

Did you know that according to Social Media Today, 53 percent of marketers are using social media as a means of a conversation and engagement tool?

All companies, big or small, can take note of how big-name brands use social media to leverage their consumer engagement efforts.

Let’s take Burger King, for example. During this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the fast-food chain took full-court advantage of social media in particular, Twitter, to start conversations with fans all over the country.

For this social campaign, it didn’t matter whether you were at home, the office or at the tournament, fans everywhere were given the chance to watch March Madness like a king. This meant that lucky fans nationwide could go from seemingly ordinary to extraordinary just by participating in this social media effort.

So, what exactly can this campaign teach other brands about consumer engagement? For starters, finding a commonality between your brand and the consumer is crucial. Based on the Burger King example, the commonality was March Madness. This allowed for them to specify a target audience in order to tailor their efforts toward their interest of basketball.

Eric Hirschhorn, Chief Marketing Officer, North America, Burger King Worldwide spoke to this point saying, “We know March Madness is about the fans, games and of course the student-athletes, so we’re celebrating by partnering with the NCAA to provide the fan base with a viewing experience fit for a king.”

Once you have solidified the topic, you can now work on devising a plan that will create a bridge of communication between you and your audience.

Next, to kick off their efforts, Burger King prompted fans to follow and tweet @BurgerKing stating why they deserved to win or post a photo showing their game-time set ups with the hashtag #WatchLikeaKing. This plan opened up the lines of conversation and generated dialogue between Burger King and consumers and from consumer to consumer. Additionally, this interactive method allowed for the brand to give away free prizes. And, as we all know, there is nothing quite like getting something for free!

Although this is only a brief synopsis, this example offers a number of measures to take when planning and implementing a campaign. First, identify your audience, find a commonality, formulate a plan and carry out that plan.

All in all, this campaign offers just a glimpse of how employing the use of a social media campaign can potentially, spur on consumer interaction, bolster your business and nurture relationships between your brand and your audience.

With that being said good luck planning and executing your next social media campaign!