Any marketer or social seller should know how impactful personalization can be within their marketing. Epsilon research recently found that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers a personalized experience. Personalization allows you to provide specific content to a very targeted audience that will find it most relevant. But that can be difficult on social media where you aren’t interacting with a single person, but a large number of followers at the same time. You can’t create content for one specific follower, the rest of your followers would never want to interact with it.
A 2017 study by Monetate, found that 79% of companies that exceeded revenue goals had a documented personalization strategy in place within their marketing operations. That’s a pretty strong correlation. Finding ways to inject personalization into your social media strategies, where personalization is much harder to pull off than in, say, paid advertising or email marketing, can re-shape the way that you think about social media.
But to understand how you can increase personalization in your social media marketing, let’s define what personalization is and how it works. After that, we’ll outline specific strategies for injecting personalization into your social media marketing campaigns.
What is Personalization in Marketing?
Consider a sales presentation. Good salespeople know that for a sales presentation to really hit home, they have to customize that presentation to their audience. You wouldn’t present a soccer training program for a hockey team. That is personalization at its most basic level.
But it goes much deeper. In sales presentations, personalization is all about catering that presentation to your audience’s specific needs. Some customers want to know more about specific features. Others want hard facts and statistics to illustrate the assertions that are made in the presentation. Others may want to have specific objections and concerns answered. Each member of the audience has different needs in terms of what they want to hear from the salesperson. Getting a feel for your audience and being able to deliver the things that they want to hear about your product is the trick, both in sales and in marketing.
Think about the last time you shopped on Amazon. If you bought an iPhone, you would probably see accessories on your “recommended items” list for some time after you made the purchase. This is a good thing both for the company and you. You want to see those accessories. After all, you just bought a new iPhone and want to make sure that they have the tools to get the most out of it. The company wants to sell more products and increase their average order value. It’s a mutually beneficial and personalized addition to their website.
Put into as simple of terms as possible — marketing personalization is a strategy where businesses use audience analysis, analytics, and data to deliver relevant messages to their target audience. This means putting the information that you collect to use in creative and interesting ways to grab your customers’ attention and deliver a better overall experience with your company.
Customers Want Personalized Content
Personalization doesn’t just work, customers actively want it. The type of recommendation systems that have worked in the favor of Amazon, Netflix, and other huge technology companies can be just as effective for small, diligent eCommerce companies.
Smart recommendations and personalized content aren’t seen as something that is a nice addition to digital sellers, it’s something that all companies must have. Customers expect it. Check out the results from a 2016 poll from Accenture:
Customers have made it clear, they want relevant recommendations and personalized content. They want brands that get to know them the more they interact with each other. Consumers want brands that remember them, who they are, and what they want from the company.
In some channels (like email marketing), personalization is straightforward. There are creative ways to use the data that you collect. But emails are direct communications with people that have subscribed to your list. You should know at least something about them based on that fact. When it comes to social media, finding ways to inject data for true personalization into your campaigns can be difficult. Most of your followers will have never engaged with a single piece of your content. And those that have may be difficult to pinpoint.
Benefits of Personalization in Social Media
Now, with those basics out of the way, let’s dive a bit deeper into the real-world advantages that you can expect from using it. The benefits are numerous and will reverberate throughout your business once you have a consistent way to facilitate interactions that are more personal across all of the social networks that your company maintains a presence on.
Reasons for personalization include:
Increased Social Media Engagement
People interact with personalized content more readily. Over time, you will see an increase in engagement you receive from your following. A study from eMarketer showed that 56% of CMOs experience higher response and engagement rates with personalized content. 47% found that they experienced more timely and relevant interactions. This increase in engagement will also cause your following to grow more rapidly than it otherwise would. Personalization helps to get your audience engaged and involved with your content.
Improve Ad Relevance and Advertising Costs
Facebook and other social media networks want to show ads to their audience. Ads that feature personalized and tailored messages will generate more positive feedback from users and will receive a better Facebook relevance score. This score will directly affect the price of your advertisements. Ads that receive higher levels of positive feedback and engagement will receive a higher relevance score. Ads with higher levels of negative feedback will have a lower relevance score. Put simply — personalized ads cost less and produce a higher ROI.
Generate More Warm Conversations and Leads
Your following is more likely to interact with your content when that content is tailored to their interests. This will lead to more conversations with prospects and ultimately, more sales of your product or service. Personalization leads directly to an increase in the ROI of your social media marketing investment.
Grow Awareness and Brand Loyalty
Personalization helps you catch the eye of your customers and keeps them coming back for more. When you become recognized as a provider of high-value content that aligns with their interests, they will develop an affinity for your brand. It makes your audience recognize that you care for them, based on the fact that you have published content that is specifically aligned with what they want to see. They return that favor with interest and loyalty to your brand and your online presence.
How Can You Personalize Social Media?
Now, for the big question. How can you actually personalize your social media? While technically possible it’s not feasible for most of us. Interestingly, you can achieve this goal with 10,000s of tailored messages if you are willing to spend enough money. This was shown in the work of Cambridge Analytics’ for the Trump campaign. However, neither you nor I can target each individual social media update to a specific person. That would be too expensive and too time-consuming. However, you can use a few tools and strategies to narrowly target individuals within your following and create content that will align with their biggest concerns.
Like any social media marketing strategy, injecting personalization relies on a smart balance of automation and manual management of your social media accounts. You personalize what you can in terms of public-facing content, and use that as a springboard for warm conversations with leads, highly personalized customer service, and better content for your following.
You can’t expect every action you take on social media to be hyper-personalized for a specific persona that you would like to target. But you can target them a bit more broadly within your content, and use advertisements and creative strategies to bridge the gap.
Let’s take a look at some of the best strategies for injecting personalization into your social media marketing campaigns:
Like any ROI-producing marketing campaign, generating a return from personalization on social media starts with smart audience analysis. You can’t personalize and individualize the content that you share if you don’t fully understand who you are sharing it with.
So, learn about your audience. Use the customer personas that you have put together for other aspects of your marketing operation and analyze how those fit within your social media followings on the different platforms. If you haven’t done that yet, start today and define your target audience and buyer persona by using a template. Get to know your followers by interacting with them and asking them questions that are tangentially related to your product. Their answers to these questions will provide you with a lot of information and context of your audience.
Other data and information that you should seek out as you analyze your following includes:
- Demographic data
- Likes and interests
- General social media activity
- Followed influencers
- Customer journey analysis
Once you have enough data on hand to make informed personalization decisions, you can begin injecting it into your social media marketing campaigns through a variety of strategies.
1. Retargeted Advertisements
Retargeting is the practice of showing advertisements to people that have already been to your website. When they visit your website, a cookie is placed on their browser and then that cookie is used to show advertisements to them on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Retargeted ads produce an extremely high ROI for a number of different reasons. First, these ads are shown to people that are already aware of your brand. You know they have already visited your website. You can pinpoint the exact pages they visited and how much time they spent on them to determine what advertisements will be the most relevant to them. That leads us to our next benefit of retargeted social media ads — they are perfect for personalization.
Because retargeted ads are shown to users that you have already had a chance to collect data about, that gives you data to work with for personalization. If they recently bought a product from your company, you could show them related products or accessories they might be interested in. If your visitor interacted with a piece of your content, you can send them to a landing page for a product that is directly related to the content that they interacted with. You could deliver coupon codes to prospects that abandoned their cart, like this:
Retargeting is only done through paid advertising systems but should play a big role in any effort to increase personalization on social media. By combining retargeted ads with sharing content that is laser-targeted to your customer personas, you can stand out and catch the attention of your ideal customers on the platforms you are active on.
Automated Targeted Interaction & Engagement
Social media marketing campaigns rely on your ability to find the right balance between by-hand interaction and automation. You would think that automating personalized content is impossible, but that’s not entirely true. You can personalize automated updates by tagging individuals that might be interested in the content you are sharing. A popular strategy is to tag an influencer or two and share a hashtag with the update that will help it to catch the eyes of your intended audience. An influencer retweeting or sharing your update can help to rapidly expand its reach and get your social accounts in front of customers.
Finding the balance between automation and genuine manual interaction is important. If an influencer did share your update, you should be in the comments interacting with people who react and growing your awareness manually.
2. Personalized Videos
Personalized video content is a somewhat recent trend on social media, but one that is predicted to play a huge role in the personalization of your social media marketing campaigns. Tools like Idomoo and Vidyard have added features for personalization within your video content.
Vidyard, for instance, allows you to input specific data about a customer into your videos including:
- Company Names
- Email Addresses
- Homepage URLs
- Phone Numbers
- LinkedIn Pictures
Idomoo merges data and video to deliver experiences that are meant to create higher and more measurable ROI. Both companies use dynamic elements that are rendered on a frame-by-frame basis to include real data about your prospects within the content of the video and not just through an overlay. These videos can be used in social media advertising campaigns, or through genuine outreach and interaction. For social sellers, this kind of technology could be a godsend and help you to get your proposals viewed more often.
3. User-Generated Content
User-generated content is perfect for personalization campaigns and is often overlooked. This kind of content encourages more sharing and engagement on social media.
Let’s take a look at a recent example. In this example, the team from Kimpton, a premium hotel brand, actively seeks out photos and updates that are shared by their guests. When appropriate, they ask if they could share the photo on their own social media accounts. While doing this, they share terms and conditions for the interaction with the prospect.
This is a great way to increase interaction with customers and bolster the amount of social proof that you share on your accounts. They don’t just share that content on their social media accounts, either. The terms that the user agrees to give them permission to share the content on their website as well:
Don’t you think that users that have had their pictures and content shared on the Kimpton website will be likely to share it with their friends and family as well? This highly-personalized approach might be manual, but it helps to develop a lasting connection with guests and expands the reach of each piece of content. You can make it scalable by focusing part of your social media activities only on this highly-engaging and ROI-producing outreach. If you’re on your own, you could even task a virtual assistant with this.
A Powerful Tactic
Personalization is extremely powerful in any marketing campaign. While it is more difficult to find ways to inject personalization into social media marketing campaigns than it is through other channels, there are some viable strategies that can help you to connect directly with your ideal customers in a personal way. Social media personalization will always require a careful balance of automation and by-hand engagement, but companies that are able to find that balance will enjoy large boosts to their social media ROI.
Share some strategies that have worked for you or how you have personalized social media and content campaigns.
This article was previously published on SocialSellinator’s Blog.