Advertising to the prospect or consumer on social media is a growing craft—and an increasing area of competition. Consumers prefer content tailored to them, making them 40% more likely to make a positive buying decision after seeing that content. With so much riding on catching the audience’s attention on social media, creating personalized content for social media marketing has become a major area of focus for many marketers, particularly in the ecommerce sphere.
What is Personalized Content for Social Media Marketing?
Personalized content is a means for building interest, engagement, and trust in a brand via personalization on social media channels. That is, to the prospect or customer, personalized content is not only targeted, but feels bespoke and valuable. It creates familiarity, reflects the desires of the viewer, doesn’t at all annoy the consumer, and establishes a personalized ad delivery experience.
Above all, personalized marketing is centered around real, relevant data collected via survey, buyer persona creation, or real-time analysis.
Why Invest in Personalized Content?
The statistics have it: customers want brands who know them by name and deliver specific recommendations based on past purchases and cart items. A majority (63%) of customers don’t like generic ad content. To get the consumer’s attention, providing personalized experiences, particularly in a way relevant or not disruptive to their social media experience, has become key to sales conversion.
They’ll Trust the Brand—Even if They Don’t Trust the Platform
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other revelations about who controls, posts, and sways public opinion using persuasive content and data on platforms like Facebook, a post-2016 election American audience remains dubious and skeptical about content posted to their social media platforms. It’s understandable that they wouldn’t trust the platform—which means your brand trust needs to supersede their trust of social media platforms.
After all, they won’t trust the platform, but they still understand that it’s a primary advertising space for brands like yours.
Organic Search is in Decline
Organic traffic—that is, the search results-oriented website hits that come directly from Google and other search engines—is the holy grail of content marketing, proving content to be worth the investment for many brands. However, your organic searches may decline due to multiple factors, including minor adjustments in Google’s algorithm.
Your organic search strategy may be top notch, but inbound traffic should never be about organic search alone. Investing in personalized social engagement is like a back up plan for your business. Think of it as operating with insurance for your content and product pages.
User Control and Agency
In a world where many internet users feel a lack of control or certainty over their lives, they want agency over their experiences. From “dark mode” to social media polling and selection choices, every opportunity for the audience to personalize their experience on social media is potentially a win for your brand.
Using social media, how can you provide users with a sense of control over their experience?
Examples of Personalized Content
Some of the internet’s most popular services rely heavily on serving personalized content. They include:
- Netflix: This streaming service serves up recommendations for you based on what you like. They hope you’ll retain your subscription and continue to use the service as a result.
- Etsy: This boutique forum for independent craftspeople, artisans, and antique dealers does a fine job of suggesting further items for purchase or perusal based on what you’ve viewed. Considering the unique nature of each item, their categorization and word-matching process is top notch.
- Amazon: The internet’s retail giant got that way for a number of reasons, including personalized content recommendations. Add plugins like Honey or Wikibuy to ensure you get the best bet, and the price-matching is basically built in.
- Spotify: Like music and want to discover more? Spotify offers a gentle push in the direction of music discovery with their platform. You can listen to an artist radio, for example, “The Beatles Radio,” which will play the artist in addition to similar sounding music.
What makes all of this social, though, are the websites’ abilities to share. With a click of the button, browsers can share to friends, family, and followers via email or social media.
This can result in further ad retargeting—that is, when someone shares a piece of content without buying it, they’re later served an ad for the same product (or similar ones) from the retailer and competitors. That’s pretty powerful advertising—not to mention extremely personalized.
How to Create Personalized Content for Social Media Marketing
Creating personalized content for social media marketing should involve as much data as you have about your existing consumer. If you’re not sure where to begin, try this short exercise to personalize a social media message for your audience:
- Gather your data: Gather all the available data on your consumers. This includes anything from real-time data to existing information about your customers. Examine how you can leverage this data to personalize content.
- Define your buyer persona: Who is your average customer? Create and consider your buyer persona when creating personalized content for social media marketing.
- Choose the ideal platforms: Personalizing the experience is all about making sure you’re finding your customers where they live—that is, on their preferred social media platforms. Before you can target ads, you need to find out where they go. Aside from analyzing existing data, you can use buyer persona and demographics information to determine where your ideal customer spends their time.
- Determine audience segments: Further segment your targeted audience with ads and organic social media content based on recent searches and interests. This is especially important for ecommerce marketers.
- Move the user to email marketing: A sale isn’t the only conversion that matters: think about that email marketing list. You can create an extremely customized experience when you make a user feel like they have one on social. Asking for their name and preferences at email list sign up allows you to personalize and distribute extremely relevant messages to the consumer on an ongoing basis—an experience that can loop back to social media content, engagement, and ads.
- Use Facebook and Instagram Stories: Forget text-heavy advertising. Users gravitate towards ephemeral content, like that which appears on Facebook and Instagram stories. The platforms also seem to be pushing “stories” content, meaning your personalized efforts are more likely to become part of the user’s daily experience on these platforms, even if the individual messages themselves are rather fleeting. Effective stories tend to be low in text, and high in graphic and video-rich content.
Get Personal with Messaging Apps
Chatbots and messaging apps have also increased in popularity due to their level of personalization, engagement, and conversion. Automated messaging apps, or even regular Facebook page messages set to answer with a pleasant greeting, allow your brand to answer your customer 24/7, even if it’s just acting like a modern day answering machine service.
Messaging apps can set personalized expectations by addressing customer concerns and providing a time frame for response.
Since 79% of companies surpassing their revenue goals had personalized content plans in play, if you’re not already personalizing your social media content, it’s time to consider it. Ultimately, you may not need a bunch of fancy tools and metrics to begin personalizing a social media experience today—a solid, personalized reply can make all the difference to a concerned or grateful users on social media. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with that kind of engagement and grow.