Personalized Marketing on Social Media: The Ultimate Guide

If there's one social media marketing strategy you need to leverage this year, it's personalized marketing. Reaching your target audience with individualized messages can work wonders for your business - that is, if you know how to get it right. Here's how to successfully add personalization to your social media marketing efforts:

What is personalized marketing?

Personalized marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses use audience analysis and data to deliver more relevant messages to their target audience.

Put into simple terms, this means that businesses collect and process information on their audiences' interests, demographics, and behaviors to create more relevant content that provides more value.

As an Internet user, you have been served with personalized content multiple times. Think Netflix and their "Recommendations for you" section. The recommended shows are curated based on the previous content you watched, which enables Netflix to display other shows you're most likely to enjoy.

Your customers want more personalized content

The same recommendation-based system that allowed you to discover that new Netflix series, can help your customers learn about your business and products.

Personalized content and tailored recommendations are no longer "nice-to-have," but an absolute "must-have" for a large number of consumers. Today's customers want brands to view them as distinct individuals with unique characteristics and preferences, as opposed to a faceless consumer. Customers' desires to be recognized by brands on an individual level largely impact their purchase decisions:

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Source: Accenture


Marketing personalization can sway potential customers to become buyers. On the other hand, the lack of personalized content can have a negative impact on your business. According to an Infosys report, 74% of customers feel frustrated when brands don't provide them with individualized website content. At the same time, 63% of worldwide consumers are annoyed by seeing generic advertising messages repeatedly.

The numbers speak for themselves - customers demand individualized experiences, and brands that fail to provide these might lose a big share of their clientele.

Personalized marketing will benefit your business

Customers' expectations are just one reason why you should embrace personalization in your social media marketing activities. Here are five more arguments in favor of crafting individualized messages that can benefit your business:

  • Boost your social media engagement - personalized content is more meaningful, which is why more users interact with it. eMarketer's research revealed that 56% of CMOs experienced higher response and engagement rates on personalized content, while 47% declared the interactions they gained were more timely and relevant. A high volume of interactions is critical to surfacing in the news feed organically, especially on Facebook.
  • Improve your Facebook relevance score and ad costs - tailored messages are relevant to your target audience. That's why they can generate more positive feedback and receive a better Facebook relevance score grade, which can decrease the cost of your Facebook advertising activities.
  • Generate more leads and conversions - more people will interact with your content if it's personalized, meaning there's a bigger chance to convert them. This can greatly increase your social media ROI and help you achieve your marketing objectives.
  • Strengthen customer loyalty and brand affinity - an audience served with personalized messages feels recognized and cared for by a brand. As a result, they become more loyal and approving of a business.
  • Increase brand awareness - once users develop a connection to your brand, they will be more eager to spread the word about you among their personal networks. And with 92% of consumers believing recommendations from friends and family over advertising, you can't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing!

Personalizing your marketing starts with audience analysis

So now you know why you should tap into personalization. Now, where do you begin individualizing your social media marketing efforts?

The answer is simple - learn about your target audience. Getting to know your followers is critical to understanding how to best personalize your content to make it more effective.

Start off by running a thorough audience analysis on each social channel you're present on, and map out your buyer personas. To do that, study your followers in terms of:

  • Demographics
  • Social media likes and interests
  • Social media activities
  • Page affinities
  • Followed influencers
  • Customer journey stage
As you can see, the demographic data, which was once the core of companies' audience analysis, is no longer sufficient to outlining your buyer personas. Today, you should dive deeper and learn about your followers' likes, interests, and behaviors in order to get to the bottom of who they are and how you can communicate with them on a more personal level.

To give you a hint on what you need to define your personas - here's an example:

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It is also important to pay attention to which stage of the customer journey your audience is at. Content for those who are just learning about your brand might require less personalization than the messages for your long-term followers.

Finally, bring together your social and digital data to track how users are moving between the social channels and your website. This will allow you to better understand their behaviors (including purchasing choices), see how they are different, and decide where to use personalized content to increase conversions.

3 proven tactics to personalize your social media marketing

Now that you know your followers inside and out, it's time to put all that information to work and start creating personalized experiences. Here's how:

Create content tailored to your personas


Crafting content for your buyer personas should start with picking the right format and topic.

To choose the best content format, look at your personas' engagement behaviors - are they interacting most with images, videos, links, or articles? Use this information to pick the format that will resonate with your audience.

Of course, this doesn't mean you should be sticking to one format only. Diversity is great, but the core of your content strategy should be the format your audience feels most passionate about.


Does your audience love video content? Learn how to master Facebook video content with our free guide!


Picking the right topic might be a little bit more difficult. That's because you need to analyze your audience's interests, pinpoint those related to your business, and weave them into your content strategy.

Sounds challenging? A creative brainstorming session or content library will help you to find ideas for personalized content that combines your followers' interests with your brand messaging.

After you tailor the content formats and topics to each of your buyer personas, it's time to think about how you want to distribute your tailored posts. There are two ways to do that, depending on whether you are relying on paid or organic reach.

  • Paid - in the case of paid reach, you can leverage social media platforms' advanced targeting options based on interests and behaviors to get your content in front of different audience groups simultaneously.
  • Organic - if you rely on organic reach, focus on your largest persona group, and publish posts tailored to this segment more frequently. Alternate them with content aimed at the smaller persona groups to appeal to a cross-section of your audience. You can also use Facebook's organic post targeting option to deliver content to specific audience segments based on their interests.
Make sure to always A/B test your content and measure its performance as you go! 

Align your content with the customer journey


Tailoring your content to the stages of customer journey is as important as marketing personalization.

Typically, customer journey consists of three stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Each of these stages is different in terms of how familiar users are with your brand and how ready they are to buy - which is why you need to create diverse personalized content.

At the awareness stage, customers don't know your brand that well and are just searching for a product that would best fit their needs. This is the time to think about how you can grasp users' attention and make them want to come back.

At this point, you can target your buyer persona lookalikes with personalized content. Remember that your posts should be engaging and help you establish a relationship with your followers.


Learn how to create great content that will resonate with your audiences at each stage of the customer journey!


At the consideration stage, you want customers to consider buying something from your business. You should convince them you're the right choice by offering helpful content that addresses users' pain points.

The consideration stage is where users have likely already interacted with your social media posts. It's a great moment to do audience analysis and use data to create personalized content. You can also see how the new audience you're pulling in compares to your previously defined buyer personas and publish tailored content explaining how your brand can solve their problems.

At the conversion stage, you want to convert users who are most ready to buy. Some of them might need an extra push, though, and this is where highly personalized content comes into play.

Because purchases usually take place on a website, you can leverage a whole range of individualized messages - from pop-up coupons with your followers' names to personalized thank-you pages.

Focus on one-to-one interactions


Personalized marketing is not only about relevant content, but also about meaningful interactions between your brand and your target audience.

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Source: Groove HQ

As you can see, only 16% of consumers want to interact with businesses on social media - a clear proof that marketers still don't get personalization and targeting right. Fixing this issue by delivering value to your target audience will help you change this number.

One-to-one interactions with your followers should be a key point on any social media marketer's agenda. And we don't mean social customer care only! Answering your customers' questions (or complaints) surely is important, but you also need to engage your audience in meaningful conversations, through both direct messaging and public comments.

Examples of great personalized marketing on social media

Personalizing social media marketing efforts can be tricky, but some brands get it just right. Here are examples of brilliant individualized campaigns you can draw inspiration from:

Lexus


To promote its new car model, the luxury vehicle brand, Lexus, launched a massive Facebook Beyond Utility campaign of over 1000 (!) videos. These videos featured everyday items that are useful next to those that are both useful and chic, which highlighted the fusion of utility and style that Lexus' car represents. 

A different version of the video were shown to Facebook users, depending on their demographics, location, likes, and interests. For instance, a user interested in music would see a regular pair of headphones, followed by a pair of high-end designer headphones.

The highly relevant, targeted ads enabled Lexus to reach over 11M unique Facebook users and increase engagement by a whopping 1678%. Talk about the power of personalization!

Cadbury


Cadbury, a British confectionery company, wanted to promote the idea of chocolate as a thoughtful gift in India. To achieve that, the brand launched a smart video campaign, where users could create their own personalized videos featuring photos and names pulled from their Facebook profiles.

The videos would be generated automatically and accessible to users on the Cadbury Glow landing page. The idea hit the mark with Cadbury's customers - as much as 90% watched their personalized videos until the very end! In addition, the campaign helped Cadbury achieve a 65% Click through Rate.

Cadbury's results show that personalized content is definitely the way to go when looking to improve your social media engagement and conversions.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines


Even though the Surprise campaign by the Dutch airlines KLM is already 8 years old, it remains one of the best examples of personalized interaction between a brand and its customers.

KLM wanted to make travelling a much more pleasant experience for its passengers. But instead of resorting to clichéd discount coupons or free coffee, the company decided to surprise travellers with personalized gifts.

To do that, KLM leveraged publicly available data from the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and FourSquare profiles of those travelling with the airline. They used that data to come up with gifts tailored to their passengers' interests.

What did that look in practice? If you were a woman keen on jogging, you received a sports watch prior to your departure. Nothing short of impressive!

Although there were limits to how many gifts KLM could distribute, the passengers that received one have surely spread the positive word on the KLM brand. Add an extra layer of the earned media exposure the campaign received, and there’s little that can challenge its success.

The Takeaway

If there's one point you can take away from this guide, it's this: personalization isn't really about content, but about your audience. Today's advanced audience analysis tools open doors to creating individualized experiences your social media followers are demanding. By embracing personalized marketing, you can answer this need and generate tangible value for your business. And the best part? The market still hasn't fully tapped into personalization, which means it's a perfect time for you to get a head start!


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