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Dale Carnegie, author of one of the first best-selling self-help books published, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” taught, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” While his advice came long before social media, this insight remains true and reminds marketers that personalized content is important in this digital age for social media strategy.

Real world example

How important is personalized content? Take the example of Coca-Cola, one of the most recognized brands in the world. Soda sales were slumping. Then, in 2015, the brand personalized its labels with 250 popular names as part of its “Share a Coke” campaign. In doing so, the company “reversed a decade-long decline in U.S. Coke consumption,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Compelling statistics

The concept that one size fits all no longer works for content marketing. Today’s consumers are beginning to expect some degree of personalized marketing. The numbers don’t lie and there are many that support this concept.

According to research by Janrain, 74 percent of consumers get frustrated when website content appears that has nothing to do with their interests.

“These results align perfectly with additional market research indicating that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” said Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain. “It’s a wake up call for brands to fix this problem or risk losing customers and prospects.”

Research by Econsultancy in association with Monetate found that marketers see an average sales increase of 20 percent when personalizing content. Additionally, 61 percent of consumers state they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy, according to a Demand Metric study.

Connecting

Online personalizing delivers for businesses when a better customer experience is available. Personalized content builds trust and creates relationships. On websites, you can create this personal appeal when you provide relevant content for your target audience.

In social media, there is the ability to be more high touch with users. Social media provides the opportunity to directly answer questions and engage the audience. While it is possible to program automated responses, consumers know when they are dealing with a robot. Personal interaction with an actual person on the other end goes a long way in building a true relationship. Such activity in social media is more likely to be well-received and the experience shared with friends. In fact, about 71 percent of consumers respond according to the feedback and recommendation of social users regarding a particular brand.

Getting personal

Every social media platform is different, and we should approach each platform according to their unique ways to interact with audiences. Additionally, marketers should always keep in mind the user base of each social media platform. For example, the way you approach and engage users on Pinterest differs greatly from the way you interact with Facebook users. Take time to understand each platform.

That said, there are some overarching ways to increase personalized interactions on social media, including integration, interaction, sharing and using big data.

When you integrate your social media with other marketing, you create a seamless experience for users. According to SteamFeed, using social media can increase website traffic by 60 percent. Additionally, 93 percent of shoppers will make buying decisions based on social media influences.

Interacting with users directly such as thanking, mentioning and tagging them lets them know you are there for them.  Consider conducting polls and asking their opinions. Your audience will then know you care about what they think.

Reaching out to followers

In addition to thanking users who follow you or like your content, consider sharing posts or retweeting their relevant content. You develop authority when you post your own content. However, you can become a trusted curator when you share information others have put on social media. Adding your voice to their content gives it value and you develop relationships with those who have similar views.

Jonathan Lakin, CEO of Intent HQ, says,“People are becoming more savvy and selective about what they share on social networks, which only makes the data being made available much richer for true personalization and creating a tailored online experience.” He also notes that when users know why they are sharing their social data and what they will get in return, they are more open to the idea.

Reach out to your followers on social media and gather information that allows you to get more personal. Information such as birthdates, location and specific “likes” permits you to send an appropriate greeting or be more direct in your messages. But remember, the user needs to be clear on what they will get in return, including a coupon, discount or other exclusive offer. Don’t risk ruining the relationship by not following up on your end of the deal.

If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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