5 Examples of Personalization in Social Media Marketing

Stefan Debois | November 28, 2018

Let’s start with a simple question - how well do you know your social media followers?

In this day and age, they shouldn’t be able to keep a secret from you.

Personalization in SMM

Social media marketers have a massive amount of data and information at their disposal, yet not many make use of it as much as they can. Apart from using these insights to optimize your marketing, you could also use data to personalize your social media messages. If there is one social media marketing strategy you should start leveraging, it's personalized marketing or personalization.

What is personalized marketing?

Personalized marketing uses data to deliver more relevant messages to your target audience. In other words, businesses collect data on their audience’s interests, demographics, and behavior to create more relevant and valuable content.

This is becoming increasingly important as people have content coming at them from every direction. If you want any chance to stand out, you’ll have to add some personalization.

A study by University of Texas showed that personalization helps you reach consumers in two ways:

  1. Personalized content makes consumers feel that they have some control over what they wish to see.
  2. It saves them from information overload.

Sounds obscure? It isn’t. You have been served with personalized content multiple times.

Take Netflix, for example. They offer more than 4,000 shows on their platform. It’s impossible to go through all of them manually. So they created the "Recommended for you" section. Based on the shows you watched in the past, it will suggest other shows you’re likely to enjoy.

Sociel pilot - netflix recommendations

Note how they also use personal information such as someone’s first name to personalize this page: “Top Picks for Joshua”. The algorithms behind these recommendations filter out all irrelevant shows, improving your viewing experience and ultimately keeping you longer on the platform.

So, how can you use personalization in social media marketing (SMM)?

Turns out there are multiple ways to do it. Here are 5 examples of how you can use personalized content in SMM.

1. Personalization in social media retargeting campaigns

Retargeting campaigns offer incredible opportunities when you combine them with personalization.

Retargeting is the practice of sending targeted advertising to people who’ve already interacted with your website in one way or another. For example, someone read one of your blog posts, they visited your pricing page, they added a product to their shopping cart, etc.

You can target any of these people with a separate, personalized message, showing dynamic ads of the same product they had checked on your site earlier. Or, after they made a purchase, show them ads of additional products.

Think Amazon’s recommendation engine:

social pilot - amazon recommendations

You can’t get more personal than this. You could even opt to put products into different groups to present the most relevant ad in every situation. In many cases, segmented marketing also allows for amazing personalization in ads.

Take a look at what Expedia did:

social pilot - expedia 1

People who clicked this ad and searched for hotels in Whistler were later retargeted with the following ad on Facebook.

social pilot - expedia 2

Showing specific copy aimed at common pain points can help the customer feel like you really understand them. This can help start the relationship off on the right foot.

But what about existing or previous customers? Re-engagement campaigns with copy like “It’s been a while and we’ve missed you” can feel a little more personal to users who haven’t purchased recently. It reflects on their current standing with your business, and even if it’s a mass email or social ad, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it talks to many users.

2. Personalized videos

One of the most used types of content on social media is video content. And recently, we’ve been seeing companies take it one step further by creating personalized videos.

One example is the little videos Facebook makes for users, showing them the social history of a particular friendship. These videos only hold value to you and your friends, which makes it as personal and relevant as it gets.

social pilot - facebook

But we’re not Facebook and we can’t all start a social network site to do this kind of thing. Luckily, you can simply leverage Facebook’s data to create personalized videos.

Cadbury ran a campaign using this tactic. They collected data from their Facebook fans’ profiles - information like age, location, and even their interests. Of course - the users had agreed to connect with the brand and let them see their on-platform information. (Don’t forget about the GDPR regulations if you’re operating in Europe).

The video used a combination of personal photos and information to match users with a flavor of chocolate. It was generated automatically, and users were given a truly personalized video.

For example, this is how George’s video looked like:

Right now, this technology may be a bit expensive for most companies, but it will become more accessible to all brands in the future.

Personalized videos are basically a slightly more complex version of a quiz, which we all know users love to share on their own profiles.

3. Personalized social media quizzes

Quizzes do two things very well:

  1. They engage your audience.
  2. And they will help you gather pertinent information needed to personalize your users’ experiences.

As an added bonus, they are also extremely sharable according to Buzzsumo, which stated that the average quiz is shared up to 1,900 times.

This means that you will have way more opportunities to gather the needed information for personalizing. All of this will make your visitors more likely to participate in your quiz, providing you information to personalize their experiences.

That’s exactly what Eneco, energy producers and suppliers, did. In just 6 weeks, Eneco collected more than 1000 conversions with a single quiz - 5X times more than what they had expected.

social pilot -eneco

So how did they do it?

They launched a Facebook Ads and Google Ads Display campaign to target and retarget website visitors with their quiz. The quiz called was called “Calculaadtor”, a calculator that could give people a good indication of what it would cost to buy a home charger for their electric car. People answered the short, easy questions and the questionnaire gave them a ton of information in return.

Afterwards it allowed Eneco to send highly targeted emails and information to these prospects based on their answers.

4. Personalized social media chatbots

Chatbots have been quite popular lately, and for a good reason as they have huge potential. But let’s take it one step further and see if we can personalize this tool.

Aside from inserting the user’s first name, most chatbot conversations are rather impersonal. I often like to compare it to a good salesperson. They will ask you questions and offer recommendations tailored to the information you give him. They will craft a personalized experience based on the answers of each individual.

In theory, a chatbot can do the same, albeit virtually.

One example that’s doing a great job at that is Verve.

social pilot - verve 1

They implement feedback from to user to give personalized work-out advice.

5. Personalized real-life campaigns based on social media data

You could even use data to personalize real-life campaigns.

How would you like to receive a personalized gift, when you are sitting in the airport? KLM, the Dutch Airline, did just that. They called it KLM Surprise.

They installed a team at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, who would track down KLM passengers who checked in via Foursquare to surprise them with a personalized gift that made their travel even more enjoyable. The team scanned the passengers’ social profiles to come up with personalized gifts for each of them.

They made a mini-documentary of the campaign and made a special website with all the KLM surprise stories. It was picked up worldwide and shared massively via social media.

It proved social media is not just a medium, but a massive PR instrument if you use it correctly.

Conclusion

Personalization in social media marketing is a must-have.

When everybody is competing for the attention of the same audience, it’s going to become even more important to personalize your social media messages. Technologies will continue to make content more personalized and more relevant, and the businesses who don’t keep up will be left behind.

Even in B2B environments, you can use these tactics to reach influencers, just the other day I got mentioned in an article and shared on Twitter:

social pilot - linkedin mention

I just had to share it with my following. Wouldn’t you have the done the same if someone made a post with your picture?

These were just 5 examples. Did you encounter any other personalized campaigns recently? Share them with me in the comments!

Picture of Stefan Debois

Stefan Debois

Stefan Debois is the founder and CEO of Survey Anyplace, an online software tool to create engaging surveys, quizzes, and assessments. Besides kitesurfing, Stefan is passionate about the use of technology to build professional relationships with people, at scale.