Not too long ago, the best way to get your business out there was to pay a hefty price for traditional advertising like television, radio, or print. Today, things are much more exciting. Social media and utilizing influencers to gain brand awareness is marketing’s hottest new strategy. While this is all well and good, one very important thing seems to have been overlooked; the personal factor.

Globalization and the Internet have led to an incredible amount of competition among just about every type of brand. With this in mind, delighting your customers with a personal touch will not only set you apart from your competitors but will have them coming back for more. This is no different with commerce via social media networks.

When it comes to social media marketing, personalization is crucial. Giving followers a personal, customized experience with your feed based on their engagement behavior, demographics and interests will lead to an increase in dollar signs overall.

Personalization is a Goldmine

Being personal as either a brand or an influencer sounds nice, but is it really worth it? Do the returns outweigh the time and effort needed to offer a personal experience with your brand? The resounding answer is yes.

Because personalization results in a better browsing experience, consumers are willing to pay more for it. Unfortunately though, brands and influencers alike aren’t recognizing this fact. According to TimeTrade’s State of Retail 2017 Survey, North American businesses missed out on over $150 billion in revenue in 2016 by not taking advantage of personalization. That’s billion- with a B.

Personalization Creates Loyalty

Beyond the hope that personalization will lead to gaining more customers for your brand or followers for your feed, it’ll also help them stick around. The sad truth is that there is almost zero loyalty in commerce or social media today. If what you’re putting out there rubs someone the wrong way or your competitor is just doing it better than you, you can lose tens to hundreds of followers/customers a day. Luckily, giving people a personal experience can make all the difference in creating loyalty. With over 55% of TimeTrade survey respondents saying they’re more likely to shop somewhere that addresses them by name, offering small personal touches is clearly a huge missed opportunity.

It comes down to this; whether you’re shopping for a facemask or a fridge, there are about 100 brands offering pretty much the exact same product at the exact same price. With more and more consumers shopping online, they’re able to browse and compare notes quickly and efficiently. If you can offer your follower or customer an experience where they feel valued, they’ll likely want to give you their business first.

Personalization in Action

So we know that people crave that personal touch (figuratively speaking…or not), but what’s the best way to achieve this? Besides using people’s names, remembering their user history, and engaging with them personally, there are tactics brands/influencers can use to give their followers that fuzzy feeling.

Personalization must always start with data collection. How can you be personal with someone when you don’t know anything about them? Do NOT do this by asking them to fill out annoying surveys. The best way to do this is to give them a good reason to give you information about themselves. Make it as valuable to them as it is to you.

If you’re an influencer or brand on social media, use the features at your disposal to do this. Instagram is a great platform that allows you to get to know your followers in a fun and easy way. Use your posts to ask questions, poll what you want to know on your InstaStories, or analyze what content resonates best with your followers.

Another great way to get personal is to have loyalty programs. This can include members-only giveaways/promotions, free birthday gifts, customized packaging, or insightful newsletters. If they perceive the loyalty program as being valuable, they’ll want in.

Our final tip to personalizing your follower’s/customer’s experience with you is to participate in segmentation. Would you gift your dad and your 3-year old niece the same thing for their birthday? I really hope not. The same applies to marketing. It’s a big mistake to send out the same content to all of your customers. While they may all be interested in your brand, they’re interested for different reasons. Segment your customers into groups based on gender, geography, interests and engagement. The goal is to appeal to your customer as specifically as possible in order to make them feel understood and appreciated.

For social media influencers on Instagram, for example, segmenting is a little more difficult. The best way to appeal to the different segments is to create varying content that resonates with each group. If 70% of you followers are from North America and the other 30% are from Europe, make sure you’re posting content that is relevant to both groups.