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Social Media Week – It’s time to get personal

Social media is now so important that it has its own week. This week in fact. Social Media Week.

Yes, this week the brightest and best from the world of social media are descending upon Victoria House in Holborn to give talks and run workshops. We went along today to pick up some tips that could give small businesses an edge on their competition:

The talk that caught our eye was Demanding Personalised Digital Experiences in Physical Stores by Tim Morgan from Mint Digital. Tim’s company works to provide digital products and solutions for brands or small businesses. One thing they have noticed recently is how successful personalising in-store shopping experiences can be.

Personalised Experiences

Personalised experiences are not a new thing. On the internet they have been around for nearly ten years and now people have come to expect it online. How many times have you seen “Welcome back Matthew” (substitute your name here) when logging into one account or another. Tim says this personalisation vastly improves the shopping experience. But why?

Why do we want things personalised?

“Personalised is better than not personalised,” says Tim, explaining that personalising a product or shopping experience has three important effects:

  • It makes things immediately remarkable.
  • It makes the product seem more thoughtful (e.g. gifts).
  • It makes things far more shareable.

“The continued advancement in technology allows the mass personalisation of physical goods,” says Tim, and this is very good for small businesses.

Why is this good for small businesses?

Firstly, it is proven to work. Tim used the example of a small business called Boomf. They sell marshmallows. The difference being that their customers can print any image or message they like on to the marshmallow and send them wherever they want in the world to whomever they want. There’s nothing remarkable about a marshmallow but a marshmallow with your face on it is suddenly irresistible. Normally online, Boomf experimented with personalising marshmallows in-store. The customers loved the experience so much that Boomf now has a permanent stall in Selfridges.

Secondly, it’s not hard to do. Any small business can adopt personalisation. For a barber it could be as simple projecting your customer’s name on the mirror (I’ll have the Matthew). A bakery could brand the name of their customers’ pre-orders on to the bread. You can programme your database to send out messages on your customers’ birthdays. For more inspiration, see what Lost My Name have done with their children’s books.

"Experiences are the new consumer goods."

Where does social media come into this?

The social media landscape is very fertile ground for personalisation. Tim said personalising things makes them more shareable. Social media is where people come to share.

Brands have picked up on this and we’ve seen several very successful examples. Burberry’s #tweetcam campaign was one of them – if fans used their hashtag during London Fashion Week they would receive a real-time photo from the catwalk featuring their personal twitter handle. It attracted thousands of interactions.

It’s these personalised experiences that are resonating with consumers. Tim stressed how important the consumer experience is for businesses, suggesting: “Experiences are the new consumer goods. We’re not defined by the things we have but the things we’ve done. People don’t share photos of their new deep-fat fryer, they share pictures of their meal.”

So, how can you make your customers’ experience more shareable, more remarkable and more thoughtful? Get personal.

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