March 3, 2015
Maintaining Your Social Media Strategy by Tracking and Customizing

In this blog series Shaun Shaffer (a.k.a. Domingo) discusses in three parts the making of a good social media content management strategy. This blog is based on Domingo’s popular presentation at the 2014 Ingeniux User Conference

Maintaining Your Social Media Strategy by Tracking and Customizing

This last installment of my social media content management series is about customization. Imagine someone (we'll call him Jack) shares one of your pages on social media. Someone else on that social platform (we'll call her Jill) sees the link, clicks it, and follows it to your website. What do we know about Jill?

Quite a bit, actually. We know that Jill shares a social circle with Jack, and we know what social media platform Jill came from.

Well, we have the ability to know this information, at least. If you're tracking Jack, it’s easy enough to send a tracking ID with the link that helps identify who shared it and gather some taxonomical information about that person. 

Even if Jack weren't logged onto your website, you can still track him through the site using analytics. This way, you can find out what product offerings Jack was interested in based on his click stream, time spent on the page, and other metrics. With a small amount custom development, you can have social media links include a query string that stores this information and returns it to you whenever a new visitor clicks them. You should also include in the string the social media platform to which Jack is sharing the link. This is easy enough, since Jack would likely have clicked a “Share on Facebook” or “Share on Twitter” button.

After Jill clicks the link and visits your site, use that query string information to tailor her experience. Using your Ingeniux CMS, you can tailor the content that displays on your website for Jill based on Jack’s initial experience on your website. You can also display the content based on which social media platform the site visitor is coming from. For more information on targeted customer experiences using Ingeniux CMS, read this case study on the topic.

What to Do in Your CMS

To accomplish this, I usually put two sets of fields on the page for anything that will be customized. If there is set of links for related stories, I’ll have one as a default for when I know nothing about the user and one set for customization to specific audiences. This can be done for lists of components, links, images, or any other content on the page. Page layouts and written content could even be changed to target specific audiences to make your site's message clearer.

Personalized Content

The most important thing to remember about content targeting and customization is that it requires more content. You have to start by identifying the audiences and then create content to target those audiences. Ongoing maintenance should be performed to make sure that old content is pushed out for the latest sharable content

You can make these changes by duplicating existing fields on the page and adding customization twins of those fields. This requires new code to handle the logic of deciding which set of content shows up, based on the visitor's taxonomy.

Ongoing Maintenance

After you've decided to take on some of these projects, it's important to remember that you shouldn’t get comfortable. There are always new tools, new ways to target more accurately, and new options for tracking analytics.

I recommend finding tools for measuring social media effectiveness such as Agora Pulse, HootSuite, Google Analytics, and the social media platform’s own tracking tools. Facebook has a great internal tool for tracking campaigns. That said, just because a new trend comes out doesn’t mean you need to adapt it. Measure the usefulness of new things by asking yourself what the goal is for using the tool—what’s the ROI? Goals should be oriented toward business, not social. Likes don’t pay the bills.

Want more information about social media content management? Try these:

Enhancing Your Content for Social Sharing 
Presenting a More Sharable Experience

Posted by Shaun Shaffer
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