If you’re already using social media to promote your business or offering then you may well be wondering what all the fuss is all about. If you’re not, and you’re relying on HTML email campaigns sent to lists of customers and potential customers, then 2018 is going to mark a big change in how you market your business. GDPR is going to change the way a large number of businesses do ‘business’. We’ve written about GDPR before (HERE) but for those of you who’ve been hiding in a cave, in May 2018 there will be major new legislation coming into force called the EU General Data Protection Regulation.The European Union is calling it “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years”, and it will affect any businesses that do business in the EU, not just EU based businesses.

Will social media be the solution to the GDPR problem?

Let’s face it, as marketers, when we discuss the use of social media we’re mainly focused on engagement and reach for our clients. The last thing we tend to think about is whether our audiences have actually provided us with consent to market to them. As far as consent and data use is concerned, marketing on social media portals is covered by the terms and conditions and privacy notices of each of these software tools.
Of course, this doesn’t exempt us from exercising best practice and proper care with our use of personal data from our client’s social media followers. For example, it will not be acceptable to mine customer’s email address from social media channels and then look to use that in any undeclared email marketing or data processing activities.

GDPR and Social Media: Making use of your email lists.

However, if you have a database of email addresses that you currently market to via a traditional email marketing service. Especially one that’s been cobbled together over several years from different campaigns and sign up forms, then you may well find that your list contravenes the new GDPR regulations. As such, its value is now extremely debatable. What can be done however is the creation of custom audiences from email marketing databases. Take your current email database, upload it to Facebook and create a custom audience. You can now serve adverts directly to these customers or prospects directly in-app and/or on desktop. Further to this, you can then ask Facebook to create a lookalike audience from this database, that matches the relevant demographic profiles.

Once this custom audience starts to engage with your social media content, you can start crafting specific messages and content that will resonate with them.

GDPR as an opportunity, not a problem.

By changing your outlook on GDPR is suddenly starts to look like an opportunity rather than a problem. By switching to a mobile and social first approach you can actually reduce your marketing budgets and start to target extremely well-defined target audiences with specifically crafted content that will have greater resonance. Rather than broad, catch-all approaches that miss 99% of the readership.