The millennial market possesses over £150 billion of buying power. If your company can tap into this, you’ve got a real opportunity for success. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the term millennial refers to anyone between the age of 18 and 29. This group is by far the most active on social media. Many companies have tried and failed to harness the power of an engaged millennial following. If you’re going after this market, there’s a few things to consider.
1. Understand the Market
First thing’s first, it’s important to understand your market. What platforms do millennials actually use? These are the social media channels that appeal to millennials (according to Hootsuite):
• Facebook – 82% of online adults aged 18-29 use Facebook.
• Twitter – 37% of Twitter users are aged 18-29.
• Instagram – 53% of Instagram users are aged 18-29.
• Pinterest – 34% of Pinterest users are aged 18-29.
It’s clear to see that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are vital platforms to use when appealing to millennials.
Why Do Millennials Go Online?
IDG Research Group surveyed millennials in the tech industry to see why they go online. Here’s what they found:
• 75% of millennials sought news.
• 59% of millennials sought travel related topics.
• 62% of millennials sought food related sites.
The same research found that half of all millennials relied on video sharing sites whereas 52% relied on retailer websites. In total, 59% of millennials seek news and information from Social Media.
What Sites Interest Millennials?
The millennial generation won’t waste their time. If your site doesn’t offer what they’re looking for, they’ll move on. If your content is an unattractive block of text, they won’t read it. This is a generation that has grown up with an unlimited supply of information at their fingertips. To grab their attention, your site needs:
• Eye-catching graphics
• Brief, well-written and easy to understand content
• Reliable, unbiased content
• An engaged community of fans
• Useful information
• A site optimised for mobile
This research may discuss your website and content as a whole but is also directly relevant to your social media channels. Social media is quickly becoming more visual and millennials are reacting well to this. The rise of Vine proves that short snippets of video/image content achieves a high level of engagement. There are some serious considerations to make when looking at your brand’s approach to social media.
2. Share Their Values
Millennials appreciate transparency. You’re not going to pull the wool over their eyes. They know your social media presence will promote your company. Don’t shy away from this but instead capture their attention. Any account that constantly shares promotional material is boring. Appeal to their interests and talk about what’s important to them. Promotion is cool from time to time but keep it snappy with bags of personality.
Remember, millennials are naturally sceptical so don’t act like a robot churning out tweets - give your brand a human side. Dishonesty and self-obsession are unattractive qualities in a person so don’t show them as a brand. Millennials like to back companies that help the local community and those less fortunate. They believe companies have a right to ‘give something back’. Share their values and earn their respect.
3. Focus on Perception
What do people really think about your brand? Approach a random millennial on the street and hear what they have to say. Respect in this market is commanded by the crowd. So what’s their perception of you? If you’re struggling to get your head around this, think back to the unpopular kid at school. They might’ve had something interesting to say but you’d never talk to them in case you seem unpopular too.
Now, think about the psychology of sharing content online. Sharing a piece of content is more personal than just liking it. It’s like joining an in-group of people shouting at their friends about a specific cause or topic. When you think about it like this, you can understand why those recycled promo tweets aren’t getting any love. Most millennials will share a post to seem smarter, funnier, more relevant or more caring. If you can get them to feel an affinity to your brand, you’re on the right track. Your perception is everything. If you can offer something people want, aspire to be a part of or care about, they’ll share your content.
4. Resolve Issues Fast
Nobody’s perfect when it comes to social media. Every company will send a tweet that doesn’t go down too well or engage in a chat where they’re not welcome. We live in a time when these mistakes can be quickly highlighted to others – or even go viral. In such cases, comedy is a great tool. Now, we’re not saying you should make jokes about something serious but if the situation allows it, it’s okay to laugh at yourself. This can actually earn a lot of respect.
When an issue arises, deal with it fast, effectively and with personality. Remember to show the human side of your brand. If your company is customer focussed then you’ll get complaints, it’s a part of business. It’s how you deal with those complaints that can earn a loyal following. Most millennials will read reviews and speak to friends about their experience. Make sure it’s a positive message being spread.
5. Share the Love
It’s well-known that people buy from people, not companies. How do you transfer this to social media? The answer is to do this through influencers. We’re not saying you have to go to Kim Kardashian to promote your lipstick or to David Beckham for your sportswear. It’ll never happen (unless you’ve got a marketing budget the size of Coca-Cola). You can tap into influencers at low levels without breaking the bank.
We live in an age where the majority of people share content online. Highlight a niche community, follow users to get yourself noticed and retweet occasional relevant posts. This’ll build an affinity and you’re more likely to earn retweets from that individual. Other friends will see it and appreciate that your brand is relevant to them. Millennials buy and engage through the activities and recommendations of their friends. So get their friends to engage and they will too. Try searching for bloggers that write about your industry. Share your product or service with them in return for a review. This is all about building your reputation.
6. Get Personal
We’re going to be honest with you. Targeting millennials isn’t an exact science. There isn’t a secret formula that’ll suddenly make you popular among the younger generation. There are lots of audience building techniques that are as relevant to millennials as they are to anyone else. Millennials are all over social media and companies naturally radiate towards them. Though many just get it wrong. The trick is to be different and personal. Be savvy, monitor conversations and understand what they care about.
Only in exceptional circumstances will millennials read long content. This isn’t how to get noticed. Keep it short, sweet and bitesize. Appeal to individuals, not a mass collective. If there’s one thing this generation hates, it’s stereotypes. Ignore the grumpy anti-social teenager image you may have. Focus on the insightful and intelligent young adults who take an active interest in issues relating to them.
7. Understand Digital Expectations
Millennials have grown up in a world surrounded by technology. They seem to have an innate ability to adjust to new tech. This generation will soon be the decision makers of this world, now is the time to win them over. Millennials expect to be connected. They expect your brand to be on social media. They expect you to answer their questions quickly. Your interaction with millennials should be seamless and effective. Take a multi-channel approach. They won’t expend much energy searching for you. If you’re not visible, you’ll lose business.
Are you looking to boost engagement on social media? Do you need help growing your audience? Is your brand attempting to unlock the millennial market? Get in touch and see how we can help.