You can have the best content in the world that is targeted to millennials but it will only be effective if your content is published where your audience is and provides immediate value. When looking at the landscape of how to reach millennials, it’s important to know the lay of the land. As we discussed in a previous post, it starts with understanding the anatomy of a millennial:
- Understanding who millennials are
- Understanding their values
- Understanding their behaviour
- Knowing where to reach them
The next step is to figure out how to effectively reach them and the action you want them to take. Your wonderfully crafted content and messaging will likely go unnoticed if you aren’t engaging with millennials on their terms, or through their preferred platforms. Get your next marketing initiative noticed and heard by millennials by answering these key questions:
1. What do you want from millennials?
Knowing what you want from this budding relationship will play a significant role in your strategy on how to use various social channels. Narrow down the key action you want a millennial to take by asking yourself: What is the most important goal? And how can I develop clear calls to action to achieve this goal?
- Are you looking for millennials to be repeat visitors on your site to consume product info, industry news or current events?
- Are you trying to convert them to a paying customer? Increase their current spend?
- Do you want them to tell their friends about their great experience with your brand?
- Do you want to increase customer loyalty?
If yes to any of these, you should also be asking yourself:
- What is the most effective platform for attaining these goals?
- What type of content will resonate with millennials?
- Who will they actually listen to?
2. What is their behaviour and expectations?
With smartphones allowing millennials to constantly be connected, millennials have become conditioned to want information right now. Over 55 percent of the 684 millennial teens interviewed stated that their smartphone is the most important device to them, according to Social Media Today. They want to conduct a search the moment they need an answer and they expect to be able to do so quickly and efficiently. This group is making decisions faster and more often than ever, to the point that it can lead to decision fatigue. So knowing what type of information millennials are looking for on specific platforms is a key piece of the puzzle in your marketing success.
But what’s more, is knowing how they engage and interact across social communities.
By answering the questions listed earlier, and using data and what we know about various social channels, a sound marketing plan for targeting millennials can be developed. I will add the caveat that social media use is always evolving so what may be true today may be different in six months. One of the responsibilities of a modern marketer is to constantly be learning and staying up-to-date, however by asking these questions and looking for the most current facts you’ll be on the right path.
3. Where can I find millennials?
52% of online users in 2014 used two or more social media sites, compared to 42% in the previous year. With the majority of people subscribing to multiple social networks and each social network serving a different purpose, there isn’t just one simple answer to this question. But that’s not a bad thing. It means there are more opportunities to reach millennials that provide different ways of getting creative with your content.
Two key themes have emerged in millennials use of Facebook. 88 percent of millennials use Facebook for news and current events and 57 percent do so at least once a day, according to the American Institute. Knowing that this is the source of info for this target market is powerful if your content and business model focuses on subscribers of readers and return site visitors. Millennials are looking for others’ opinions and to share and comment with theirs. You can improve your engagement and amplification through shares and comments by going to the audience and their social community.
The millennial group also participates in news in ways that are not entirely possible in more traditional platforms. Six in 10, for instance, say they regularly “like” a posted news story, headline, or link. 42 percent say they regularly post or share news content to Facebook themselves, and 34 percent say they regularly comment on news stories, headlines, or links. Only 11 percent of Facebook users say they do not do any of these things.
Getting a new customer is only half the battle. The other half is keeping customers and making them loyal brand advocates. Facebook is also incredibly useful in providing customer service. There are no character restrictions and millennials tend to choose making a customer complaint on Facebook versus a website because it will often provide a faster response. This explains why 52 percent of brands now believe that it is more effective to use social media for customer service.
Millennials turn to blogs before making a purchase decision far more than any other platform. 33 percent of millennials refer to blogs in their buying process vs 3 percent that go to the news, TV or books. This is largely due to the fact that 43 percent of millennials value authenticity over content when consuming news. They consider the source and tend to value and trust individuals and employee advocates over companies. By partnering and establishing a relationship with influencers and brand advocates who own these blogs, you can gain credibility and the trust of your target market.
Millennials make up more than half of users on Twitter so it’s an effective platform for reaching this market. However, millennials do not simply respond to general tweets and sponsored ads. 62 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They are looking for engagement and a brand that is connecting on a personal level. Like Oreo, who uses humour and regular promotions to engage their audience.
Another great example is Taco Bell who exchanges tweets with customers on a regular basis.
It’s no secret that visuals have become one of the most important aspects of social media marketing. And one of the most effective social platforms for sharing visual content is Instagram, a favourite amongst millennials. Instagram has over 300 million active users and of that, 73 percent are millennials.
As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, which makes Instagram a fantastic place for marketers to share the story of their brand. Millennials have also adopted it as an integral and continuous part of their daily routine. Unlike other social networks, it doesn’t have large fluctuations of use and engagement in small windows throughout the day as it’s accessed by its users on an ongoing basis. In a study conducted by Facebook, 69 percent of millennials check Instagram at home, 39 percent while going to sleep whereas 33 percent of them when they wake up.
Millennials make up 7 in 10 Snapchat users so if you are looking for a high concentration in numbers of millennials, this is the place to be. Unlike many other areas of advertising, millennials are likely to pay attention and engage with brands that they see content from on Snapchat. In fact, 77 percent of college students are using Snapchat on a daily basis, and what’s more compelling is that almost half of those ‘snapchatters’ said they would open a Snap from a brand they have never heard of, while 73 percent would open one from a known brand.
As mentioned above, visuals are increasingly playing a larger role in social media marketing as people are taking a preference to consuming content that is entirely visual or is supported by pictures and videos. Although adoption of Pinterest may have been slower out of the gate after it launched in 2010, it has been increasing its user base, including with millennials. Between fall 2013 and spring 2014, Pinterest usage rose from 25 percent to 33 percent, according to Business Intelligence. Not only is Pinterest’s adoption rate increasing, but so is its conversion rate, making it a valuable sales tool for your brand.
Pinterest is very influential with millennials when it comes to their purchasing decisions. 47 percent of respondents said that they made a purchase after pinning it on Pinterest, according to this survey by the Center for Marketing Research University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Five years ago, when you thought of search engines, Google was the obvious first choice. People even refer to searching as ‘Googling’. But for millennials, YouTube is considered the #2 most used search engine in the world. Video content on social media has changed how millennials consume content. It’s changed the way millennials are making purchasing decisions. 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision-making process. It also allows marketers to create more dynamic content on social. Video has become such an integral part of marketing to millennials we decided to create a post dedicated to video, so stay tuned for part three in our millennial series.
Let’s revisit the questions above and consider how marketers and brands can amplify their message. Are there relationships that can be leveraged? Are you ensuring the content is getting out to where your target market is hanging out online?
Millennials tune out mass advertising and turn to peer reviews for advice on products and services. Partnering with influencers can help create brand awareness, get the word out there about new products and increase engagement.
When trusted influencers in the social media community are talking about a new product or service they love, millennials listen. Influencers have created their own personal brands through their passion, subject matter expertise and authenticity. That’s what millennials love. They know that influencers are honest and authentic. They aren’t creating their content for increase market share, they are doing it because of a personal passion and interest in a certain topic. This resonates with millennials on an emotional and intellectual level.
Establishing appropriate content, knowing where to publish, and partnering with the right people to amplify to their audience creates a very powerful marketing strategy.
Knowing that 1 percent of millennials pay attention to ads and 33 percent refer to peer reviews, I know where I’m hedging my bets when it comes to marketing and content placement.
When you put all of these components together there’s still one piece of the puzzle missing: A strategy that includes cross-channel experiences.
Each social platform provides its own unique value and the majority of social media users have numerous social network accounts that are used regularly. Appeal to the masses and your target audience by investing in a strategy that takes advantage of what each network has to offer.
Attract new customers through visuals through Snapchat and Instagram. Create a fun community through YouTube and Facebook, and keep your customers and brand advocates loyal through effective customer service engagement on Facebook and Twitter. Think of the cross-channel experience as an eyeshadow palette or sports team. You can’t create a smoky look with one colour or a football team solely with offensive players.
Be dynamic. Be fun and creative. Be where your audience is.
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