It seems that everyone these days is fixated on how they can appeal to Millennials – and rightfully so. In the US alone, they make up about a quarter of the population and wield an annual spending power of $200 billion. You can hardly fault a brand for trying to get their piece of the pie.

Characterized by a lifelong relationship with technology, these ‘digital natives’ are consuming media in ways that have changed the entire landscape of marketing. They’re experts at getting information quickly and efficiently, and they’re very discerning. They’re a tough generational nut to crack, but let’s look at a few tips you can use to start building a more Millennial-friendly social media marketing strategy.

5 Great Social Media Marketing Tips For Appealing To Millennials

1) Recognize the difference between young and old Millennials

I’ll kick things off by defining the term ‘Millennial’. While the exact dates vary, most studies on the matter agree that Millennials are born between roughly 1980 and 2000. This means that the youngest Millennials are still navigating the angsty waters of high school, while the eldest will soon be pushing forty. It also means that the oldest could be parents to the youngest.

Naturally, there is going to be a difference in how to market optimally to both groups. Young Millennials, for example, spend more time on social media across a wider set of platforms and have a higher tendency to use it as a source of news or information. Meanwhile, older Millennials use Facebook less frequently for news, and more for social interaction. I, like many others, fall somewhere near the middle and share experiences with both young and old Millennials.

While it is convenient to think of Millennials as one uniform group, remember that there can be just as much diversity within the group as there is between other generations. And that might mean adopting an equally diverse marketing approach if your goal is to capture the whole set.

2) Use shareable content to target social groups

One of the key things to understand about Millennials is that they are highly prone to suggestion from friends. In a study on young Millennials, 95% said that friends are the most credible source of product information while 91% claimed they would consider purchasing a product if a friend recommended it. Another study by the McCarthy Group found that close friends, followed by news reports and friends on social media, ranked the highest in terms of trust among Millennials.

Clearly, this is something brands should look to take advantage of. By making content as shareable as possible, they can increase brand advocacy within social groups. Millennials are looking to things like their friends’ Instagram profiles and Pinterest boards to inform their shopping habits, so consider ramping up your presences in those spheres.

3) Swap traditional advertising for compelling content

The McCarthy Group study also found that, while friends ranked the highest in terms of trust, advertising and sales people ranked the lowest. To make things worse, 84% of Millennials said they flat out don’t like advertising. Daunting statistics, surely.

In order to overcome these odds, marketers need to start investing in content that feels authentic and provides value to the consumer without an in-your-face sales message.

Take advantage of the fact that Millennials are 247% more likely than others to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites and make content creation a staple of your marketing strategy. The more value you can add, the more traffic you’ll get and the more credible your brand will be.

Whole Foods have done an excellent job of providing useful, quality blog content for their health-conscious clientele. Their recipes and tips are at such a high standard, it almost feels incidental that all the ingredients are available in their stores.

4) Use social for community management

Here’s an interesting stat – 81% of Millennials prioritize “fast” service over “friendly” service. We all know how much Millennials love social media, and it happens to be one the quickest and most direct ways to tackle customer issues. So why not start using it as part of your community management? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to get you started.

Let’s also get one thing straight – Millennials might want to be served quickly, but no one wants unhelpful customer support. If you’re pressed for time and see a customer that needs attention, don’t try to rush out a half-baked response. A quick “Thanks for your message, we will look into it” lets them know that their voice has been heard and gives you time to adequately deal with their query.

To really improve your response times, try using Locowise to track your response performance. It’ll show you where you are, so you can get where you need to go.

5) Show Millennials you share their values by supporting a cause

They occupied Wall Street. They rallied against rape culture and police violence. They partied in the streets when same-sex marriage was legalized. Millennials are a socially conscious bunch, and it’s shaping their consumption habits.

A survey by Cone Communications revealed that 91% of Millennials would switch to a brand that was associated with a cause. Interestingly, the effect appears to be more pronounced in young Millenials, who are more likely to talk about corporate social responsibility on social media than older Millennials. They’re also more likely to have purchased a product with a social or environmental benefit in the past 12 months, and more of them believe that they can make a significant impact through purchases.

support a cause

One thing is clear; Millennials of all ages are likely to support your brand if you can show that you share their values. TOMS shoes has quickly become the classic example. One Forbes contributor wrote, “I have a Millennial-aged friend who only wears Toms shoes despite the fact these shoes hurt his feet, cannot be worn in the rain or cold, and fall apart within weeks simply because he strongly believes in its mission of providing shoes to third-world children”.

Key Takeaways

– Think of ways to appeal to both young and old Millennials
– Create content that is easily shared within social groups – Millenials trust their friends above all!
– Move away from traditional advertising and focus on producing authentic, quality content
– Use social media to quickly address customer concerns
– Identify with a worthwhile cause that Millennials can relate to

Locowise is loaded with actionable metrics, including data on how your brand is resonating with consumers in different age groups. Want to see how you’re performing with Millennials? Sign up for a 14-day free trial.