Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Though many still consider millennials as a younger generation, they are actually in their late 20s to early 40s and were the first generation to access social media. As such, they are the most active generation on social media, using it as a catch-all for their daily needs. From networking and socializing to shopping and staying up-to-date on current affairs and news, millennials incorporate social media into just about every aspect of their life.
While younger generations entering early adulthood are also highly active on social media and should not be forgotten, millennials are today’s primary consumers and who businesses should consider most when developing a social media marketing strategy.
The issue with marketing to millennials is that someone in their late 20s to early 30s is likely going to have different wants and needs from someone in their late 30s to early 40s — but as both of these age groups make up the millennial generation, deciding how to reach and influence them can pose a challenge. With this article, we’ll look at the unique needs and values of millennials to help marketers better understand the social media strategies they should be using.
Understanding How Millennials Interact With Social Media
Millennials are often a misunderstood generation. Due to outdated stereotypes and ways of thinking, older generations often still think of them as being young, inexperienced, and still in college. But in reality, many of them already hold professional careers with mid to senior-level experience, own homes, or desire to own a home and have families of their own to take care of.
Unfortunately, due to some of these misconceptions about millennials and their varied age range, marketers have a hard time pinning them down and understanding how to reach them. But as they are the primary users of social media, it’s essential to understand their wants and needs to develop a successful marketing strategy.
Understanding how millennials use and interact with social media and brands on the internet is key. The majority of millennials use social media to communicate with friends and family, learn about trends, get breaking news, and even just to kill time. The source linked above also states that around 75% of millennials use social media to engage with brands. Millennials also have strong values and opinions and thus have higher expectations when it comes to the brands they interact with. For example, ethical, mindful, and authentic brands are preferred over others.
Tips for Marketing to the Millennial Generation
You could say that millennials are very discerning and have a more critical eye than other generations. They have high expectations, meaning your marketing strategy should steer clear of gimmicky and one-size-fits-all content. They want to feel like you truly care about them and their values and aren’t just trying to sell them a product to make money. That’s not to say that your social media marketing should be serious — it can be fun and lighthearted — but above all, it needs to feel genuine.
Below are some of the top tips for reaching millennials using social media marketing:
1. Focus on Values
When it comes to reaching and influencing millennials, there needs to be a value incentive — it should not simply be all about your product or service. Millennials have a very ethical and philanthropic mindset. They have high values and want to know that the brands they support also care about these things as well, such as sustainability, LGBTQ+ rights, inclusivity, and anti-racism.
2. Be Authentic
The millennial generation also prefers brands that don’t come across as “pitchy” — a.k.a. they don’t want a sales pitch; they want the honest truth. Authenticity is gold. They want to know that you care and that your product can genuinely benefit them. This means creating content that is relatable and doesn’t come across as fake. If your advertising feels inauthentic, they are only too happy to find what they need elsewhere.
3. Utilize User Generated Content and Influencers
As a tie-in to being authentic, you should consider user-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing. Reposting and sharing content from other users that post about your brand or products is an excellent way to expand your reach, but it also shows that you care about your customers and love them as much as they love you. UGC also feels more real and relatable, which millennials love. This includes using influencers to promote your brand. Influencers are typically part of the generation you are targeting, so they have a better understanding of what their fellow consumers want and like to see.
4. Be Proactive and Engaging
Millennials have high expectations when it comes to customer service, which today goes beyond simply responding to emails and calls in a friendly and helpful manner. Social media is an excellent way for brands to provide customer service and engage with their customers. When users post about your products or your brand, respond to them — interact with them. Millennials love when brands have a sense of humor and reply to their tweets or Instagram posts with comments that are both witty and helpful. You need to be proactive with your engagement; don’t simply wait for them to come to you. You need to show them that you are actively listening and present — that you know “what’s up” and genuinely enjoy interacting with them.
5. Use a Design Thinking Approach
Overall, when attempting to understand and reach millennials, it’s best to use an out-of-the-box approach, also known as Design Thinking. This generation values creativity and individualism, which means you can’t simply use a one-size-fits-all approach. Design Thinking is a concept or philosophy that uses creative problem solving and techniques to provide human-centered solutions. It relies heavily on empathy to prioritize people and what their genuine wants and needs are above simply coming up with a strategy to make the most money. This approach is crucial when developing a strategy for targeting millennial audiences.
It might seem like millennials are hard to understand when it comes to social media marketing, but it’s not all that complicated. Millennials simply want content that is unique, authentic, and transparent. They are attracted to brands that have the same values as they do and that aren’t afraid to be real and have fun. This, of course, requires brands to put more thought and effort into their marketing strategy, but in the end, it’s worth the effort when it gains you loyal customers and a positive brand reputation.
Author: Adrian Johansen
Adrian Johansen is a writer and marketer in the Pacific Northwest. She sees life as an opportunity for learning, and loves to share knowledge with others. You can find more of her work here.