Social Media – Bringing Brands and Millennials Together

A survey conducted by Radius Global Marketing shows key differences in the shopping habits, preferences and influencing habits of millennials (age 18-32) as contrasted with baby boomers (49-67). As a means of obtaining information, word-of-mouth is king for millennials, while baby boomers prefer advertising. Since millennials are projected to soon – by 2015! – have the greatest combined purchasing power ($2.45 trillion annually worldwide) of any generation, the most logical way for a business to reach them would be through the channels with the greatest resonance for them – social media, smart phones, reviews, blogs and the various other outlets they favor.

However, with the explosion of social media and a marketplace that’s bursting at the seams with new products and services, this generation has become extremely picky about the information it consumes.

So what do we know about “millennials,” other than that they have made the business world sit up and take notice?

  • Millennials’ penchant for social media is akin to the devotion of a bike enthusiast for a vintage Honda CB750. Not only does technology rule over their every moment – from email to Facebook to documenting their experiences on blogs – when it comes to purchasing or researching a buy, most millennials prefer to do it online. Impulse buys are a thing of the past. As a millennial myself, any purchase I’ve made this past year has first been thoroughly vetted. This involves combing through Yelp and Google for customer reviews, checking out blog posts with brand mentions, and scanning the brands’ own social media pages for purchasers’ opinions.
  • Social media is thus an essential tool for millennials, both for research and for sharing their post-purchase experiences with friends and followers. Social media provides a platform to interact with both brands and people. This makes it essential for a business to hone its brand message before unveiling it to an audience that uninhibitedly airs its likes and dislikes for the whole world to see.
  • Millennials’ conversations about a brand cannot be controlled. They prefer to be “talked with” rather than “talked to,” and they are not afraid to explore. Once a brand has passed their exacting screening standards, it will have an active brand advocate because millennials are looking for brands they can trust and grow with. Think of them as commitment-phobes looking to build relationships with only “ideal” brands, much like the quest for an ideal mate. The search for this ideal can be complex, but once they’ve found what they’re looking for, their chosen “ideal” brands have in them a treasure trove of influential defenders and promoters who will amplify brand messaging and attract new customers.
  • Millennials gravitate toward brands that produce content that relates to their lives. They prefer to consume this content on their own terms and through their own preferred social media channels. So it is important to balance a “traditional” campaign (broadcast ads, billboards, print) with a healthy dose of social media. Social media channels are springing up everywhere, multiplying like feral cats. And while it’s not necessary to join every new social media channel that bursts upon the scene, it is critical to participate actively in the ones that appeal to your target audience.

Brands can post content in varied ways – infographics, videos or snapshots – that can be shared on their Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages. The number of consumers digesting this content is hard to quantify but gratifying to ponder because can be quite large. Choice is the key word. You may not be able to control millennials’ buying practices, but you can definitely sway their opinions with your message, giving them the opportunity to pick you.

Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Give us a call, and let us help you get get your message across to this generation of highly influential players.

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