Millennials are the biggest influencers in the marketplace today. Getting them to connect with your brand is key to not only success but survival. Millennials are not wooed by traditional forms of advertising, so you need to innovate to gain their attention, spending power, and all their friends on Instagram.
- Get Serious About Social Media
To reach millennials you need to go to them, and where they are is on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are where tens of millions of millennials get their news and entertainment. Meet them there, making sure your brand is present across each social media platform that makes sense for your target market. For some industries Instagram might be the best platform and in others Facebook or Snapchat may be a better fit. Keep in mind that Millennials don’t want to be bombarded by traditional advertising (think a billboard on their mobile phone), but want to connect to a brand in an organic, non-intrusive way. This could mean eye-catching photos on Instagram, or using Twitter to comment on current events while highlighting your brand and using a great hashtag. Your brand needs to be seen as useful, informative and relevant in the life of a millennial for it to create initial interest, influence, and loyalty.
- Build a Millennial Referral Engine
Millennials, more than previous generations, trust their friends and family before authoritative ads. If your brand is shared by a friend, it is much more likely to be received and trusted by a millennial. Millennials value relationships over authority, and would rather be introduced to a brand through a trusted contact than feel they are being forced to see through an overt ad—and worst of all, right before their favorite show on YouTube. Become the brand that is talked about over social media and in workplaces by adding value, timeliness, and candor to the Millennial conversation.
- Be Who You Are (and ditch the word Authentic)
Millennials will be able to sniff out advertising that feels like it is only there to make a buck rather than solve a problem or represent a lifestyle. Being who you are is a critical step in the right direction to connecting with millennials. This means going behind the scenes to show how your product are made, the problems you are passionate about solving, and being candid that you’re interested in customers who want the same goals and priorities. Prove to your customers that they are important to you through every interaction they have with your brand. Customer service is more important and transparent than ever, so make sure the people representing your brand are genuine and empathetic—whether online, in person, or in a chat box.
- Don’t Be Predictable
Millennials think predictable means boring and outdated. For example, are you selling computers? Start a poetry campaign. Are you promoting a cereal brand? Create a music video (or an online contest to make a music video). Millennials are hungry for entertainment, life skills, and information about the current events around them. Whatever your brand is, you need to find new and interesting ways to connect it back to the millennial’s life. Think outside of the box; do not let your brand keep you in one category or one lane of marketing. In fact, the more unpredictable you are in alignment with your purpose, the more Millennials will connect with you and share your marketing with all their friends.
It’s absolutely true that connecting to millennials as consumers can be challenging because traditional forms of advertising simply don’t work like they used to (or at all). Apply the 4 steps above to start connecting to millennials in new ways, and harness the loyalty and buying power of the largest generation of consumers at exactly the time they’re establishing their brand loyalty.
What has your brand done to tap into the Millennial marketplace? Join the conversation on Twitter at @JasonDorsey or @WhatTheGen and don’t forget to add your #generation!