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How to Reach Millennials on Their Terms

Posted 24 October 2016 9:00 AM by Kelly Taylor, @keltaylor28, @MoxieUSA

How to Reach Millennials on Their Terms

Ah, millennials — every brand’s favorite demographic and one of marketing’s most popular buzzwords. And for good reason. With annual buying power of $200 billion and growing, millennials are the consumer group brands can’t afford to ignore. It’s time for marketers to adapt their campaigns to millennials, who now make up the bulk of the workforce (read: their already impressive buying power is now more impressive than ever). But how do you reach a demographic that’s labeled as “advertising adverse” through, well, advertising? By tuning into their favorite channel: Social media.

Here are 3 key guidelines to keep in mind when targeting these millennial buyers on social:

1. Always remember they’re forever connected.

Forget about the 9 to 5 lifestyle. With millennials, it’s all about maintaining constant communication. Brands have to be there for millennials — in meaningful, relevant ways — to give these consumers what they want, where and when they want it. To be noticed, you must fit into their world of stories and tweets. And if what you’re serving up isn’t convenient, you’ll just be labeled as “TLDR” (i.e., “too long, didn’t read”).

Once you successfully connect with this demographic, your presence is not enough. Millennials expect brands to not only be on social networks, but also to actively engage with them. Do this right and you’ll gain a loyal customer (Forbes). Brands such as McDonald’s are actively expanding their digital and social departments in an effort to satisfy millennials’ always-on expectations and win back relevancy with them.

2. Authenticity is everything.

Millennials value authenticity over content when it comes to consuming news. So how can brands be authentic in the news feed? Think “people over logos.” Influencers, the power of sharing and user-generated content are a marketer’s new best friends. Brands can even employ (literally and figuratively) millennials themselves. According to a recent study by Aimia, 44% of millennials are willing to promote products or services through social media in exchange for rewards. And if they love your brand? Then they’ll create, share and promote content about it on their social channels. This is a big win for any brand since, as research shows, millennials trust product recommendations from their friends and peers over those served up by professionals. Just think of Uber. A user can sign up for a free ride. If they love the result, they invite their friends through a unique promo code (more discounts, please), and now Uber not only has a new loyal customer, but also has the eyes of that person’s friends.

3. Don’t play it safe

Social media is more than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s Snapchat, Tinder and countless other new apps that are emerging every day. So don’t limit yourself to the standard three.

Take a risk and embrace the Snapchat app (and for that matter get to know its “new” parent company, Snap, which just released Spectacles, a wearable designed especially with millennials in mind). According to eMarketer, millennials account for more than seven in ten Snapchat users. Find millennials where they are and then adapt your campaigns to reach them, authentically and organically. Even more traditional brands are exploring Snapchat as an avenue. For example, when Bloomingdales saw the success of interactive digital experiences like Pokémon-Go come to life, it was inspired to gamify its in-store experience via a Snapchat “Swipestakes.”

As millennials and social media continue to evolve, consumer behaviors will follow suit. You can stay ahead of the curve by learning not only what type of content, issues and trends that millennials respond to, but also what matters most to them. Build your social strategy and content around these key factors and you’ll have the opportunity to win the attention, business and loyalty of this highly coveted consumer group.

Have a tip you would add to the list? Please share it below.

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