If there’s one group of audience that can make or break your brand on social media, it has to be the millennials.
Consumers representing this digitally-connected generation are quick to align themselves with new technology and social media platforms. Social networks are an extremely important part of their lives; they use it for an overview of what’s going on in the world, what’s trending, and almost everything else.
As a result, Generation Y is skeptical that social media is the way brands should reach them. The consequence of growing up as tech savvy is that millennials have high expectations from brands, especially the ones they follow. ‘Meet me where I am’ is their message to marketers around the globe.
Take a look at this infographic by Search Laboratory:
Paints a clear picture, doesn’t it?
It does, about usage patterns only.
But when it comes to capturing their attention, brands may not be all that welcomed in social media. They receive tons of content each day making it quite a challenge for brands to stand out. Gen-Y knows how promotion works and they’re becoming immune to it. They’ll sift through quick and ignore anything that isn’t enjoyable.
The good news? They’ll pay attention to something that addresses their interests, and they’re the consumer group that can make things go viral (remember Grumpy Cat?).
What does this emphasis for brands that want to bring in millennial customers on Facebook? The power of decision-making, and reach, is with the consumer. Also, there’s extra work needed when your carefully crafted campaign is going to compete with Eh Bee Family or twerking videos.
So how do you make the echo boomers care about your brand on Facebook? Here are some tips to help you out:
The purchase decisions of millennials are more influenced by word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations than the purchase decisions of baby boomers. Therefore, brands can’t overstate the importance of referrals and reviews to these buyers. Gen Y would spend time to read reviews and talk to friends rather than paying attention to celebrity endorsements. They’d then write a review themselves after making a purchase.
On Facebook, the idea of WOM could be to create a core group of insiders; your super customers, people who buy from you regularly. They’d perform better than influencers as millennials are more influenced by people they can relate themselves to. How can you get your brand’s insiders together? It’s actually not that difficult. Just follow these steps:
- Make a list of candidates
- Compose an email to them stating they’ve been selected to be featured on your Facebook page
- Ask for a review/testimonial and offer a small souvenir
And if your run a local business, you can allow review/ratings on your page.
Ridekick is an example of how to build a positive reputation with testimonials.
Remember to make sure testimonials and reviews are visible to others on your Facebook page.
Philanthropy is the way forward
Millennials spend and give away their earnings in an entirely different way than previous generations. 87 percent of them donated to a nonprofit a couple of years ago; this figure alone gives an indication that they are going to observe what others do when it comes to investing in a cause.
Also, 85 percent of them will correlate their buying decisions and their willingness to recommend brands to the social efforts a business is making. Brands interested in attracting attention from millennials can’t afford the opportunity to leverage social good.
What can a brand do? There are several options:
- Donate to a charity
- Take part in an online/offline cause
- Give to the community where they do business
- Take part in green initiatives
- Start public initiatives such as recycling of plastic bottles
And here’s what you could do to promote your philanthropy on Facebook:
- Update the cover photo
- Have a conversation with audiences about it
- Encourage sharing
Another interesting way to promote a social good you’re doing is to ask for votes, like in the following example:
By asking fans who Target should donate to, they’re promoting their social good in an indirect way.
Create group oriented campaigns
Brand messages on Facebook should take into account that millennials around the world are group oriented when it comes to activities and shopping. Businesses should, therefore, consider creating multigenerational campaigns that include content showing groups – cultural tribes, friends wearing the same brand, classmates using the same pen, etc.
Millennials may be cash-strapped and carrying some debt, but that doesn’t mean they won’t splurge anywhere. And one place they do tend to spend is on the activities that people they share common traits with are doing. It makes sense, given how much emphasis millennials put on hanging out and togetherness.
Check out what InterRail recently posted on its Facebook page:
8 reasons to travel with your best friend at least once; even though it’s an external link to the blog post, it should be a hit among the millennial group the company is targeting. Who wouldn’t want to go on a trip with their best friend?
Try to get Gen Y involved
Co-creation maybe a buzzword to baby boomers, but it’s something millennials live by. 87 percent of them think brands should get consumers similar to them to give insight on products before they create them. Because this generation grew up as action-oriented, they’ve been conditioned to have a greater say in what they would buy.
Presumably, Millennials want Facebook content to be co-created, too. They are quite open to advertising and brand engagement, but only if brands have adopted the right approach. By collaborating on content with them, you can be assured that your promotion will be what they want so you can get attention of others like them.
Some ideas for co-creation on Facebook include:
- Asking fans to generate custom content (submit photos for Christmas avatar, etc.)
- Creating a poll asking what feature they would like in a future product
- Asking fans to comment on something neutral (such as a blog post)
Think of co-creation as a win-win situation: Your brand will get a pre-indication of what appeals to consumers, the millennials will feel empowered to give their insight/participate in anyway, and their input will lead to a readymade campaign.
ThinkGeek does a great job at getting consumers involved. Here’s a content piece from the brand:
The company has given the right of t-shirt design to the consumer; this is the kind of content you need to post on Facebook to get traction.
Marketing to millennials on Facebook shouldn’t be the impetus for increasing revenue; your target audience will see right through your motives and turn away. A true desire to listen to them and address their needs should come first; capitalizing on the market value of their attention comes as a bonus. Promote your brand by following the tips mentioned above; and you’ll get both.
What is your strategy for marketing to millennials on Facebook? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below.