Ah, millennials…the generation that’s been the target of so much recent media attention. Some critics say we’re entitled, while others praise our creativity and passion for social causes. Regardless, millennials are a unique generation, and they have dramatically different spending habits and tastes than those of their parents. According to a University of Massachusetts study, in 2015, millennials spent an estimated $2.45 trillion dollars, making them a critical target market for many businesses.
We were raised with technology, and because of this, we are avid social media users and consume information in a dramatically different manner. Social media is an important driving force in engaging millennials with your brand and driving sales.
Build a Brand Personality
Millennials love finding humor online, from tweeting GIFs to creating memes out of seemingly innocuous photographs; we love to laugh. Building an engaging brand personality through your social media will draw millennial users to you; we want a brand that engages with consumers through humor, consistent engagement, and a defined “voice.” Excellent examples of brand personality can be observed on Taco Bell’s (@tacobell) and Chipotle’s (@chipotletweets) Twitter accounts, both of which craft hilarious tweets that draw large amounts of consumer engagement. Millennials want a brand with a social media personality, not a constant stream of social media ads. Traditional push strategies don’t always work with Millennials, so be sure that your online content creates excitement and doesn’t come across as too commercial.
Image is EVERYTHING
Millennials LOVE visual platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest. Above all else, make sure that the images and graphics your brand is using are of the highest quality. If your brand doesn’t have a camera crew or you’re not a great photographer, don’t worry! Download the VSCOcam app and Adobe’s PhotoShopExpress app to get started. VSCOcam enables your iPhone to easily take higher quality photos than just using its camera, and PhotoShopExpress is a pared down, mobile-friendly version of PhotoShop that will enable you to improve photos. As your brand grows, invest funds in your brand image, it will be well worth it. Be sure that everything you post is “on-brand” and reflects how you want others to view your business.
“Curation” goes hand-in-hand with the brand image. While this doesn’t imply the traditional definition of “curation,” think of yourself as having similar duties to the curator of a museum. Just as a museum curator is responsible for creating meaningful displays centered on a central theme, you are responsible for creating meaningful posts and content that reflect the essence of your brand. Make sure that your posts are always focused around your brand and are consistently high quality across all platforms; don’t crowd your followers’ feeds with ‘junk.’ An important aspect of this curation is to use hashtags in a meaningful way, as Millennials often view overuse of hashtags as cheesy or annoying. Focus on using one or two branded hashtags per post (i.e. #YourBusinessName) and then incorporating several hashtags that have large numbers of posts and searches. Instagram will show you how many posts there are per hashtag. Additionally, there are many analytic tools available that will show you which tags have the most engagement. Ensure you are using frequently searched and posted tags, not obscure ones so that new users are exposed to your brand.
A recent Forbes survey on the shopping habits of Millennials found that 75% of respondents believed that it was either fairly or very important that a brand give back to society. Millennials are more likely to buy from a brand that is socially conscious than a competitor. Find a unique way for your company to give back to the community. Partner with a charity and be sure to let social media followers in on what you’re doing, or better yet, give them a way to contribute too. This partnership will help your community and lead to a positive image of your company.
Samantha Lynn Barna is the social media coordinator for Inspiring Lives International and the Global Sisterhood, an IUP fashion/history student, and a lover of vintage clothing, writing, and the past.