Are you worried that the answer to the question “how should I market to millennials” will be Snapchat?
Don’t worry. I’m not going to say Snapchat.
Actually, one of the reasons why Snapchat is so popular with millennials (those born between the years of 1982 and 2000, roughly) and Generation Z (the post-millennial generation) is that it’s so organic that it makes it pretty awful for business use. So, forget Snapchat. Don’t waste your energy.
But… I am going to say Instagram.
Yes, You Need Instagram Marketing!
Heck yeah! Instagram is a great social media platform because it’s very authentic—and millennials demand authenticity!
Not to downplay words—words are part of content marketing and content marketing is absolutely critical to every current marketing strategy—but the visual content you share on Instagram can be both content-drivenand visual. Unlike words alone which can get… well, wordy. It’s very difficult to hide behind a picture.
Millennials want to get to know you. They want to be able to relate to your brand. That’s why it’s so important to tell stories, both visually and in writing.
Even if you don’t sell a visually-appealing product, your brand needs a strong visual component that lends a shape, intimacy, and realness to your brand story. That’s why your brand needs to pass the Instagram-test.
A recent study* found that millennials with the highest purchasing power spend an average of 7 hours a day online—much more than any other generation. A lot of that time is spent on Instagram.
But it’s not just about Instagram. It’s about the whole picture.
It’s Not Just About the Location & Tools
—It’s About Building Trust
It’s not just about Instagram vs. Snapchat vs. Facebook, etc.
Millennials want to know that you understand them, and good content, in all its forms, makes people feel that you “get” them. When a person feels understood by you, they feel confident buying from you. Engaging, well-written copy paired with your photography or custom branded visuals shows millennials that your product or service will fulfill their needs and desires. With the right visuals and copy, you can establish trusting and memorable relationships and turn more “browsers” into the customers you’re looking for.
Millenials are a very connected and curious generation—but they’re also very skeptical—and this influences how and where they spend their money.
For instance, millennials are less likely to purchase from brands that simply encourage them to “buy buy buy”, and more likely to purchase from brands whose reputations and products other consumers hold in high regard. And where do they get this information? From online user-generated content! Real reviews from other customers on websites, peer word-of-mouth on social media, authentic endorsements from celebrities on their social media channels, etc.
If you want millennials to trust and buy from your brand, you need to shine a spotlight on consumer opinion. Ask for your customers’ feedback, engage with them on social media and get them talking, make it easy for them to share their thoughts. You might even consider dabbling in a little influencer marketing, if you have the budget for it. (But that’s a subject for a different blog post.) Put customer feedback and insights front and centre, for all to see. Millenials won’t buy from you until they have the information they need to feel that your business is trustworthy.
To learn more about millennial statistics, here’s a great resource.**
Opening the Doors to Public Opinion
Of course, when you open up the floodgates of consumer opinion, you might not always like what you hear. Fortunately, you can take these insights and use them as an opportunity to engage further with millenials—show your millennial audience you’re listening, that you care about their thoughts, and let them know how you’ll fix any problems.
We’ve written about responding to negative feedback before, but with millennials, it’s especially important to not only follow up and respond to their reviews, but to take action on their suggestions. Is there an overwhelming opinion that such-and-such product has a flaw? Do what you can to change it, then spread the word about the action you took. Make yourself known to millennials as a brand responds with real, valuable action, and you’ll earn their trust.
Marketing with P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L-I-T-Y
You need personality-infused marketing in both visuals and writing to get millenials to notice you. Stiff, formal writing is not the way to win millennial hearts, and neither is shoving blatant advertising at them 24/7. The best way to make millenials want to buy from you is to get them to actually like you, and you can win them over by showing your brand’s unique personality. That might mean being funny, honest, direct, just plain silly, or a combination of any other number of candid characteristics. The key is letting your guard down—but not so much so that you diverge from your overall marketing strategy. There needs to be an overriding plan for your brand’s voice.
What Are Your Values?
Millennials like to know that the brands they follow have values that they can relate to. Are you socially conscious? Environmentally responsible? What good are you adding to the world?
Your millennial customers want to know about your social good. In fact, 50% of millenials** say they are more likely to purchase from a brand if they support a good social cause. So, do some good and spread the word to your millenial audience!
Don’t Be a Robot
Everyone says to “get social” on social media, and we know that isn’t always easy. We can definitely tell you what you shouldn’t do though, and that’s use automated responses or responses that sound automated. That will do more harm than good. Remember, millenials are all about authenticity!
Getting social means behaving naturally. Ask questions. Answer questions. “Like” things. React to things. Use some emojis (but not only emojis). Say something other than just, “Nice!” and “Wow!” and “Agreed!” Visit your followers’ Instagram and Twitter profiles (but not their Facebook profiles, that’s just weird) and notice what they’re sharing. If they shared some delicious food, ask them for the recipe or the name of the restaurant. If they shared a cute photo of a pet, ask them how long they’ve had them and if they have any pet-specific tips.
Be real. When you take the time to interact in a meaningful way, millennials will remember you and they’ll be more likely to reciprocate the conversation on your own content.
You Have to Make Them Care
The bottom line is that millennials aren’t going to buy from you because you tell them to buy. They’re going to choose to buy of their own free will if they care about the product, service, and/or overall brand in some way. That caring comes from a sense that they’ll benefit in some way from the purchase.
To really make millennials care it has to be about them. Their needs. Their wants. You have to create a personal connection between the customer’s needs and desires and how your commodity will help them fulfill those desires. You need to paint a relatable picture, using both visuals and words, so that they’ll see themselves in your product or service. “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” – Zig Ziglar
Your millennial customers need to be able to imagine the satisfaction that you can help them reach. Use Instagram as well as a blog, and Facebook and Twitter as well, to paint an authentic picture of your brand that will build trust with your audience. You need both visual and written content marketing pieces of the puzzle to appeal to millennials.
*Among Affluents, Millennials Spend the Most Time Online**28 Revealing Millennial Statistics
Mandi Gould, Barker SocialLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/mandi-gould/Twitter: @barker_social