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What exactly do young millennial users expect from brands on social media? That’s a question that gets asked a lot by companies trying to capture the attention of the all-important 18-to-34 demographic. What we do know is that young millennials are the first generation to grow up with social media and ubiquitous digital devices, and that has made them very savvy across social media. With that in mind, here’s a social media playbook for connecting with millennials.
#1: Embrace the social media platforms used by millennials
It’s easy to focus on Facebook when crafting a digital marketing campaign, but guess what? Young millennial users aren’t as active on Facebook as they are on other social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. The reality is that young millennials are constantly looking for the “next big thing,” and as soon as they think they are hanging out where their parents are, they’re going to move on. For today’s digital marketers, Instagram should be the new social platform of choice to reach millennials.
#2: Understand the mobile-first mentality
Too many marketing executives still think in terms of the desktop experience. They imagine their websites to look exactly the way they look on a huge desktop or laptop screen – not the way they actually look on a tiny mobile screen. And they still think in terms of the browser, when in reality, they should be thinking in terms of the app.
In order to connect with the millennial generation, companies have to adapt a mobile-first mentality. Young users want an e-commerce experience that works on their digital tablets. They want apps, not a bunch of websites. And they expect to stay within the app environment when using social media platforms like Facebook – they don’t want to be clicking to external links that take them out of Facebook.
#3: Speak with an authentic voice
One big result of growing up with social media is that young millennials have an intuitive understanding of when brands are trying to deploy corporate jargon on them. They have a built-in “B.S. radar” that tells them when slick marketing teams are trying to pull a fast one on them. What young millennials want is an authentic experience. That’s a tough one to swallow for many older Baby Boomers, because being authentic often means being open, messy and unfiltered. If you want to connect with millennials, though, you need to be willing to show them the “real you.”
#4: Connect with users by highlighting a sense of purpose or mission
While millennials are often dismissed as being ego-centric and narcissistic (maybe it’s all those selfies!), they are actually more purpose-oriented than traditionally given credit for. As a result, they want to interact with companies and brands that share their same values – whether it’s caring for the environment, protecting LGBTQ rights, or promoting cultural diversity.
So, if your company has employees who are active in the community, or if your company was created to further a special social mission – then celebrate that on social media. Show your employees volunteering in the community, and celebrate when one of them has found a new way to achieve a work-life balance. Young millennials, just like every other new generation, really does want to “change the world.”
If you’re looking to connect with young millennials, these four plays from the social media playbook will point you in the right direction. Just remember – if you want to be a trusted voice to them, then you have to embrace authenticity and you have to connect where they are already hanging out online. You can’t expect them to come to you – you must go to them.