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The millennial generation has finally grown up, and that’s forcing CMOs to re-think how they can reach this valuable target demographic. It’s now clear that the same types of tactics used to reach Baby Boomers – such as saturation media campaigns across TV, print and radio – are no longer effective. Moreover, even when it comes to social media, young millennials act and think differently than older members of Generation X.
Facebook is not the best way to reach millennials
Based on overwhelming data, it’s now clear that millennials have sharply different usage patterns on social media than older Baby Boomers. For example, only 41% of millennials actively use Facebook – that’s the lowest percentage of any major demographic group. Instead, they prefer to use social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.
The big takeaway lesson here is that you have to get out of your brand’s comfort zone and explore different social media platforms. If you’re not on Instagram today, you need to be. If you haven’t experimented with “ephemeral content,” such as photos that disappear after they’ve been viewed, you need to catch up on the ways that millennials are sharing content.
Authenticity is the big buzzword among millennials
Millennials grew up using social media, and as a result, they are remarkably good at spotting BS (for lack of a better word). They will immediately call you out if they think that you’re not being authentic, and they will reward you for being “real” and “unfiltered.”
Here’s just one example: the whole Kendall Jenner ad campaign for Pepsi that absolutely blew up on social media. In the ad, Kendall Jenner plays the role of a hipster activist who gets involved with a protest that looks like a #BlackLivesMatter rally, and then hands a Pepsi to a policeman at the end of the ad. People immediately slammed Pepsi for trying to co-opt a movement, for being insensitive to the problems faced by protesters and for appearing to position Pepsi as the drink of protesters everywhere. Not cool.
The good news, though, is that millennials will reward you for posting raw, authentic and unscripted content. Just look at how brands like Taco Bell have done so well amongst millennials on platforms like Snapchat. This is very much at odds with the classic approach to marketing – creating a slick, highly scripted and on-message campaign, which is why it’s so hard for older CMOs to embrace.
Live video is a must-have to connect with millennials
There’s a reason why live video has been such a hit with young millennials – they like to record every moment of their lives. They enjoy sharing their lives with others, and aren’t afraid to go on camera at any time.
There are two ways that you can tap into this trend as a CMO – you can either start hosting live events for your brand (such as a live Q&A with the product team), or you can start providing “tools” to millennials that will help them customize and personalize their videos, such as new Snapchat filters.
By understanding how and why millennials use social media, you will be able to create the types of campaigns that really resonate with them. Just as importantly, you will be able to create a vibrant community across different social platforms that can be activated as part of any new social media campaign.