Millennials have become the new “holy-grail” of a brand’s desired consumer audience. They are between the ages of 18 – 34with an estimated buying power of $200 billion annually by 2017 and $10 trillion total during their lifetime.
Many brands believe that by setting up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts, they can easily reach this demographic, but these companies are completely wrong. It takes much more than just having a social media presence.
Millennials are more connected to media, information, brands, and products, than any other generation. Just setting up a social media account hoping they will follow, is not a good business strategy.
Within the U.S., not only do millennials have tremendous buying power, but according to a 2015 study, they also make up the largest labor force and voting population. Millennials are taking over and are here to stay.
Brands not only have to target this demographic to stay in business, they may have to change their entire business models to ensure they can even compete for a share of voice. Why? Because traditional media spends and ad dollars have very little influence over this group’s buying decisions.
Traditional advertising to this group is now being redefined. Advertising through channels such as television, radio, and online banner have become background noise to this consumer group; they are immune to most of these messages as stand-alone campaigns.
“Advertising” to this demographic must become more savvy, organic, and immersive. Brands must create messages that millennials deem to be authentic and engaging if they want millennials to become loyal brand consumers.
Authenticity with your brand and content is important to millennials. According to a 2015 Forbes article, “43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. They first have to trust a company or news site before they even bother reading the content that they produce.”
Millennials have to believe that your company, as well as your marketing or social media messages, are authentic before they will interact with your brand with any consistency.
Millennials want to be courted and wooed for their attention. They have no time for “upsells” or “spin”. However, once they’ve been wooed, they become extremely loyal to the brand. Inc.com reported, “Millennials are also the most loyal generation to their favorite brands, with just over half (50.5%) saying they are extremely loyal or quite loyal.”
Again, it’s not enough to just have social media accounts established. Brands must ensure they have an active social media strategy for each of their accounts. Cookie cutter approaches will not attract millennials. According to a January 2015 Forbes article, “62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They expect brands to not only be on social networks, but to engage them.”
Brands can establish engagement with this coveted demographic by making personal connections. A recent CrowdTwist study found “that nearly 50% of respondents wanted socially conscious benefits like charitable giving or one-of-a-kind rewards and experiences as a result of brand interactions.”
Millennials want to feel that brands are speaking to them one-on-one, and not grouping them into large categories. By using social media platforms to develop personal relationships with consumers (for instance, live Twitter events where questions are asked and answered), and using a mix of socially responsible messages as well as authentic brand messages (think Dove’s Real Beauty campaign), brand can build strong relationships with millennials that will develop them into long-term consumers.