Now that Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers, brands all around the country (and globe) are wondering how to reach this consumer market. This generation is large - and they're diverse, so brands must take time to get to know this generation - and themselves. Millennials demand more meaning, and in order for older brands to stay relevant, they must dig deep to establish long-lasting missions this generation can support.
Do your research and establish a voice
First thing's first - you need to research your audience - and keep fine-tuning your findings through social listening tools. Who specifically is your target audience? What do their social media timelines look like? Do they follow meme accounts or breaking news? What stage of life are they in? Millennials are ages 22 - 37 in 2018, so it's important to specify your targeting and develop a millennial spectrum.
Once you can answer questions about your target audience’s online habits, beliefs, ideals, relationships, strengths and weaknesses, you are ready to start making connections. Take the information you have about your target audience and use it as a guide to develop your voice and give it your best shot. Take in feedback along the way and pivot if necessary. Online communication is not static; it changes based on the season, the target and the call-to-action.
Be authentic and consistent
Once you’ve developed a voice for your brand—stick to it. People like consistency and want to know what to expect from a brand. If your tone is normally closer to southern charm then switches to witty sarcastic remarks, that’s confusing. Don’t do a 180.
This doesn’t mean that every tweet or Instagram caption has to sound the same. Brands, just like people, are multi-faceted. Sometimes your hilarious friend is super serious, and sometimes your serious friend cracks a joke. Humor is welcomed AND needed in varying levels on social media.
According to Bonfire Marketing, 63% of people buy from brands they consider authentic over other brands. This means owning up to your mistakes and celebrating your successes. Take your followers along with you for the ride. Be real.
It is crucial to inform your audience without talking down to them. This is where audience research really helps — determine their levels of education & their familiarity with your product/industry, etc. You may be the most informed person in the world about your brand and your brand’s sector, but your target audience may not be.
Your fans want to learn and connect with you on a human level so keep things simple, but not patronizing. Avoid all jargon - it will just turn people away from reading and interacting with your posts. Be transparent. Be honest.
If someone tweets with an issue, take the time to respond. If you don’t want to address an issue from your main account, many brands have established customer service accounts as well. Or send an instant message and solve the problem right then and there. Just make sure you say something - a private one-on-one conversation is many times best.
Read the tweets your followers tag you in and respond to them. Your engagement will show you care and will encourage your fans to continue using your brand. This may even lead to an online review, which are heavily relied-upon by Millennials.
Capitalize on current issues & trends
What are your brand’s core values and beliefs? Are there certain political/social issues creating a buzz that relate to your core values? If so, don’t be afraid to speak out. According to The State of the YAYA’s Report done by MOJO Ad, young adult consumers like when brands take a stance on social issues.
In June, America celebrated Pride Month. And many brands celebrated too. Apple released a rainbow Apple Watch background to celebrate. Sephora’s Instagram account boasted a ton of rainbow-themed posts. Even Temple Fire Station from Bristol, England participated by getting a rainbow decal on one of their trucks with an inspiring message. These brands and organizations assessed their core values and used the celebration to connect.
If social or political issues feel too heavy for your brand, don’t worry. You can still create trending hashtags or even memes that are relevant to your target audience and brand that are slightly more lighthearted. As long as your stance is authentic, the way you present your stance can be a bit more creative. Is there a social media challenge taking the internet by storm? Have you done The Shiggy lately? Participate!
Expand the Rules
Don’t be afraid to take a break from pushing your message. You can post something that aligns with your brand ideals or values that's not directly related to the sale—this will give your followers a better look at your brand’s personality. People join social media to connect with other people and personalities. Taking your brand from a corporate entity to a voice online can be difficult, but it is important!
Don’t be afraid to be human - not everything has to be a rigid formula. Consistency is key but so is spontaneity & transparency. Be real.
Courtney Catris is a senior at the University of Missouri where she is majoring in Journalism & Strategic Communications. She is an intern at KJMdigital. You can find her on LinkedIn to connect!
Need help reaching your audience? The KJMdigital mission is to help connect artists to businesses through our online landscape. And the KJM Team works because our mission and values align with what we value - radical transparency, autonomy and flexibility. At KJMdigital, we put people first because we know real relationships are what matter most.
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