From being listed as some of the worst stereotypes to becoming a leading group of consumers. Millennials are now the largest generation within the U.S. labor force with a purchasing power up to $200 billion per year.
For businesses, millennials are an incredibly important demographic. They are the generation that has grown up with social media, but remember a time before the internet became a household necessity. This gives them a unique perspective, but can make them particularly challenging to engage with.
As the largest demographic, they're also among the most active users on social media platforms, meaning you could be losing a huge number of potential customers by not targeting them. This crucial generation is more liberal than ever, want more from the businesses they buy from, and has a much higher level of digital and marketing understanding than their older counterparts. These factors alone mean that many brands have had to change their strategies to engage with this demographic and knowing how to market to them is crucial to your company’s success, but before you begin marketing to millennials, you need to understand their buying behavior.
1. Engage with them
If you want to market to millennials, you need to be actively utilizing social media sites to their fullest ability.
For example, most people will use Twitter to talk to brands, while Facebook is used for communicating with family and friends. Other platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are normally used to find inspiration, whether for interiors, health or fashion. This aspirational marketing is a big part of targeting millennials and can be effective if you do your research.
You need to understand the millennials you want to target and find how they use social media.
By posting photo worthy images of your products on Facebook and Instagram you’re not only catching their attention, but you’re giving them the opportunity to engage with you. Even including hashtags for your users to use can help them feel connected and help you build your brand.
2. Be authentic and transparent
Millennials want to feel like your digital experience is authentic.
They don't want to feel like just another consumer to you, they want you to understand and address their pain points. Because of the great diversity in this group, your marketing approach can't be a one-size-fits-all model even for this single demographic. The key is to find a way to organically enter their lifestyle, whether by partnering with a blogger they value or championing a social justice campaign that's important to them.
They also grew up with product reviews and the social tools to share them so they are quick to research and fact-check everything you claim your products to be.
Millennials don’t want exaggerated ads and 56% of millennials will take the time to look up product information before making a purchase. If they find that you were not transparent about your products this will not only cause you to lose their business, but it will create a wave of negative word-of-mouth.
3. Leverage positive word-of-mouth
Millennials trust word of mouth more than any other generation, which is a big reason why the concept of “social media influencers” emerged and has become such a significant way of engaging with this group. Instagram is filled with influencer posts that feature products and services, you can even look up #sponsored in the search bar to come across the many posts. Incorporating an influencer program will not only help you sell your products, but you will be reaching massive audiences through an influencers following.
4. Offer something different
Typically, millennials are defined as being born between 1980 and 2000. This means the oldest are in their late 20s/early 30s and the youngest are just about to leave their teens. There is a considerable divide between the two ends of the demographic and plenty of differences in between.
Millennials who were born in the 1980s or 1990s have likely been active on social media for most of their adult life, as well as a great portion of their teen years. Many have learned lessons about how to appropriately use social media platforms and what information they want to share online, while their younger counterparts are still eager to share their lives.
With many millennials feeling social media fatigue, they expect brands to offer them something genuinely interesting to engage them online. This may be finding ways to advertise your products in an Instagram-worthy manner or backing a social issue, what matters is that you find something the demographic will genuinely care about and drop the hard sell.
5. Get involved with video production
A study conducted by Animoto found that 80% of millennials use videos to conduct research before making a purchase. Start using video to target them by creating demo videos, promo videos and/or customer testimonials. You can even go as far as giving them the digital experience on your website’s homepage similar to AutoNation’s. Take advantage of the power of video to capture the emotion and experience that your brand has to offer.
6. Make the most of FOMO
The fear of missing out impacts all generations, especially millennials. Show a demand for your products and create exclusivity through campaigns. For example, if you’re launching a new product and strictly release it to your email subscribers for the first week, you’ll probably notice a drastic increase in your email list. If you make your products limited, you’re going to create urgency which will entice them to look into your product and make a fast purchase.
7. Foster loyalty
Unlike the baby boomer generation who will stay with well-known brands for security, millennials are happy to try out new companies if they don't feel valued. The increasing importance of millennials has forced many brands to actively gain trust and eventual loyalty from consumers.
However, this doesn't mean that millennials are precious snowflakes that are impossible to please. Although their loyalty may be harder to earn in the first place, once you have their trust, millennials are likely to stick with you and even advocate you.
8. Prioritize quick responses
Expect millennials to ask questions on every social media platform. You should make it a priority to respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. Keep in mind that 42% of customers expect responses within 60 minutes. Using a social media management platform can help you and your team ensure speedy responses.
Once you have a good understanding of millennials shopping behavior, go ahead and start on new tech-savvy marketing campaigns. Make sure to track your analytics to see the progression and where you might need improvement. If they come to find that you’re trustworthy and credible, you’ll gain their loyalty.