March 28th, 2016
When it comes to digital marketing, businesses and organizations have to be flexible. What resonates with one group may not work with another – especially when it comes to the millennial generation.
Marketing is all about convincing a certain group of people to change their behavior in some way. For businesses, that translates to: “how can we make Group X buy a certain product or service?” Digital marketing is at the heart of reaching the millennial generation.
As with any art, there are specific tricks and tools marketers can use to make sure their digital strategies don’t fall flat.
This is one of the millennial stereotypes that rings true – millennials do spend a lot of time connected to technology. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most used media by millennials.
A digital marketing strategy can use this information to its advantage. By finding out which social media networks millennials are using most frequently, marketers can create targeted content optimized for those specific sites. Optimized content can be as simple as creating photo statuses that comply with ideal image size practice to taking advantage of sponsored Twitter cards and Facebook ads to reach new audiences.
How can you make something into an ad without having it look like an ad? The quick answer is through using an up-and-coming marketing strategy: user-generated content.
User-generated content is proven to work with millennials. Social marketing platform CrowdTap did a study that showed millennials spend 5.4 hours a day taking in user-generated content. This can be anything from social media posts to blogs to YouTube videos. Anything that has been made and shared organically by “users” — in many cases the millennials’ friends, family, or people they follow — can be considered user-generated content.
Marketing agencies tapping into user-generated content is still a fairly new phenomena, but visual social media sites have led the change. American marketing agency Tinker Street was ahead of the curve when it created a mobile division where it pairs famous Instagrammers with brands such as Converse, Michael Kors, and MasterCard. By having popular Instagrammers create images featuring, say, a set of high top sneakers, those brands are able to reach new audiences in seemingly organic ways through social media networks customers are already using. By collaborating with photographers, brands magnify their reach by engaging indirectly with that person’s thousands (or in some cases, hundreds of thousands) of followers.
The digital age means successes and failures are more prominent and shareable than ever before. Millennials want companies to stand behind their product or service online. Customer service for millennials means a lot of online engagement. Take, for example, this complaint from a customer of American airline, JetBlue Airways. After tweeting a complaint about his in-flight television not working, JetBlue reached out, engaged positively, and gave the Twitter user credit for his broken TV. By acknowledging and working to resolve mistakes expressed online, customers feel important and often share their gratitude with their followers. That carries a social clout that money can’t buy.
Don’t worry; it’s not a matter of having a social media marketer on hand at every hour of the day. But your digital marketing strategy should minimize the time allotted before social media concerns are answered. Not only that, but if a scandal or issue ever explodes on social media, you should have a policy dealing with it. That doesn’t mean deleting your account. It means accepting and apologizing for what you’ve done. An effective digital marketing strategy should always consider prospective crisis communications scenarios.
In the end, millennials are looking for a company that is transparent, genuine, and willing to engage them where they’re at. Keep that in mind when you start to craft your next digital marketing strategy.
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