Social Media Strategy – The Millennial Experience
I was listening to The Joe Rogan Experience the other day, which is one of several podcasts that I have been tuning in to for years. I like Joe specifically because I think he has interesting guests and he’s a great interviewer. He has people on his show that I want to hear. The JRE is popular with all ages, but especially millennials. Joe is not my age, or in my age group. Furthermore, I’m certain he didn’t start a podcast as a part of a social media strategy to attract millennials. He may not know the challenges associated when trying to target my particular age group. However, something about his program resonates with people my age. By the end January of 2017, the podcast had over 90 million downloads — for that month alone.
The Challenges We Face
Millennials have an inherent knowledge of the internet and technology. This means there are challenges when developing your social media strategy. In this series of blogs, we will address those challenges, and commonalities that are shared between millennials and other age groups. We will also look at their favorite types of content. Our goal is to give you some pointers for attracting millennials to your social media conversations. This article asks a simple question to get us started: What are specific challenges when marketing to millennials as opposed to other generations? The answers we received may surprise you.
“Marketing to millennials can be really daunting, especially for the non-Millennial marketers.” Says Jitesh Keswani of E-Intelligence. “Even understanding how to describe the millennial consumers as the potential target audience can be a significant challenge. It’s quite evident now that the millennials are ‘digital natives’. So the marketers or brands could very well be putting money, time and other resources into ineffective, inauthentic, and non-resonant campaigns. This does not help in reaching out to these millennials at all. The chances are that if the brands do not immerse into this millennial consumption culture, then they are bound to (be) baffled by these consumers.”
Co-creators, Not Just Consumers
Jitesh continues, “Clearly, navigating through the ever-increasing and rapidly shifting demands of these ‘networked beings’ is a challenge for the contemporary marketer. Similarly, ‘keeping up’ with their media consumption habits and invest(ing) accordingly into newer kinds of promotional campaigns requires extensive research and a lot of convincing at the CXO level. Millennials prefer to be ‘co-creators’ of the advertising messages and not just the passive consumers. So, it’s always difficult for the brands to make their strategies adaptive and flexible enough to incorporate such a large extent of user-base as co-promoters. (The challenge becomes) maintaining the authenticity as well as legality.”
Leeyan Rogers of Jotform emphasizes the importance of brand loyalty when marketing to millennials, “Millennials are more functionality- and design-focused rather than brand-focused. Small digital-only companies are seeing success through channels outside the scope of traditional marketing. Examples include Facebook, Instagram, and influencer marketing. The challenge is to develop a brand loyal following in a very crowded space where competitors abound. Companies that market to Millennials need to stand out and are under more pressure to be unique.”
“There is not one place where you know for sure they’re hanging out,” claims Adi Bittan, Co-founder and CEO of the company OwnerListens. “In the past it was easier to figure out where to find millennials. You knew which TV shows they watched, you knew when they aired, and you knew everyone was going to be watching. Pretty much at the same time. Now, that’s simply not the case. Everyone watches on their own time, on different devices. And in many cases, without commercials. Other generations are more set in their old ways.”
Adi continues, “It’s hard to keep up. The brands they care about, the hashtags that are now in vogue, the apps they’re currently using – it all changes so fast. Very quickly a brand can go from fame to lame or shame (with a bad tweet for example). They smell marketing from a mile away. You can’t win them over with a celebrity endorsement or an ad that isn’t original or authentic. They are wired to ignore and move on.”
What are some challenges you’ve faced when trying to market to millennials? In our next blog, we deal with another important question surrounding millennials and social media strategy: Do millennials share any commonalities with other generations in terms of how they buy? You’ll hear from these individuals as well as others. Again, what we uncovered may come as a surprise. You’ll want to stay tuned!