The world of business today is truly borderless. No longer are you bound by the constraints of geography to reach your target market. With just the click of a button, you can ply your wares to customers from Boston to Botswana.
And that’s particularly good news if you’re looking to tap into what has historically been the most lucrative and promising of market segments: Young adults at the very beginning of their earning years. But today’s young adults are unlike any previous generation in human history.
These Millennials and Generation Zers are true digital natives, having come of age in the wake of the mobile digital revolution. And that means, to win their business and their loyalty, traditional marketing strategies will not suffice. You have to meet these young consumers where they are and, increasingly, that means reaching them through social media. But how, exactly, can you use social media to reach this coveted cadre of young consumers?
Millennials and Generation Z are not your parents’ and grandparents’ type of consumers. Millennials, in particular, are 25% more apt to connect with brands via online content than any other generation. They want a relationship with the companies with which they do business and, for this cohort, those relationships are based largely online. They’re not interested only in finding a good product for a great price.
So, to reach this market, you’re going to need to do more than creating some kind of digital product catalog for social media. Instead, your target customer will want to see your company producing content that speaks to the values that they care about, from social justice to the environment and everything in between.
They are going to want to see posts and discussions centering not on products and profit but people. Data shows Millennials and other young generations are 30% more likely to engage with brands that use video marketing and social media marketing that uses video. And the types of video content they want is unique. They often prefer videos of community outreach events and promotions of activities in which they, too, can participate. In other words, they are looking to your social media to find ethics and engagement.
Instead of solely pushing content that advertises your product or services, try creating videos that highlight your values, and strategically repost content from other creators and influencers that align with these values. These types of posts are the same ones that Millennials and Generation Z connect with each other over, and they can help you connect in the same way.
Consumers as Producers
If you aren’t already using influencer marketing or user-generated content — or both — you have some catching up to do. These tactics are often video-based, and they appeal more to younger generations than older ones. Entrepreneur contributor Saurabh Kumar outlined tactics for effectively marketing to younger generations. These tactics include UGC and storytelling, and these are best and most often done via social media and video content.
Look for influencers and users that are already posting about your product or service, and highlight them. Reshare their posts on your account — this is essentially a modern testimonial, and younger users are more likely to view this type of content as more trustworthy and authentic than traditional marketing material.
A Bit of Eye Candy
Millennials and Generation Z are voracious consumers of visual media. That means that you’re going to lose them if your social media pages are too saturated with static text. Instead, to draw traffic to your sites and to keep your young audiences coming back for more, they’re going to need eye candy, preferably in video form.
In fact, for all the hype that Facebook and Twitter receive, young consumers are spending the majority of their time on video-dominant platforms, such as YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. They also pay closer attention to these platforms than they do others, with YouTube viewers paying twice as much attention to those videos than they do TV, and it is the second most used video platform for millennials next to Netflix.
So if you’re looking to engage Millennials and Generation Z, then your best bet is to focus on crafting short, eye-catching videos. And, as you do so, make sure you’re concentrating on your branding. For example, as you develop and deploy your brand for social media use, you can easily use and customize templates that reflect your company’s signature style while also being instantly recognizable to your young clients. Such templates make your social media platform design process both more efficient and cohesive, allowing you to devote more time to the unique content of each post Your target audience will want that unique visual brand, that fun, attractive, and highly distinctive signature style that speaks both to the heart and mind of your ideal young market.
Get the Data and Do Some Brainstorming
When you’re using social media to engage Millennial and Generation Z consumers, one of the worst things you can do, perhaps, is to let your strategy get stale. After all, your young market is seeking, above all, a relationship. And if your company begins to fail to hold up its end of the bargain, it’s a simple matter for your customers to move on to the next business with just the simple click of a button.
Indeed, studies show that young audiences have high expectations for their preferred brands’ social media. They want relevant messaging; they want to feel listened to, and they want meaningful communication, engagement, and support.
But to meet those expectations takes consistent effort and unflagging commitment. Your young audience is ever-dynamic and ever-evolving. And that is going to require you to keep a consistent watch over their evolving needs, particularly through the acquisition, analysis, and use of data analytics.
For instance, YouTube analytics is a powerful tool for understanding your target market and their evolving needs, expectations, and requirements. However, the data is not enough. It is also going to be imperative to bring this information into routine brainstorming sessions that will support innovation and data-driven decision-making.
For example, the most effective brainstorming sessions begin by defining a question, issue, or problem. The data derived from platforms such as YouTube can be a vital first step in that process of problem definition. And once you understand where your Millennial and Generation Z customers may be underserved, whether through your social media, your product, or your service, you can begin the process of brainstorming new ideas for engaging and serving your target audience in ways that your nearest competitors can only dream of.
Millennials and Generation Z are a vast, lucrative, and growing market. But if you want to reach that market, you have to get creative and, above all, you must unleash the tremendous power of social media. Using social media to reach young consumers is the ideal way to provide the engagement, the experience, and the service they want and expect from the businesses that will win their loyalty.