Marketing to Millennials: 6 Ways to Gain Their Trust

427062_10101787048277740_26100127_n by Renuka Hermon on September 3, 2014
millennial at work

Millennials: Lazy or inventive? Self-indulgent or socially responsible? Pegging the qualities of the millennial generation seems as straightforward as teaching the Loch Ness Monster to do a flip on command – but maybe that’s the point. They don’t like to be pigeonholed.

Ranging from ages 19 to 36, there are approximately 75.7 million  millennials in the U.S. according to CEB Global.Their estimated buying power? $1.68 trillion.

How can you tap into this market online? Your best bet is to reach them via the channels the audience is already using. According to a study done by Nielsen, millennials spend the majority of their time on Facebook, followed by Instagram, Twitter, and then YouTube. But before you get into a posting frenzy, remember that a successful millennial marketing campaign must grasp the generation’s unique decision-making processes.

Tired of having their accomplishments measured by an outdated yardstick, millennials are quickly realizing that they are destined for a paradigm shift. After struggling to succeed by traditional standards in an economic recession, they are creating their own definitions of success — measured largely by happiness and passion. Instead of weddings and mortgages, they are more likely to mark their milestones through travel adventures and music festivals. Making their tastes even more elusive, “millennials are the most racially diverse generation in American history.” So while ads aimed at the masses fail to impact this generation, brands with personalized content reign supreme.

Despite their varying tastes, millennials do have a common demand: genuine interaction. In a world of mounting debt and misleading offers, just 19 percent of millennials say most people can be trusted.” Let’s earn their trust back.

Don’t Just be Active on Social Media, Be Engaging

Post and tweet content that encourages two-way communication. Instead of sharing stock photos of product, share customer-submitted images and behind-the-scenes videos that illustrate your brand’s personality.

Pay Attention to your Online Reviews

In a study done by GO Digital Marketing, 80 percent of millennials said that they are more likely to purchase from small businesses that have positive customer reviews and ratings online. If you find negative reviews, be sure to publicly address and rectify the issues. Create a web alert for your company’s name to keep track of your reputation across the web as it develops.

Create Experiences that Beg to be Shared

Millennials’ online behavior is almost exclusively based around sharing. Develop a unique user-experience and jaw-dropping customer service that will have their social networks buzzing. Online communities went wild with praise when Beggin’ Strips sent an entire basket full of treats to a lucky pup after discovering the canine’s super-fan YouTube video.

Partner with Influencers

Influencers appear in the form of pro athletes, Hollywood A-listers, Silicon Valley CEOs, and even YouTube sensations … and they’re all on Twitter. Find an influencer who mirrors your company’s values. Follow them, retweet them, and multiply your own influence.

Be Straightforward and Transparent

Make information easy to find on your website. If you’re running a promotion, make it simple and actionable. Because millennials live in a world of immediate gratification, a site that’s not intuitive is just another closed tab.

Share Your Social Responsibility Efforts

Philanthropy is essential to the millennial lifestyle. 4 out of 5 are more likely to make buy from a company that supports causes that matter to them. Connecting with millennials on social issues will develop a meaningful relationship that reaches far beyond the allure of an advertisement.

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Renu is an independent marketer who enjoys creating engaging content for small businesses from software developers to furniture retailers. She earned her master’s in marketing from West Virginia University and her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Michigan. She can be found writing, traveling, or happily doing both.

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