Social media: Selling to Millennials

Millennials are quickly becoming the majority; and we are making our mark on the world. Soon we will be the largest generation, which means we will be the ones spending the most money on your products. That’s right, it is estimated that by 2018, Millennials will not only outspend Baby Boomers, but we will spend more than $3.4 trillion on goods and services. If you want your business to thrive, you will have to adapt to the way Millennials shop and buy, and social selling is the key.

Have a social media presence

This one might seem obvious: you need to have social media accounts, if not, we will see you as irrelevant. And once you get them, please use them! An inactive account is as bad as no account. You do not have to hire a social media guru, simply posting a few times a week is sufficient to show Millennials that you understand us and are not outdated.

Social media does not have to take a lot of time either. There are many tools available that will allow you to post to several social media services at once and even schedule your posts.

Join the social media conversation

Social media is a great tool, but many companies make the mistake of talking AT their audience instead of talking WITH them. Do not be afraid to interact. Is someone praising your product on Twitter? Great, thank them. Did someone give you a negative review on Facebook? That’s ok, interact with them (in a positive way) to get more insight.

Not interacting with customers can have negative effects on your company. Take for example Starbucks. After customers criticised their “Race Together” campaign, the VP of Marketing closed his Twitter account, which only caused more outrage. Sure you might feel bombarded, but facing the issue, responding to concerns and admitting when you were wrong can go a long way. When you respond, people will trust you; especially Millennials. It demonstrates to us that you care about your customers.

Share positive reviews

We grew up bombarded by advertisement; TV, print, and the Internet. This has made us less susceptible to ads, and we do not believe in them. Actually, we get pretty annoyed by them. And today with TV on-demand, where we can just fast-forward through the commercials, or Netflix, which has none, we pretty much ignore and avoid ads like the plague. Every Millennial I know has ad blocker on their computer.

Why? Simple, we do not want to be sold to. Instead, Millennials prefer customer reviews and testimonials. We always do our research before buying, especially if we have never done business with the company. How can you help yourself? Retweet a good review, comment on a Facebook post, regram (on Instagram) or pin a picture of someone using your product (on Pinterest); the possibilities are endless. While sharing customer reviews will not prevent us from doing our own research, it will shine a more positive light on your company and demonstrate that real people use and like your product.

But don’t forget to interact with people who left a negative review; ask them for feedback so you can improve. Chances are, he or she is not the only person who has had this problem and if you don’t get involved in the discussion, it will occur without you.

Storytelling

Like other generations before us, we love a compelling story. Tell us why we need your product. You do not have to create a whole different campaign for social media. Just make sure it is relevant to the platform you are posting on (ie. do not post a blog on Pinterest or Instagram). Post your traditional media materials, such as blog, picture or video, on social media to reach Millennials. We especially love emotional stories that tug our hearts (and cats).

So now what?

Building a strong social presence might take a few months. But by posting regularly and interacting with your audience, you will start seeing the fruit of your efforts. Encourage your customers to follow you on social media by having the links visible on your website and finding ways to get your links in places where Millennials may be looking.