As a Millennial working at a tech PR agency, it’s been exciting to watch social media grow up with me. In middle school, when I taught myself how to code while building my first Myspace page with flashing graphics and an embedded playlist, I never thought social media would enter the “mainstream” world of media and marketing like it has.
According to a study done by the American Press Institute, 88% of Millennials use Facebook for information. However, in recent years, Twitter has been increasing its growth rate exponentially. Each type of social network platform provides information in its own way, so it can be difficult to reach similar target audiences with the same message through each platform. As Millennials have slowly taken over the working world, reaching us with recruiting messages, as well as product and brand stories, is becoming vital to organizational growth.
Although Millennials are a diverse bunch and it’s impossible to speak for an entire digital generation, here are a couple of “dos and dont’s” that can keep your brand from being blocked, ignored or just plain missed on your audience’s social networks. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Don’t Bore Us with Lengthy Posts
The Internet is an infinite source of information, some credible and some not-so-credible. We want information that is valuable, worth our time and easy to sift through. If the words in your tweet or headline are intriguing enough, we’ll go to your website to look for more information without thinking twice about it.
Most adults under the age of 35 use a mixture of social media networks, so a general rule of thumb is to start with snackable content. Let us decide if it’s worth clicking the link. Studies show that out of the 64% of U.S. adults who use Facebook, 30% of those users end up consuming news. Being that social users tend to gravitate towards a platform like Facebook for personal use and expression, if you post too much information at one time with wordy paragraphs and no concise introduction of the main points you want us to know, we’ll keep scrolling.
Also, just because Twitter has a 140-character limit (for the time being) doesn’t mean you HAVE to use all 140 characters. Keep it short, sweet and simple as much as possible.
Do Speak to Young Adults Like Young Adults
We know that you want to be the coolest brand on the block. We also know when you’re trying too hard to be the coolest brand on the block. Understand which end of the Generation Y spectrum you’re targeting and speak to them appropriately.
Take the 2016 Presidential Election for example. Many candidates have realized the impact of the younger voters and have boosted their images on social media. It’s important that these candidates understand that they are not speaking to freshmen in high school; they’re speaking to freshmen in college and beyond. There is a big difference.
In an attempt to engage with Millennials, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted “How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.” Yes, we want snackable content, and yes we may have a multitasking mindset; however, we are fully capable of expressing ourselves in the form of a full sentence. Student debt is one of the biggest issues for Millennials, it’s something to be taken seriously, and three emojis don’t express the importance of this topic. Make sure you understand your message and engagement goals, and communicate it properly.
Don’t Talk Just to Talk
Hashtags give social media the ability to direct and track conversations. With a quick search on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you can easily see what people are talking about and what is trending highest.
Trending hashtags are very, very tempting for brands. It’s easy to see other companies engaging with users on social media and think you want a slice of that pie. However, you don’t have to engage in every single trending topic. Ask yourself these questions before using a trending hashtag:
- Did I actually click the hashtag to see what it’s about?
- Is MY target market talking about it?
- If so, are they saying positive or negative things?
- How will this enhance our brand?
Sure, it may seem like harmless, engaging fun, but there needs to be a goal in mind and a strategic approach to joining in the conversation around a trending topic.
Love us or hate us, engaging with Millennials on social media has become a key strategy for many organizations. Finding the best approach can be a challenge for even the biggest brands, but by following a few simple dos and don’ts, you can ensure that you strike the right balance. And don’t forget to be authentic and use your own voice to connect with Millennials, or you could end up on this list.