Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, now make up about 25% of the US population. They wield a whopping $1.3 trillion annually in buying power (and this number grows year-by-year) and 5 out of 6 millennials connect with companies on social media. Millennials are all about smartphones and social media, so being able to connect and engage with them is critical to the success of your social media strategy. Failure to do so will limit the reach of your social media campaigns significantly.
You need to understand what millennials are interested in, what motivates them, what resonates with them, and then and only then can you begin generating content that will capture their attention as they're scrolling through their feeds. Given the affinity millennials have for technology, they do want to engage with you - you just need to know how to tap into this valuable resource properly. Millennials can be an eclectic bunch with varying interests, but here are some general guidelines you can follow if you want to win over this age group:
Place A Big Focus On Visual Content
Millennials love visual content. Take Instagram as an example. They have 700 million monthly active users, 90% of which are younger than 35, and 91% of their posts are photos. Instagram is about as visual as you get, is made up almost entirely of millennials, and has experienced rapid growth since being launched in 2010. You should be posting plenty of visual content anyway given the impact it can have on the overall success of your social media marketing. People retain information better when visual content is present and engagement goes up when visual content is present.
There is just so much stuff posted on social media nowadays that it is hard to get excited about text-only posts and they simply blend in with the crowd. The content itself may be amazing, but what purpose does that content serve if no one is seeing it because they're simply skipping right past it while scrolling through their feed? Whether you are posting photos, GIFs, infographics, or videos, you are going to not only attract more millennials to your page, but you will get a boost in engagement from your overall follower base as a result. So get creative and try to pair as much content as you can with eye-catching visual content!
Keep Your Posts Short & Sweet
Ever heard of the phrase "snackable content?" If not, you should make it your new best friend if you're wanting to engage more millennials on social media. With as addicted to social media as millennials are, they are going to have accounts on multiple social media networks. So what does that mean for you? They don't have the time to read long, boring posts, or watch extremely long videos, and will very likely bypass those posts, not even giving your content a chance. There is where "snackable content" comes into play - give your readers just enough information to whet their appetite, so to speak, and let them decide if your links are worth clicking on.
Millennials consume so much information on a daily basis that you as a brand need to find ways to use "snackable content" to present your content in the sharpest way possible. The same applies to Twitter - just because you have 140 characters at your disposal doesn't mean you have to use all 140 characters each and every time. Think short and sweet whenever possible, as tweets with 110 characters or less actually get 17% more engagement. Just remember short and sweet doesn't mean you lose focus on quality - you can still pack a punch into a bite-size piece of content. Check out this graphic to see why you need to place an emphasis on "snackable content":
Stand For Something
Millennials aren't all about profits. They tend to favor brands that stand for something, meaning brands that have a cause they believe in and support. In fact, 75% of millennials said it's either fairly important or important that brands give back to society instead of focus solely on profit. Whether that's having a local cause in your community that you support, or if you're a national brand, a much larger non-profit or charity, showcase how you stand for that cause and give back to it. Millennials aren't expecting you to give all of your profits away, but Corporate Social Responsibility is something that has picked up a lot of steam in particular with this age group and you will earn a lot of engagement and loyalty by supporting a good cause.
Whether you are donating products, services, time, money, or a combination, showcase that on social media. The idea here is not to pat yourself on the back, but to instead use your follower base to bring even more attention to the cause you are supporting. You will, of course, bring attention to your brand at the same time, but that is an added bonus. You will surely get a lot of comments when talking about the cause you support, so be sure you respond to all of them. Now is not the time to ignore engagement, especially when a good deal of it will likely be coming from millennials. Tell them how to get involved in the cause and actively encourage it - millennials love to get involved and be part of the bigger picture.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Millennials, for the most part, love user-generated content and it can have a tremendous impact on your social media pages. Not only does it encourage active participation from your fans and followers, but it gives you content to share, thus lessening the burden for content creation on your part, and user-generated content tends to promote engagement, not only from millennials, but from your entire follower base. From the perspective of millennials, however, they trusted user-generated content 50% more than any types of media and they find it to be 35% more memorable than other types of media, statistics you can leverage to your advantage as a brand.
User-generated content can have a significant impact on purchasing decisions, given the tendency of people to trust what other people have to say versus what the brand has to say, so this is something that should already be part of your social media strategy, but now you have even more reason to encourage it. But how exactly do you encourage it? You can have a testimonial section on your website and your social media pages (be sure to share the positive reviews, as this also helps build brand loyalty) or you could run a contest where as part of the entry, people have to submit an idea or an image, along with whatever hashtag you include in the contest rules, thus helping extend the reach of the contest and your brand as the millennials, in this case, are doing part of the work for you by sharing the images with their friends and family.
For example, in this contest, entrants had to follow the brand on Instagram and upload an image of their baby wearing one of their products, along with the supplied hashtag, to Instagram, which is a classic Instagram photo contest proven to deliver results time and time again:
Talk About Trending Topics
It should come as no surprise to you that millennials like to remain relevant. They keep up with what is going on in the world and like to talk about topics that interest them on social media. Taking millennials out of the equation for a moment, it's important to jump in on trending topics from time to time to show the human side of your brand and that you're able to relate to what's going on in the real world. Find topics that are relevant to your brand and incorporate them into your social media marketing for a solid boost in engagement.
There are many ways you can do this - you can bring about actual discussion, by asking your followers questions about the topic, or you can go the humor route with "newsjacking", by taking a trending topic and turning it into a meme. Just remember to always be tasteful and avoid controversial topics, as you don't want to have the opposite effect here and offend anyone. But by talking about trending topics every once in awhile (be careful, do this too often and you'll risk annoying your audience), your notifications will light up with comments and you can join in on the conversation and talk about stories that millennials really care about.