5 Engaging Tips for Marketing to Millennials

5 Engaging Tips for Marketing to Millennials

There are currently about 80 million millennials in the US. They have well surpassed the baby boomer population of 74.9 million. Additionally, with an annual buying power of $200 billion, it is safe to say that they are the most advantageous markets for companies to be taking a look at.

 

However, this target market differs from others in many ways. They spot the tricks of the trade. They understand the fact that companies see them as a dollar sign.

 

And guess what? They find it annoying and don’t like it.

 

This is because they are constantly bombarded with media. The constant media is not what they are annoyed with. They understand that their screen time use is off the charts compared to other generations. However, this means they aren’t going to simply buy into everything and anything that you put out there. They are able to cut through the trash pretty quickly.

 

Keeping that in mind, here are 5 modern tips for marketing to millennials.

 

  1. Authentic Content can be Empowering

As a millennial myself, I feel I can seem to be one of the most looked-down upon generations ever. No, we don’t like the idea of a 9-5 desk job. No, we don’t want to sit in an office full of old folks who just want to tell us we are young and naive. This is why EMPOWERING content is so refreshing for us. No one seems to believe in us but wants our fresh, young perspective. Can you say, “Feeling a little used”? Because of this we put our tech savvy and internet conversation power to use. We like adding to the conversation that is happening on social media. We get lost in video, blog, and photo content for extended periods of time. Therefore, when we come across content that we feel is not only current but honest, we take note. 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. Additionally, we want to share this refreshing content with our friends. If it sparks the feeling of being trustworthy, it is likely to have a domino effect.

 

    2. Collaboration!

Collaboration is key for millennials. However, nailing this aspect definitely calls for some research. It involves looking at the work of companies, accounts, and products that your particular audience is interested in. Take a look at the content they are generating. Don’t be afraid to name drop those places in your content. It shows that your goals align with their current interest and places that they trust. Additionally, don’t forget to reach out to social accounts driving media influence.

 

    3. Outbound Material is Way Out

After mentioning how content driven millennials are, hopefully you have caught the drift that traditional methods are fortunately out. Millennials crave connection in marketing. Therefore, your traditional random/picture perfect girl or guy flipping their hair and smiling for your product unfortunately isn’t going to cut it anymore. In the mind of a millennial, this comes off as impersonal and company driven. Millennials want to feel involved and important in what they invest their time in. We want to add to the conversation and feel we are a part of it.

 

    4. Intentionally Crafted Material

Outbound marketing leads us to out next point… the importance of understating their lifestyle. What is the best way to form a relationship with someone? Ask them questions about what going on in their life.

We are a generation that thrives off of sarcasm and humor. *Note, the success of memes with our generation. They are usually lifestyle based and something that we laugh at and share with/tag our 10 bffs in. Also, take a look into some of the words that are selling products right now: wanderlust, craftsman, discover, organic, escape, authentic. They all have something in common, they exude a sense of being real/in the now. Let’s look back to point number one… Constantly being put down can be emotionally draining. It’s not like millennials don’t understand that this is not how life naturally is. We simply seem to be the generation that has collectively adopted the mentality of breaking free from the routine lifestyle. We value freedom, experiences and living in a different way than others do. By going out and doing it. Also, we don’t let the judgmental forces we face every day get the best of us. This is why EMPOWERING content is so refreshing for us.

 

   5. Millennials Just Want to Have Fun

*Que Cyndi Lauper. Yes… I know who that is. The bottom line for millennials here is that they are all about the now, experience and living in the moment. Things that comes a sense of well… fun. And honestly, is it so bad that we have a generation that is craving a sense of authenticity and genuine relationships. In world that has become so disconnected, give your audience a way to become connected and feel valued.

 

If you nail the marketing strategy for reaching millennials, you will see results. What is your company doing to reach this demographic?

 

 

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of those buzzwords that has been floating around for a few years but has really gotten hot in the past 12-18 months.

 

Everyone has this innate craving to be known – to be considered an influencer in their industry, whether it be interior design, cooking, art, or even… social media marketing (yes, I’m calling myself out on that one). Being an influencer is one thing, working with influencers to help promote your business is another.

 

You don’t have to me some mega-company like Chanel or McDonald’s to use influencers, likewise you don’t have to use big celebrity names either. Find those who are passionate about your brand/company who have a good-sized following (it doesn’t have to be a million followers) and start there.

 

When I attended the 2017 Southern C Summit, James Nord of Fohr Card spoke on this topic, which is something his company specializes in – bringing creatives (read: influencers) together.

 

James talked about how traditional digital media is trending towards obsolescence. Consumers are expecting more. They want to be inspired.

 

Take a look at Instagram, for example. Think back and look at how the posts have changed over the past 2-3 years. You see more creative posts involving more people. Companies are sharing more user-generated content. Brands are featuring their most passionate fans, or as Mark Schaefer calls them, your alpha audience. You see accounts with Instagram take-overs from industry influencers.

 

Enlisting these influencers, or creatives, is often driven by passion, not profit. The influencers doing these campaigns and posts for these brands/companies, are not doing it for the money (well, maybe a few are) – they are doing it because they love that brand.

 

Example: me and Sprout Social. I have been a loyal Sprout Social customer since 2012. Actually, more like a raving, passionate fan/customer. I could go on and on about why I love and continue to use their program when, honestly, there are less expensive ones out there. Sprout saw my passion for their company and invited me to be a part of their inaugural All-Star Influencer Program. I do not get paid for it. Yes, I’m asked to post about them a few times a month, which I was doing anyway, but in return for being that passionate customer, I’ve been featured on their Sprout Insights blog, gotten some awesome swag, and even had one of my largest consulting clients referred to me. I do not have a million followers. I do not live in Los Angeles or New York. I’m just a passionate, committed customer who has a good-sized following.

 

In his talk at the Summit, James Ford shared with us lessons learned from his Drink with James video series (which I highly recommend)…

15 Influencer Marketing Items to Consider

 

1. Why are people following you?

You or your client must be doing something right if you have a continual growth of your community. If people are following you, you have to deliver great content.

 

2. Have a business mindset.

If you are wanting to grow your following (or your client’s), you have to think about it everyday – it will be like a part-time job. It’s intentional, much like knowing why you are using social media in the first place.

 

3. Invest in your business.

Make sure you have the right products, equipment, education. Continually be growing as a leader in your industry.

 

4. Be consistent.

Your social feed is your landing page (think Instagram). People who visit your accounts need to know what to expect. This same principle applies to branding. All accounts need to flow across each other.

 

5. Differentiation

You have to be yourself, but you also have to be different. What makes you better than your competitor? What can you deliver that they cannot?

 

6. Build relationships

Influencers for your brand are not built overnight. They are cultivated through a relationship. This is very important. In fact, building a relationship with all of your followers (as a whole) is important. They are your reason why you have anyone looking at your social posts anyway.

 

7. Figure out what it’s worth

If you want to be an influencer, figure out what you should charge. If you are looking to use an influencer in a campaign, figure out what they charge and what you’re willing to pay (cash, trade, free product). A model James gave in his talk, for example with Instagram, take your following, divide it by 1,000 and then multiple it by 10. But also think about the niche. Real life example, @memarketingservices has 1,224 followers. Divide that by 1,000 and that equals 1.22, then multiply by 10 and I could charge $12.24 per post to a company who wanted me as an influencer. For Twitter, it’s the same formula, but you divide by 10,000.

 

8. Work the negotiation

Not all influencers want to be paid. Shocking, I know. Some actually do it simply for the exposure. And that can be big.

 

9. Cold emailing

The thought of cold-calling sends chills down my spine, but cold emailing isn’t as bad. If you are going to cold email a person or brand about an influencer campaign, do your homework first about them and have a great pitch.

 

10. Know how to have your photos taken

James suggested the subject have some alcohol first so they’ll relax, but I’m not going to advocate for that. You do what you think is best. However, whether you are the influencer or you are working on an influencer campaign, having the right photo is key. Work with a photographer – educate yourself – look at other posts for inspiration (but do NOT copy).

 

11. Know the FTC rules.

If you are an influencer for a company or you are working with one, you MUST disclose the relationship. If not, there could be legal ramifications for all parties involved. You can also use a hashtag to disclose such as #brandnamepartner.

 

12. Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT buy followers

Not only is this a Terms of Service violation on EVERY platform, Instagram is working on a ratings tool, much like the Twitter ones floating about.

 

13. Know your growth rates and what to look for

You want to make sure you are getting positive ROI (return on investment) on your influencer campaign. Below are some benchmarks to look for.

 

14. Speak outside your niche (go off-brand)

There are certain times and places to go off-brand. You want to stay consistent, but there will be times it’s okay to stray off the path for variety sake. Just make sure it’s relevant.

 

15. Look ahead

Once this campaign is done, where do you go next? Was this a good experience? Would you do it again? Constantly be planning for what’s coming.

 

Still considering influencer use? Here are some statistics to consider:

 

  • Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. (source)
  • Twitter users now trust influencers as much as they trust their friends.
  • Influencer Marketing is more effective than advertising since 47% of online customers use ad block technology.
  • 73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (source)

 

Have you thought about using influencers for your company/brand or have you been tapped as an influencer yourself for a company? We’d love to hear how that experience went. Share below in the comments!

 

 

 

26 Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

26 Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” – Ryan Lilly

 

I came across the above quote and thought it to be a great illustration of how social media has molded itself into a business’ marketing strategy. Yes, social media is taking over marketing. And the world.

 

Of course any good marketing strategy is built with statistics and data behind it – behaviors, interests, patterns, demographics, etc., and any good marketing strategist will make sure said strategy truly has the measurable data to back it up.

 

Being a fan of data and statistics, I love finding different bits of information among the common data we social marketing professionals regularly use. Some bits are eye-opening, some are really odd. Some make you sit and really evaluate what your actual usage behavior is, while some just make you laugh. Below are 27 social media statistics I have found while doing client research and putting together my weekly Marketing Fact Friday series (which you can follow on my Instagram account). If you want to dig deeper, I’ve linked the source for you.

 

Social Media Usage

  • Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media: almost 7 hours per week versus Millennials, who come in second, spending just over 6 hours per week. (Nielsen)
  • Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile. (MarketingLand)
  • 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. (Pew Research Center)
  • Nearly half (43%) of weekly Facebook activity and a third (33%) of weekly Twitter activity occurred on Sundays. (Nielsen)
  • The number of active social media users worldwide is 2.78 billion, out of the world’s population of 7.47 billion. (we are social)
  • Smartphones accounted for 78% of adults, ages 18-34, total weekly social minutes. (Nielsen)
  • Adults ages 50+ spent 64% more time on social media in 2016 than in 2015. (Nielsen)
  • 85% of people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news. (Byte of Data)

 

Social Media + TV

  • There were 11.8 million TV-related interactions on Facebook from 5.9 million people on average each day this fall. (Nielsen)
  • On an average day, 42% of those interacting with TV on Facebook are Generation X, 40% are Millennials, and the remaining 18% are Baby Boomers. (Nielsen)
  • 81% of engagement with TV-related Tweets comes organically from the audience. (Nielsen)
  • 57% of people who used their tablet while watching television said they visited Facebook while doing so, compared with 24% who said they visited Twitter. On smartphones, those numbers were 58% and 20%, respectively. (Nielsen)

 

Social Media + Business

  • More than 2 million advertisers regularly use Facebook to market their business. (Hootsuite)
  • While 64 percent of marketers have a Snapchat account, only 67 percent of those accounts are active. (L2)
  • 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved. (Hootsuite)
  • 13% of heavy social media users clicked on an advertisement within the last 30 days. (Nielsen)
  • 30% of heavy social media users think it’s very or somewhat important to engage with social media in order to show support of their favorite companies or brands. (Nielsen)
  • 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases. (Pinterest)

 

Social Media Content

  • Tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (HubSpot)
  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Brain Rules)
  • 62% of B2B marketers rated videos as an effective content marketing tactic in 2016. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Cisco)
  • 51% of all video plays are on mobile devices — this growth represents a 15% increase from 2015 and a 203% increase from 2014. (Facebook)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Small Business Trends)
  • Videos under five minutes in length account for 55% of total video consumption time on smartphones. (Ooyala)
  • 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. (Digiday)

 

Some of these statistics you may be able to use for your own business, or for a client. Having data to back up anything you propose or want to do yourself, is always key – it gives you and what you are proposing more credibility (as long as the data is from a credible source).

 

What kind of data and statistics are used in your business’ marketing strategy? Share with us below!

 

I wrote this article as a guest post for My Social Game Plan and has been republished with permission.

 

 

Using Your Millennial Target Audience as the Face for Your Company

Using Your Millennial Target Audience as the Face for Your Company

Oh millennials. We hear about them all the time. We hear about their low work ethic, question their motives and laugh when we see them take 100 pictures of their “soy low-fat Carmel macchiato, please”. However, if that is the case, then why are so many of these businesses craving their approval through social media? As a millennial myself, part of my answer is because that macchiato is about to get 2,000+ likes on Instagram.

 

But what is the most effective way for your business to gain the likes, follows and shares that these young adults hold?

 

About 97% of online adults (age 16-64) have either visited or used a social media platform in the last month. Going even further, 8 out of 10 internet users use social media on their mobile devices. This is no surprise to most of us. However, it is important to understand that millennials see the most advertisements in a week simply because they are the generation using most screen time through a variety of devices. Because of this, it is easy for millennials to quickly sort this media into two categories:

  1. Business we trust
  2. Business we don’t trust

 

Knowing this should definitely put some sort of stress on the importance of the content you are putting out there. It needs to be relatable, available, tell your story as a business – but at the same time, brief enough that a viewer does not feel annoyed/overwhelmed. If that is the case, then why not simply look to your audience for the influence? You know… the audience getting the 2,000 likes on a picture of a three-dollar coffee.

 

Now more than ever, consumers are looking to read reviews rather than ignore them. They want reviews that they feel they can trust and are not paid for. Google recently published a study showing that social media is practically always the first channel consumers face before purchasing a product. Opening the door to the idea of brand ambassadors could seriously benefit your business in a big way. For example, millennials are spending about 11 hours of their week streaming video content. Of those users, 60% of 18-24 year olds trust popular YouTube endorsements. A lot of this is because this these popular accounts, whether it be on YouTube, Instagram or other social platforms, have successfully branded themselves into a figure that their followers trust.

 

This person does not necessarily need to be a major figure. Many times they are simply millennials themselves. Compensation can be something as transparent as a discount, resume builder, or simply a shout out displaying their blog or social media handles. This connection should be thought of as a relationship rather than a task. As a college student myself, I have had multiple opportunities to be a brand ambassador and gained some solid resume experience.

 

So what is the bottom line here?

 

If the audience is able to see a connection they have with the individual behind the scenes of a brand; whether that be a sense of humor, adventure or drive they are more likely to go through with a follow or purchase. And what is a better way of doing that then supporting those who have supported you from the beginning?

Another Hard Lesson Learned in Business

Another Hard Lesson Learned in Business

I have a confession to make. I screwed up this week. Royally.

 

I’m not a perfect person (or business owner or mom or wife or friend), nor have I ever claimed to be. I do, however, believe in walking the talk, and that’s where I failed.

 

As a social media professional, I have given umpteen talks about being cautious about what you post on social media – both as an individual and as a brand. Words can be taken the wrong way, interns can totally mess up a business’ image, accounts can get hacked – we’ve all heard the stories.

 

I have one to add to that list because I, Mandy Edwards the professional, did it to myself.

 

One of my business’ mantras is to always conduct itself with transparency and with complete honesty. We’re always upfront about everything, so every question can be answered. And this can be for better or for worse, but I have found through long, tough experience, transparency and honesty will get you a lot farther in business than lies and cover-ups.

 

So in that spirit, for better or for worse, I share this with you so you can learn from my mistake. See, you can be fresh out of college and new to this, or have been in this business many, many years like myself. Mistakes happen to everyone but how we handle them, I feel, says a lot.

 

This past week, I had a few business “events” (as we will call them) not work out like I had hoped, which left me in not a good place. At about the same time this last “event” fell through, I found out about yet another business “event” that I missed out on, which was what I call, the straw breaking the camel’s back. This all took place around 10:30-11:00pm (nothing good happens after 10pm – we should all just go to bed). Being the self-admitted hot-headed redhead I am, I sent out three cryptic angry tweets, one vague Facebook status, and an Instagram quote on my business account, which I re-grammed onto my personal account. Oh, and a ranting blog post as well. No organizations, businesses, or individuals were named in any of it. But I knew better. I knew better.

 

Feeling somewhat vilified, I go to bed and wake up six hours later feeling like the most horrible person in the world (and still felt that way for two days). Within a couple hours of waking, all the tweets (and the few replies) and the two Instagram posts were deleted. The Facebook status was getting a lot of response from a lot of business owners so I left it (it was joking about how being a business owner needs a guidebook on handling the emotional rollercoaster that comes along with it). The blog post got buried deep in the website thanks to backdating.

 

But in those 6-8 hours it was all up, even though it was the middle of the night when everyone was asleep, people took notice. The ones I was upset with took notice. Everything was taken down, but I still didn’t feel right. I felt bad because I knew better. I knew I messed up. I knew I did something I shouldn’t have – I didn’t walk the talk. I failed myself.

 

So I did what I thought was best – I publicly admitted (without the details) to my followers what I did and owned up to it. If I can’t be transparent and honest in my business in a time when there’s so much fake-ness going on online, then how can I be a good steward to my clients? I own up to them if I mess up, so I feel I owe the same to you.

 

I also reached out and messaged an individual who was upset about the posts and apologized to them. My fingers were shaking as I typed it. I felt like I was going to be sick. But I knew I had to – I felt the Lord telling me it was the right thing to do. I knew I was in the wrong and I had to own up it.

 

In our sermon in church Sunday, our Pastor made a statement that made me reflect on all of this. He said the words we speak reflect what’s really in our heart. It made me think, did I really mean those rash things I said as a result of a hurt ego and wounded business pride? No, but it’s a statement that’s made me more aware of what I will say in the future.

 

As a business owner, I royally screwed up. Someone recently called a good friend and mentor of mine a “loose cannon”. That’s the best way to describe what I was the other night. It’s not fun writing about this. Believe me – I’d MUCH rather write about 10 tips to increase your Instagram engagement or creative ways to use Facebook Live during the holiday season.

 

I just hope that if you are reading this, you see this as an example of what not do “in the moment” when you’re upset or so angry about something you need to vent. Social media is a great medium for a lot of things, but venting or releasing your feelings over something is not the place.

 

Mark this off as a lesson learned.

 

 

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