Marketing to Millennials - A Younger Audience and Social Media Etiquette

By July 23, 2011
Millennials are connected and engaged

While accessing teens and 20-somethings online is an effective strategy, brands must keep very important protocols in mind to engage this demographic group.

Targeting younger adults through the Internet is effective for marketing, with some caveats. Several studies show together that Milleniums, those born in the 1980's and 1990's, are highly connected yet very critical of how brands use the digital space. Most Millennials (93 percent) are online often and for extended periods of time, and "also have the highest labor-force participation by age bracket in the US," according to data reported in GigaOm. Thus, this section of the population is valuable for brands to target.

While this group is extremely active online, this does not translate to being easy to win over with social media. As MTV found, complex etiquette has emerged surrounding social identity, brand affiliation and overall sharing or engagement. 

Brands and individuals are subject to judgement based on this set of code. Respondents often post repurposed content instead of directly discuss politics or religion in social media, subjects that only one-third consider appropriate for this venue. By linking to content, millennials are "being controversial by proxy, letting videos or articles indirectly represent their opinions. 

This is valuable for brands, since they can fill this proxy role by representing opinions, movements or public issues. Perceived image becomes a status update, which can tap into virality. Just as individuals curate their online identity, brands can do the same. Seasoned self-broadcasters, ninety percent responded that "it's important how others view them and their reputation on Facebook, so they constantly and fluidly shift between chosen identities in order to present their 'best selves and lives.'" AdAge showed similar behavior by brands with Google's logo, Geico's multiple mascots, or the new Zync product from American Express geared towards a younger consumer.

Milleniums expect communication, and react favorably to feedback. This group expects same day responses for all digital communication, and when they receive it, 64 percent feel more connected, 58 percent a boost in confidence. 

This generation is fluent in so many communication tools, so it is important to leverage the correct message with the appropriate venue. While older generations could be marketed through phone calls or even e-mail, social media provides a casual and opt-in arena for this valuable category to be accessed and engaged with.

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