Ed: This week we will be featuring a number of guest posts from undergraduate students from University of New South Wales who are building real businesses while still studying.
Today’s post is from Brian Lam, one of the founders of new startup Bakebox.com.au and Business Analyst Intern at Artesian Capital Management
Millennials eat, breathe and sleep technology. Sometimes literally! Research by a Nielson, a global data analytics company, shows that an astounding 83% of Millennials say that they sleep with their smartphones. Social media dominates a large proportion of our technology use, as it provides us with 24/7 access to information about friends, brands we love and other news that we follow.
As Millennials increasingly become one of the most powerful customer groups, many companies, large and small, have turned social media marketing from a “nice to have” to a “must have” by now. Yet, many still lack a deeper understanding of how we perceive and react to businesses.
As a Millennial running my own startup, I have seen both the customer and business perspective of things. I want to provide you guys with tips on how to effectively make us fall in love with your brand and stand out from all your competitors!
Do more than engage: ACKNOWLEDGE your customers.
Most brands know that engaging your customers is a vital part of their social media strategy.
Many brands are great at providing engaging content for their followers to read/ watch, or communicate directly with them through their social media pages. This is can be enough to turn these followers into paying customers.
In fact, a lot of the customers would Tweet, Instagram or create a Facebook post about your product to show the world without you having to do anything. But why stop there?
Millennials EXPECT acknowledgement that they have purchased a product from the company. A marketer would “like” or “favourite” the customer’s post about the purchase of their product, but a smart marketer would put in the extra effort to reply with a simple thank you or even ask for permission to “re-post” the content on the company’s social media pages.
By doing this, you can make every customer feel like a VIP, ensuring that they will come back for more.
Boost Juice’s “regram” / acknowledgement / providing user-generated content to its Instagram followers.
Share, but don’t overshare
Social-media oversharing has become a problem. By oversharing, I’m not talking about posting too many times in one day on a social media page. I’m talking about the fact that companies feel inclined to be on every social media platform to maintain their presence.
You should maintain a strong presence by just focusing on one or two platforms.
Every social media platform has their own benefits over the others. None can be one-size-fits-all (at least not right now). So which should you use?
From a Millennial’s perspective, our four most USED social media platforms would be Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter. However, most used doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best for your business. For example, Facebook is most popular than any other social network with over 1.3 billion users as of June 2014. However, a lot of businesses are reporting that Instagram provides a much higher level of brand interaction from their customers.
Forrester, an independent tech and market research company studied over three million user interactions across seven social networks. Six of the seven had engagement rates of less than .1%, whereas Instagram topped them at 4.21%. However, this doesn’t mean you should discount using other platforms to reach your audiences.
Overall, this is a general perspective on how to/ if you should use each the four most popular platforms among Millennials.
This is practically a necessity for all brands that are invested in social, mainly due to the fact that nearly EVERYONE uses it.
We digital-window shop here. A lot.
Even non-lifestyle related businesses such as Intel, Taco Bell, American Express and General Electric use the platform often.
Millennials LOVE YouTube. According to YouTube’s Q2 2014 insights, they reach almost 50% of people aged between 18- 34. We are using YouTube for everything, particularly to make informed purchase decisions with “review videos” and “how-to” videos.
YouTube can be effective for most type of businesses if you know how to correctly make great video content for your audiences (for some, YouTube IS their business). The only downside is that it can be very time consuming and sometimes costly to make a great video, especially for smaller businesses with a low budget. But that’s not always the case.
Witness Dollar Shave Club’s viral video which generated 17 million hits, with a tiny $4,500 budget.
Twitter is another much-loved platform by Millennials. Twitter is a place where we feel like we have more freedom to tell our own life stories and to share random thoughts, without being criticised or judged as much. There are thousands of major brands that use the platform, particularly to offer deals, customer service and even live “company celebrity” Q&A’s with figures such as Richard Branson to Victoria’s Secret models. However, Twitter must be handled very carefully if you decide to use it, as there have been countless incidents of brands causing viral PR disasters.
As a business, you only have so many hours in the day to dedicate your time to social media. So pick your platform of choice and start to practice smart sharing.
Videos speak louder than pictures
Many businesses recognise the effectiveness of video in engaging their audiences. Yet, they have put it at the very end of their marketing to-do’s and decide to stick to what they know. But I can’t blame them. After all, taking a photo of your product is a lot easier than producing a decently filmed and edited clip of it.
Video-focused, social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular with Millennials. A 2014 YouTube study showed that an astounding 98% of 18-34 year-olds use their smartphones on a daily basis to consume video content. As mentioned before, YouTube alone reaches almost 50% of people within this age bracket. Other than YouTube, these are two services that you should take notice of:
Vine is a short-video sharing service. It almost EXACTLY like Twitter, except it is a video version of it. Users are limited to creating a 6 second video rather than Twitter’s character limit. You may think, what? How can a six second video create any impact or value to attract customers?
Check out Dunkin Donut’s six-seconds of awesomeness.
It has been played at ESPN football matches, shared and re-shared on multiple social media sites. According to them, their “Vine delivers as many impressions as a comparable TV spot” at a fraction of the cost.
Most people have probably heard about Snapchat. It is another “experimental” social media video platform for marketers right now. For those who don’t know, it is a mobile messaging app, where you can send photos or videos to your friends that will only last ten seconds max, after which they will be deleted forever.
Recently, Snapchat launched its “My Story” feature, in which a collection of photos or videos may be shared for 24 hours before being deleted. Businesses have begun to catch on to this feature, creating amazing ads for their followers. In a Millennial’s perspective, a business that uses Snapchat is COOL.
One great example is Electric Daisy Carnival, a popular music festival, and their demonstration of Snapchat’s My Story feature. You can see it in the video below:
The video-marketing area is great for out-of-the-box ideas, however its not easy to create a viral video, even if it is only a short six seconds. But you should at least inform yourself of what popular video mediums there are right now and how you could effectively use them.
Businesses don’t really buy from businesses. People do
This is a great piece of advice that I read about in a Forbe’s article, written by contributor Micah Solomon. It comes from a conversation that he had with David Edelman, McKinsey’s leader of their Digital Marketing Strategy group.
It is a short tip for readers who are involved in the B2B space. When people talk about Millennials, most think of the B2C space but ignore the fact that Millennials can sometimes be the ones that hold the purchasing power for a business that they own or one that they work for. In our digitalised world, we bring on some expectations of technology with us to our new workplace. Solomon states that, if a “vendor’s website is clunky, has bad search is kind of a half-baked version of a catalog pasted onto an online environment, they’re going to go running to a different vendor.” And I completely agree. When we are doing the buying for the businesses we work for, our expectations come from the best of what is available and we WON’T settle for less.
If you want talk more about Millennials or digital marketing strategy in general, feel free to contact me via LinkedIn Profile.