Millennial is definitely a buzz word right now.  Mostly because they make up such a huge portion of the population.  As someone who technically falls into the “millennial” category, I can tell you first hand that social media marketing is a must if you want to reach them.  But how do you market to an entire demographic that does NOT want to be sold to?  Carefully.

The key here is engagement.  Most millenials answer that when a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become loyal customers.  This shows just how vital a digital presence is for companies trying to reach them.  And considering this generation is people age 16/18 to 30/35 (depending on who you ask), this is a HUGE demographic.

Like I said though, you have to market to them carefully.  They have grown up with social media marketing.  They can see it coming and they are running from it fast.  That’s why we see more and more millenials turning away and looking to social networks with no advertising.

Here are a few things to consider when marketing to millenials:

Skip the BS

This is putting it bluntly, but it’s true.  We are in a digital age and millenials definitely know how to use the internet –maybe better than you.  They do their research.  So be honest with your users.  The truth comes out either way.  If you’ve had issues in the past with certain aspects of your business, acknowledge them.  Don’t try to brush issues (or people) under the rug.  They actually appreciate companies who mess up and admit to their mistakes.  Accidents happen and they want to feel you’re being real with them.  It’s okay to admit faults in a constructive way.

Put Time into Reviews

Millenials review and they check for reviews.  Before trying a restaurant, a subscription company, a movie, or even a type of peanut butter –these guys are checking for reviews.  YOU have to be diligent enough to know every review out there about yourself and come up with a strategy for responding to them in a helpful, timely, consistent, and positive manner.

Don’t hide negative reviews; respond to them.  Work instead to improve your faults instead of working to cover them up.

Don’t Try Too Hard

Don’t be the “cool dad” that walks into the room and tries to use the current slang. Second hand embarrassment is real.  Also, when you’re trying too hard for things to look perfect; you’re losing real people.  This is the age of realness.  We want to see what those clothes will really look like on our actual body shapes. Not what they have the potential to look like if we ran 67 miles a day and ate a diet of celery.  Real people using real products.  Be natural.

Interact Instead of Selling

Social media is actually intended for people to be social.  It takes the fun out of it when we’re being told to BUY MY PRODUCT and TRY OUR SERVICES constantly.  That’s not why we use social networks.  Be there for people.  If they have a question or concern, they can reach you.  If you decide to do something fun and creative, they can engage with you. I’m not saying never sell. I’m just saying don’t stand in the middle of Snapchat with a giant billboard screaming, “BUY, BUY, BUY!”  It may be more work for you, but you’re going to have to be more creative than that.

It’s not simple and it may not be what you’re used to, but try to go in with a plan.  In this digital age, a negative experience with a brand can translate into a catastrophic event for that business.  It’s hard to come back from a huge fail.  The internet never forgets. Learn from other company’s mistakes and also from what brands are doing to positively to connect with millennials.

You can do this; just be prepared.  What has your experience been when marketing to millenials? How would you recommend brands approach it? What fails have you seen or had? What do you think that the worst thing a marketer can do is? Comment below!