It’s no surprise that Generation Y represents the majority of social media users. With more than 80 million users who were born between 1982 and 1993 surfing on social networking sites every day, PR Daily recently dubbed my generation the “gods of social media.” As a Gen Y’er, here’s why I’m a god(dess)—outside of the obvious reasons, of course.
I can still remember getting our first family computer. It was such an epic day for me, and the start of my love affair with Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? (still one of the best games out there), Oregon Trail, Sim City and Kid Pix.
I also remember teaching my parents how to use new versions of computers over the years, something folks in my generation learned by “just doing” and not “Googling.” Quite frankly, we’ve been trying, testing and perfecting technology since we were kids. Our eagerness to master new technology holds true today, and is just one reason why I think Millennials aren’t afraid to try new social channels, apps or products.
Our eagerness to master new technology holds true today, and is just one reason why I think Millennials aren’t afraid to try new social channels, apps or products.
Since most Gen Y’ers, like me, remember their first family computer or when a laptop was as thick as a concrete block or the ever-so popular Zach Morris cell phone, we have a unique (and often opinionated) understanding of where technology has been and where and new media is going.
And since my generation has also faced some of the worst unemployment rates in the history of our country, we’re very cautious as to the brands, technology and networks on which we spend our money.
If you’re a marketer, how do you reach Millennials?
There’s a good chance that you can reach Gen Y’ers on the digital sphere since, according to Dan Schawbel’s research, 41% of Millennials have made a purchase using their smartphone, 63% stay updated on brands through social networks, 46% count on social media when buying online and 44% are willing to promote products or services through social media in exchange for rewards.
What are some safe bets for reaching us on social media?
We’re extremely picky about the ads that resonate with us and I would encourage marketers to create campaigns that have a human connection. Brand marketing on social networks should share something that’s comical, visually graphic or nostalgic to warm our hearts.
We’re kids of the ‘90s and anytime you can take us back to the magnificent neon glow of that bygone era and all the things we remember from our childhood, we’re hooked.
We want you to be effortlessly witty.
We want memes and infographics.
We respond to nostalgia. We’re kids of the ‘90s and anytime you can take us back to the magnificent neon glow of that bygone era and all the things we remember from our childhood, we’re hooked. For example, this Buzzfeed article was shared in a recent email with 132 people that my friends or I knew.
We’re looking to share exciting content that our friends would enjoy and we want to be the first to that content. If I’m the first to share a meme or the latest Buzzfeed sensation with my friends, it’s a major social win.
Yes, my generation is very extrinsically motivated and we need the praise of peers and parents. Marketers should realize that we’re also fighting hard to achieve the high goals we, along with our parents, have set for ourselves. So, if you give us a social media victory and make us look like a genius in the process, we’ll keep coming back to your brand, blog or news site.
Like I said before, my generation is very technologically literate, and we don’t really pay attention to basic information about a new product. Don’t waste your time talking about features; we prefer to discover them on our own (much like we’ve helped our parents navigate computers over the years). Instead, we want you to educate us on other products or apps that we should know about whether or not we buy your product. This shows us that your brand is just as savvy as we are, and intent on keeping us in the loop on the latest and greatest (and giving us the scoop to share with friends).
We also demand interaction and response. As we flood social media networks, our generation has the power to advocate your brand or completely slam it. And your actions/ interactions, or lack thereof, as a company have a profound effect on what we think about you.
Here’s a personal example: frustrated and fed up with the lack of customer service and intolerably archaic antics of my cable provider, I took my frustrations to Twitosphere. In less than 140 characters, I implored with my cable provider to address my issues. Instead of being blown away by their responsive social media customer service, I never heard one word from the company and became even angrier. After no response, I took to Twitter again soliciting advice on OTHER cable provider suggestions because I was dropping the current one. I had three friends encounter the same frustrations and ultimately drop that provider as well. Keep in mind these conversations all took place in an extremely open forum, and of course included the provider’s handle. And as a marketer, this type of silence from a brand is maddening.
The number of customers this company lost may sound insignificant (me plus my three friends), but what should be scary to that company is that we have the power to significantly multiply that number with negative online review and social media chatter (something my generation heavily relies on) using only our two thumbs and a smart phone. Side note: the frustrated tweet I sent about the cable provider was retweeted four times to a potential viewership of nearly 4,200 Tweeps. Take that, cable provider.
If you do one thing in 2014, refocus your social media marketing. Give our generation something to talk about (online) and surprise us with something refreshing.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/75170076@N08/6819609675/”>ThePlanetEris</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>