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Millennials are poised to be the largest consumer generation in history. According to the Harvard Business Review, the 18- to 34-year-old demographic comprises roughly 25% of the total U.S. population (about 80 million people) and contributes around $600 billion in annual spending.
For companies searching for ways to creatively target Millennials on social media, the success of global brands like Macallan Scotch, Mercedes-Benz, and Nordstrom offers some important lessons that brand marketers can incorporate into their own digital marketing strategies.
Though Millennials share some similarities—their aversion to traditional advertising, for example, or their reliance on social media when making purchasing decisons—it is a mistake for marketers to “lump all Millennials together in one group” (Battery Ventures). Instead of developing campaigns that target an abstract millennial marketing persona, brands should focus on:
Millennials spend over 2 hours a day on social media platforms, according to a study cited in Marketing Land. Developing a strong social media presence and creating campaigns that leverage the interactive nature of social media is the best way for brands to get on Millennials’ radar.
A recent Think With Google study showed that 40% of Millennials connect more with YouTubers than with friends, a statistic that illustrates the level of trust 18- to 24-year-olds have in the recommendations of social media stars. Collaborating with digital influencers to create sponsored content not only leverages the relationship between social media star and millennial, it also helps brands magnify their reach exponentially.
“Millennials’ time is precious. In exchange for their time interacting with your brand they expect something in return,” notes Econsultancy. To increase the likelihood that millennial users engage with branded or brand-sponsored content, companies should strive to create photos, videos, articles, and/or contests that offer value in the form of information, entertainment, prizes, or promotions.
Emulating the following social media marketing strategies can help brands discover new and creative ways to reach millennial consumers:
To recruit the youngest demographic of legal alcohol drinkers to become scotch drinkers, Macallan has cultivated an impressive presence on Instagram. Not only has the spirit maker created eight separate Instagram accounts to introduce the platform’s millennial users to the brand’s new speciality casks, Macallan also provides genuine value to young consumers by sharing recipes like the one listed above (Digiday).
Collaborating with top digital influencers is one of the best ways to reach millions of social media-obsessed Millennials, and Mercedes-Benz’s partnership with YouTube star Devin Graham (also known as Devin Super Tramp) is an excellent example of how developing creative content around a product can yield viral results. By publishing their brand-sponsored video on Graham’s YouTube channel, Mercedes was able to generate nearly 3 million video views in only 5 months.
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41% of 18- to 34-year-olds use Snapchat, making the ephemeral photo- and video-sharing platform ideal for marketing to Millennials (Wall Street Journal). To take advantage of Snapchat’s large millennial user base, retailer Nordstrom enlisted social media star Karlie Kloss to host a Snapchat photo contest between five Universities for a chance to win a party and 2,000 $100 vouchers for “job interview shoes.”
By partnering with a notable digital influencer in Kloss, Nordstrom was able to generate massive engagement—the contest’s Snapchat Story was viewed 6.7 million times—and increased their Snapchat following by 60% (Fortune).
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