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A new report by the Pew Research Center, a think tank, finds that Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1995) have officially overtaken Baby Boomers to become America’s largest living generation. As this 18- to 34-year old demographic inherits more purchasing power (already an estimated $1.3 trillion, according to Social Media Week) brands must shift their focus away from traditional advertising and develop marketing strategies designed to appeal to consumers who grew up in a digital age.
Collaborating with millennial influencers—not just social media stars but also everyday millennial consumers who have the ability to sway the purchasing decisions of their peers—offers companies a way to authentically engage young customers and increase brand awareness by leveraging the relationships and connections formed on today’s most popular social media platforms, channels, and apps.
A recent Goldman Sach’s study found that over one-third of 18- to 35-year-olds look to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat for recommendations when making purchasing decisions. For brands, leveraging each platform’s attentive audiences by creating brand-sponsored content with high-reach social media influencers is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness and provide consumers with valuable advice.
Because the majority of digital influencers are Millennials themselves, today’s social media stars are adept at creating highly engaging content that speaks to the interests, concerns, and priorities of young consumers. Unlike traditional celebrities, millennial influencers also speak to and develop relationships with their followers and/or subscribers as peers, making recommendations from social media stars more likely to sway their audience’s opinions and actions.
For an in-depth look at how brands are marketing to Millennials using social media influencers, see our blog post here.
While developing influencer marketing campaigns with top millennial YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, and Snapchatters is one way for brands to gain access to thousands, or in some cases, millions of engaged social media users, today’s tech-savvy companies are also converting everyday Millennials into “brand advocates”—consumers who believe in a company’ products or services enough to endorse the brand without compensation—to increase brand awareness within a consumer’s social circle.
According to a recent survey conducted by Edelman, a research firm, 74% of Millennials said they believe their recommendations could inspire the purchasing decisions of their peers—even those in other generations (like their Baby Boomer parents). Because they see their opinions as valuable, these so-called “alpha-influencers” are more likely to share their favorite brands with people in their social circles, thus expanding a company’s message to countless other consumers.