In this post, US blogger and owner of HowToCreateABlog.org, Jimmy Rohampton, says if you want to understand the Millennial brain, you need to check out their addiction to social media first. This article first appeared on Forbes.com
This article is written in the context of the US market
Millennials are a truly unique generation. Their lives are completely integrated into the tech world, making platforms like social media a prime opportunity for marketers to reach them. That said, they’re also very price conscious.
But does social media influence Millennials’ shopping decisions?
The short answer is yes. One report by Deloitte found that 47 per cent of Millennials say their purchase decisions are influenced by social media. For perspective, the figure is 19 per cent across all other age groups.
At least more than other generations, Millennials pay close attention to social media when shopping. But it’s not likely they’re there to listen to the marketing messages of brands. Instead, Millennials use social media as a way to receive input from their peers about what products and services are best to use.
Still, this knowledge can really help brands leverage Millennials’ relationship with social media to drive sales.
The effect of social media influence over purchase decisions is a powerful one. Consumers who include social media as part of their shopping process are four times more likely to spend more money on purchases. They’re also 29 per cent more likely to make a purchase on the same day when using social media to make purchase decisions.
Make the most of social media
As a brand, it would be a mistake to think that your normal marketing material will be enough to influence the way Millennials think about your brand and products.
Paul Donagher of Market Strategies had this to say about Millennials and social media: “Millennials are more engaged, more vocal and more visual. They’re not merely passive readers—they post, pin, view and blog. And, they’re willing to experiment and go onto the next innovation in social media.”
Brand engagement and peer discussions are the real keys to making your brand memorable on social media and keeping your products in the forefront of millennial minds.
One study by PricewaterhouseCoopers asked digital buyers about how they make purchase decisions online. Nearly half reported that reviews, comments and feedback on social media impacted their shopping choices.
For brands to succeed, they need to take a break from promotional messaging and instead focus on promoting user generated content. “Encourage current customers to leave reviews for your brand, says Gary Sumpter, CEO of Brokedick. “You can even create a special branded hashtag and launch a campaign to receive public feedback on Facebook and Twitter. The possibilities are endless.”
“Use your social profiles as a platform to deliver great customer service,” says Alex Silensky, CEO ofOGScapital. “Millennials are watching. If you receive any public complaints on your social profile, do your best to resolve the issue so people can see your brand’s priority is to make customers happy.”
Know your niche
How much can social media impact millennial purchase decisions for your brand? That will really depend on your niche.
According to the Deloitte data, certain product categories work better than others to market on social media. Some 56 per cent of people buying baby products say social media influences their purchase decisions, compared to 40 per cent for home furnishings, 33 per cent for health and wellness and 32 per cent for automotive.
Take some time to explore how Millennials are discussing your industry on social media. Look for opportunities to promote your user generated content in Facebook groups, using industry-related Twitter hashtags, leveraging the power of custom coupons created specially for social media users, and more. This is often commonly seen in the web hosting niche.
Most businesses can make an impact on Millennial purchase decisions on social media, but some will have bigger opportunities than others.
Meeting Millennial needs
There has been a lot of research over the years into the impact of social media on purchase decisions. And the numbers don’t lie. According to a 2014 study by Market Strategies International, Millennials are three times more likely than other generations to turn to social media to make purchase decisions. And it’s not just Facebook and Twitter that they focus on. Millennials are 19 per cent more likely to use Instagram and 14 per cent more likely to use Tumblr than other generations.
So if you really want to cut through the noise and speak straight to Millennials, don’t neglect other platforms to promote your customer reviews, comments and feedback.
Here are some other major ways you can meet Millennials’ needs and impact purchase decisions on social media:
- Build genuine relationships with Millennials on social media – Gary Vaynerchuk is perhaps the best example of this
- Encourage public reviews on social media and other platforms
- Encourage Millennials’ conversations about your brand on social media
- Remember to address price-minded Millennials in your marketing messages – Toner Connect does this all the time
- Take a multi-platform approach to Millennial marketing
- Focus your social discussions on causes Millennials care about.
Millennials are a dynamic, opinionated, price-conscious generation. But they pay a lot of attention to social media when it comes to making purchases. Position your brand to address their needs and encourage positive social conversations about your products and services. In the end, this strategy can have a significant impact on your bottom line.