10 Things Social Media Marketers Should Know About Millennials

Millennial guest blogger Jackie Lampugnano describes herself as a PR girl and quite the social media enthusiast. She’s currently an Account Executive at Walker Sands Communications, mainly working with clients that provide marketing technology solutions. Lampugnano also blogs about industry topics on Gen Wise Perspective. Join her conversation on Twitter.

The most important aspect of making an impact on Millennials is to first understand who we are.There are many articles out there trying to do this but ironically they’re not written by Millennials. I’m not saying they aren’t helpful. Actually, here are two articles I’ve read recently that I think do a great job of discussing Gen Y:

Catching the Millennial Wave

Why Bashing Millennials Is Wrong

Still, if you really want to know about our generation you might want to hear it right from the horse’s mouth.Here are 10 key things you need to know about Millennials if you want to effectively market to them:

1. We’re narcissistic

We are self-absorbed (just saying), so you need to get to know us on an individual level to make an impact. We like to feel special and have brands treat us as such. Make it personalized and relevant. Brands that single us out when engaging with us via social media will resonate with us.

A great example: Pandora Radio. I tweeted about loving Pandora one afternoon when I had an exceptional playlist, and, although Pandora has over 50,000 followers and follows over 35,000 people, they still sent me a direct message saying they love me too and asked if I’d ever wear a Pandora shirt. I followed up via email and they sent me a shirt.

2. We’re impatient

We want things quick and easy. Avoid sending us paragraphs of information and videos/emails with content that takes more than 30 seconds to download. Bottom line: if it takes too long, we’ll move on to the next thing. The quicker you get to the point, the better.

3. We love technology

As digital natives, technology is so ingrained in us that it’s our favorite way to communicate. If you want to reach us, come find us on the plethora of social media channels out there. You’re more likely to get a response from sending us a Twitter DM or Facebook message than calling us on the phone.

You also want to make sure that you can communicate/engage us on every digital platform, especially mobile. Gen Y loves to access social media sites via smartphones.

4. We’re oversharers

We like to talk about ourselves and our lives. We post pictures and videos of everything online. Give us an opportunity to share with you.

The Wit Hotel in Chicago does a great job of this via social media channels. They recently ran a contest where people could take their “wittiest” pictures and post them on the Wit’s Facebook fan page. They publicized the contest via Twitter, posted links to pictures, and tweeted out the winners.

It was a great way for the Wit to engage with their audience and show that they care about what individual people have to say.

5. We don’t want to be sold to

We dislike traditional marketing methods/old school advertising. If you just push out your promotional message via social media channels, we won’t be interested. It makes your brand appear to be un-cool, and no Millennial wants to associate with an un-cool brand.

Try incorporating a mixture of information. Sure, share your news, but also share interesting news related to your industry. Incorporate humor. Talk about hot topics in the media.

Be human.

6. We have short attention spans

It makes us ultimate multi-taskers. We can listen to music, tweet, email, write a paper, research on the Internet, update Facebook, and text message one another all at the same time. What can you do to break through? Grab our attention right off the bat. If you can do that, you’re the next “task” that we’ll switch over to.

7. We want things the way we want them… when we decide we want them

Don’t push content out at us. Make it available so we can find it when we want to. When you share information via social media, provide links back to your website. It gives us the option to find out more when we want to.

But don’t expect us to be receptive of a message just because you put it out there.

8. We love the idea of “going against the man”

Anything that comes across as rebellious, unique or individualistic is going to spark our interest. We don’t want to be “corporate,” so we aren’t going to like brands that appear to be that way. Make us feel like we’re a part of something revolutionary (think: Obama 2008 campaign).

9. We appreciate creativity

Be innovative. Do something different. Think visually because that’s how we do. A cool new design, a funny video, infographics, etc. will always be well-received by Millennials.

Think in terms of trends and what’s hot right now. For instance, Stuart Weitzman ran a “Retweet to win” contest with a prize of Stuart Weitzman silly bands (they’re shaped like high heels!). The point is that Stuart Weitzman tied their brand into something hot with Gen Y right now – silly bands – and turned it into a fun, engaging activity on Twitter.

So if your website looks like a brochure and your e-newsletter looks like it came from 1995, it’s time for a new strategy. Come join us in 2011, please.

10. We listen to our peers more than we listen to you

If you want to influence us, get our friends on board. We are more likely to take action if a friend recommends something. Seek out the social media communities where your Gen Y target spends their time and engage with brand advocates. The rest will follow.

Of course some Millennials are more like this than others, but overall this provides a bit of insight into the way we think. We’re not all the same, so figure out which type of Gen Y-er you’re trying to reach and delve into how they think. The marketing ideas will come from there.

What do you think? Did I miss any traits?

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