Ahh, Millennials. The generation that holds $600 Billion in U.S. buying power and have become the veritable “hot chick at the bar” for brands around the world.
Even Facebook, the social media monolith, shelled out $1 Billion for Instagram just to capture the millennial market.
As marketers, we must find the key to millennial hearts, minds (and wallets). And judging by the volume of articles we see addressing the needs of the millennial buyer, so do you.
However, the millennial market is immune to the traditional advertiser’s powers.
They watch less TV, and avoid advertisements like the plague and crave authenticity from brand messaging that is almost impossible to create. Why? The second you try to be authentic, you’re not.
So, we delved into survey after survey, from Business Insider to NewsCred.com and isolated 10 proven marketing tactics that are working RIGHT NOW to reach millennials – the way they want to be reached.
1. Be a Good Photographer (But Not TOO Good)
Every heard the rule about makeup? You want to wear just enough to hide your blemishes but not so much that you look like you tried. The same is true for your marketing. Whether it’s an Instagram post, Facebook ad or hero shot, stock photos are out. Campy is in.
This photo from a local family practice captures the essence of the millennial market. Instead of a shiny doctor holding a stethoscope, it’s a tired doctor sharing the ins and outs of his day while also sending the message – I will work hard for you. I care.
2. Be Irreverent.
Be tongue-in-cheek. But whatever you do, don’t be too salesly. The photo below (for a local weight loss clinic) would never work if the caption read “Build a Better Butt” or “Lose Weight & Look Great.” The stock photo is so perfect that it almost demands a sarcastic response. It works because it breaks the rules of traditional marketing and flies in the face of corporate branding.
3. Be Inclusive.
Millennials are also far more community-minded than their Woodstock-era parents. It’s why farmer’s markets and co-ops are all the rage. When you tag team other brands in your posts, your millennial buyer will feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves (meanwhile, you’re doubling or tripling your audience with every post).
Check out how this pool leak detection company creates an instant sense of community by piggybacking off their local government in a post. In one move, they earn trust with their followers by providing good information, while gaining the attention of a news outlet with
Whether you are a one-man local operation or a global corporation, these are strategies that will help you shed your baby boomer marketing ways and become more attractive to the elusive millennial market.
4. Be Nostalgic.
This tip actually works for any market. But it bears mentioning here. While the finance and medical industries have been doing this well for decades with boomers, new brands miss the millennial mark with nostalgic blogs and social posts.
Physicians Weight Loss, a medical weight loss clinic, brilliantly hits BOTH markets in the post below. They nail boomers who remember Jane Fonda’s Vietnam protest days and brighten millennial feeds by showing them a throw-back photo and quote from the wicket mom in the movie Monster-in-Law.
5. Be Responsible.
Compared to their plastic-loving, gas-guzzling parents, millennials love to care for mother earth. The term “tree hugger” is more of a compliment than an insult these days, and 72% of millennial buyers call themselves committed to positive environmental change. You better believe that commitment crosses over to companies they spend money with.
Below, you can see how Adams & Sons pulls this off. With a surprise Florida Drought threatening their local water supply, the company provides an immediate solution to home owners concerned about the issue. Check your kitchen or bathroom plumbing for leaks. Clear your conscience. It’s simple, yet effective.
6. Be Up-to-Date.
Marketing companies struggle with this the most. You can’t advertise yourself as a leader in social media if you’re not using the most advanced techniques yourself. Kind of ruins your sales pitch if you are pitching your branding services with outdated stock photos filling your Facebook feed.
When a local graphic design and direct mail company used the gif below with this simple Tweet, they let every follower know: they might be small, but they’re relevant. And that’s all millennials really need to know.
7. Be Positive.
Gone are the days of Archie Bunker. Millennials are DIY’ers, fix-it-uppers, and cage-free chicken raisers. Empower their positive spirit and determination, and you will see your likes and shares go up!
That’s how Daniel’s Lawn Service, a landscape design and lawn service provider, built a new following for his blog. He catered to the millennial can-do attitude and found that he “could do” something to give them what they want.
8. Be a Master of the “Humble Brag.”
Millennials tend not to brag. They thank. They congratulate. They celebrate. In that spirit, The Paint Manager, shared his 5-star Yelp review. Notice it sounds like he’s complimenting his client but really showing off the great review and selling his commercial painting and roof cleaning services at the same time. Does this work? Absolutely. But only because you’re so good at figuring these things out.
9. Be Supportive.
Everyone loves a pat on the back. And when you’re a local business struggling for content, feel-good news stories can fuel your feed. This is especially true for cities like Orlando, with #OrlandoStrong hashtags getting hundreds of posts per day.
In the post below, Orlando, FL plumber Adams & Sons spreads a little love across their city while also spreading their own reach. It’s the kind of post that millennials love because the branding message is obsolete. They are removing themselves from the equation but subconsciously building trust with their local market.
10. Be Different.
What do you do when you’re selling gelato on the same block as 4 other ice cream shops? Do you what your momma told ya’ in the 4th Grade and “Be Yourself.” That’s how La Carraia Florida, an Orlando gelato company with Florida roots, built a solid local following.
Almost every social post has a little Italian flair sprinkled in. Their gelato is Italian-made, so their social media feed should be too, am I right?! Moto Bella (Very nice) La Carraia!