Have your ever reminisced with you friends about your childhood and the fun times you had, perhaps like me, you got up to some mischief in the hopes your parents wouldn’t find out! (Mum, Dad I’m hoping you don’t read this!). Now at 38 I can look back on those times with fondness but equally with the realisation that my parents must have been worried out of their minds, and could only hope that I was where I had said I was and that I would be home that night. Throughout, these journeys down memory lane, there is one thought that resounds strongly in my mind – Thank goodness there wasn’t social media when I was a teenager!
Flick forward 20 something years and I’m grateful for social media, I can see the power it has. I’m also acutely aware of the dangers it hold for the younger generation who have been brought into a digital world knowing nothing different. The have an innate ability to use technology without questioning the hows and the whys and stare in wonder when we describe our childhoods without the pleasures of mobile phones and iPads.
With this in mind have you heard of the new buzz word in town, I’ve been talking about it lots in the last month, I wonder what it conjures up in your mind? The word is ‘Millennials‘.
Think about it for a minute, we were all around for the turn of the new millennium (well the majority of us were!), back then I was 23 and had had a mobile phone for about 18 months and I used it for making phone calls, texting was a strange concept! The definition of a millennial in the advertising world is someone who turned 18 years old or there abouts around the millennium. They are young adults up to the age of 36, they can be married, single, divorced, have children be single, there are billions of millennials out there. Many of them will be your IC, your Ideal Customer.
But why is social media making it harder for us to market our business? Traditional marketing (newspaper ads, leaflets through the door) is being replaced by the digital world, with that there is no doubt. If people want to know more about a company they will undoubtedly use Google, Trip Advisor or Facebook to seek reviews and more knowledge about their services. The difficulty lies when your IC falls into the millennials category. Millennials are a new breed of customer who are increasingly becoming immune to targeted marketing! Research suggests that only 1% of this digital savvy generation will click on banner ad on the internet. The millennial brain has been trained to eliminate all the marketing ‘noise’ that is generated each and every minute we spend on social media. Think about it, our eyes are transferring 80,000 bits of information each and every second (i read that somewhere), and only keeps about 2000 relavant ones. Why would our brains want to keep something that it knows we aren’t going to use?
Scrolling through newsfeeds and lists we are bombarded with sales pitches, links and promotions. How many of them do you click on? How many a day? I’m unlikely to click on any if I’m honest unless I already know the company or they come highly recommended. It’s far too easy for us all to rely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and all the other platforms to push for sales but the truth is that you have to work bloody hard to get them to pay off for you.
The customer journey is outlined in the image below and it’s important to consider this when using social media to promote your business. Thanks to McKinsey & Co for their research. They also gleaned that 78% of customers bowed out of a buying decision because customer service wasn’t up to scratch and 70% of our buying decisions are based on how they feel they are treated as a customer.
So how do we reach those pesky millennials if they are going to ‘ignore’ everything we put out there? You HAVE to stand out from the crowd, there is no getting around it. Yes you will be pushed into realms you have had no interest in entering but you once you have their attention you need to build the bond with them, this is the easy bit because good customer service should be coming naturally to you and based on the stats above customer service is what it is all about.
When looking at your analytics please don’t be all consumed about the number of followers or fans you have. You need to be looking at what worked – what people have engaged with, the posts and tweets that have gotten you the most shares / likes / comments / retweets / favourites. This is where the magic happens. Having 20000 followers who don’t interact might look good from the outside but in reality it isn’t helping your business if you aren’t engaging them with the right content.
Social media CAN help you business, you just have to be savvy about your strategy!