Social detox is trending among Millennials, making them more skeptical and less receptive to your social promotional efforts than ever this holiday season. Major influencers like Essena O' Neill and Darby Cisneros (the brains behind Socality Barbie), are speaking out against social media and the potentially harmful influence it can have on those who believe everything they see on it. Perceptual shifts like these are changing the ways Millennials interpret the legitimacy and authenticity of the personas and brands they follow on social, leading to a significant change within that audience for social marketers this season.
But rather than view this shift in consumer perspective with fear, it can be viewed as an opportunity to further evolve your efforts. There's always room to make your social media marketing strategy more human, and that's exactly what you'll need to to to reach a group of Millennials on the verge of quitting this holiday season. Here are a few notes on how you can do just that.
1. Keep it real
Too many marketers get caught up on design and lose sight of the content that really performs best among Millennials - actual pictures. The more you can show real, quality photos of your product/service in action, the more "human" your brand will seem to consumers. Maybe show a little behind the scenes in product creation, or a cool image of your staff testing new stuff. Consumers will appreciate your efforts to connect on a more personal level, and will show their appreciation in post engagement. Check out how Bebe mixes real shots from events with promotional pieces to balance out their page.
2. Select your brand ambassadors wisely
When looking for brand ambassadors to help boost your social reach, focus on quality over quantity, in terms of followers. Which accounts have more engagement with sponsored posts and why? Do the comments indicate that they're actually interested in the products promoted? If not, look for influencers with feeds that are less saturated with posts promoting products. A HUGE audience is worth sacrificing in exchange for an audience that will actually engage with your product.
3. Know what your consumers want
Larry Kim, the founder and CTO of Wordstream, offered up an awesome webinar this past year that discussed several awesome tools you can use to create a content strategy based on the questions your audience is already asking about your product or service.
He explained that you can use Quora to search your topic to find real consumer questions surrounding your area of expertise. You can also use Keywordtool.io in a similar way to find the search terms your consumers are entering to find out more about the product or service you provide. Buzzsumo also includes a Facebook analyzer feature that can help evaluate the effectiveness of the content you're producing in order to get an understanding of what's performing well and what should be cut from your strategy.
For example, here are some basic searches a watch retailer might use to come up with content ideas using Quora and Keywordtool.io.
4. Take timeliness into your own hands
Timely content is key to earning optimal engagement rates over the holidays. While everyone else is running their standard promotional content, your brand could be providing awesome updates and insights that keep consumers engaged and interested. The trick here is being ready to report on short notice.
Pay attention to Google Alerts, Google News, and even your own Facebook feed to keep up on trending topics. If a story appears two or three times during a quick scan of updates, it might be worth creating a custom content piece around it.
Work with your design team ahead of time to let them know that you will need them for timely projects throughout the season. The turnaround for this content should be no longer than a day. If that's not a possibility or you don't have a design team, check out Canva and Piktochart to create your own.
5. Remember that paid promotion works
Paid promotion gets a bad rap from time to time. This is because people still assume that ads are as bad as they were 5 years ago. The truth is, ads have improved BIG TIME and are actually very effective in helping social marketers reach their audiences now. As Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, says "Facebook is now a paid strategy. Organic strategy will no longer work on the platform."
Set aside part of your budget to see what you can do with a few promoted posts - you'll be surprised at how much traction, exposure, and engagement a well thought out ad will get you.
6. Find and utilize relevant collaborations
Working with other relevant brands to expand your reach and credibility is a fantastic way to engage more members of your target audience this holiday season. Look for opportunities to collaborate with others on giveaways, gift guides, and/or charitable events to leverage the power of both of your audiences.
A friend and fellow social media marketer, Paige Sjoblom, Director of Social Media at BroadbandExpert.com, told me that she's had great success in creating collaborative Pinterest boards with other brands. This could be an awesome alternative for those who are looking to keep their strategy strictly social.
Hopefully these tips will help you beat the skepticism to interact and engage with your Millennial audience with a more genuine approach.
If you've got a tip or tool that has helped you out, I'd love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments.
Main image via Shutterstock