Engaging Millennials: 3 No-Brainers for Brands

We are delighted to present a blog post from the incredible Steve Bartlett from Social Chain. Check out his top tips for how to really get in the heads of mysterious millennials: 

We’re all aware that an engaged community across social platforms, can be gold dust for a brand. In this blog we share a few key take always for a recent event we ran here at Social Chain. We stick to these few, simple principles for our clients to help them achieve and reap the reward of such engagement.

1. Evoke Emotion

We know that creating emotional connections is imperative for brands to successfully engage with their audience and convert wherever they are in the buying funnel, but what does this actually mean for millennials? They’re savvy and smart for one, committed to a brand, until they’re not. They don’t fall for infuriating banner ads or invasive sponsored posts regardless of how good a product could potentially be, they look for more, they want to ‘feel’ a connection.

Remember the app Flappy Bird? People would smash up their phones after failing to beat their own high score after a few attempts, and the kicker – they downloaded it because their own friends smashed up phones. They were intrigued, and curious, they ‘felt’ something… wanted to be part of the Flappy Bird ‘movement’.

Sure, this is organic growth at its ripest, but the key take-away is how it happened; a strong natural feeling about a product. Now surely that’s not so hard for brands to achieve? If it doesn’t move you to like, share, click… buy. You’re wasting your time.

2. Building An Engaged Community

To cause a natural feeling, you need to forge a natural connection with your audience. Brands far too often focus on the end result. Their latest creation goes over budget, so now they start panicking, and throwing bitly links all over Twitter in pure link-bait desperation, hoping and praying for sales.

Or worse, they don’t even have such pressures and just have no idea how to even engage with an apple, let alone Gen Z... We call this a ‘brand receiver’; a brand which will happily invade your space and offer you nothing but will happily take your money for a product you don’t really give a f*** about.

See example below: 

On the flip side, brands that understand the importance of engaging a community do it very well:

Funny and friendly Innocent are masters at community engagement. They are brilliantly agile and align all their activity on social with these values and stay true to it. And for all the brands wondering ‘where is the roi on a twitter post completely unrelated to the product’, it’s the communities’ perception of the brand which yields the true results.

Social media entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck coined the term “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”. The jabs – content that aims to truly engage a community and develop positive brand perceptions. The hook – where the contents’ aim is to drive sales.

If you successfully throw a few figurative jabs of great content, you can then land a sales packed hook without the fear of losing your audience.

Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.
— Gary Vaynerchuck, Jab Jab, Jab, Right Hook

3. Riding Relevance

Jabbing away with content disconnected to a brand is a great starting point towards building communities, but creating relevant content, tailored to exactly what is going on in the real world that matters to your target audience, is what separates the good and the great. It means, you totally get your audience, you’re one of them.

It’s not about purposefully seeking relevant content that can be manipulated for a brand’s gain, it’s about showing a personality and committing to that community.

However, brands shouldn’t shy away from capitalising on relevant content; something which we have seen increasing over the past few years. It might be nearly a year old, but the Salvation Army’s #thedress post is pretty much the epitome of this.

Yeah, the stars aligned for them on this occasion, but it doesn’t have to be a one post wonder. If brands are looking to reap the long term benefits of a fully engaged community, they need to become dynamic, consistent, and relevant with their content.

You wouldn’t be selective when sharing interesting news with your friends, so why should a brand.

Social Chain is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.

To find out more about Social Chain, head over to the Social Chain website.

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