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Interested in getting your brand recognized by younger audiences? Here’s what to know about millennials, also dubbed Generation Y.

For years businesses have struggled to understand millennials. Lauded for their technological prowess and lampooned for their rejection of authority, millennials — those in the age bracket 18 to 35 (born in the early 1980s through late 1990s) — are at the heart of most social media campaigns.

According to Pew Research, millennials are now the largest living generation on the planet, totaling roughly 80 million people, which now outnumbers their parents’ generation, the retiring Baby Boomers. So love ‘em or criticize ‘em, your brand will have to find the right avenues to engage this coming-of-age demographic, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as one may think.  

Who are millennials?

Since millennials grew up in a technology-saturated world, they are the first “digital natives,” giving them an edge on understanding and mastering new gadgets, from virtual reality simulators to the latest iOS update.

They tend to live and work downtown where job opportunities are bountiful, boasting an affinity toward nightlife, craft beer, and ridesharing. But as they continue to age (upwards of 12,000 millennials turn 30 every day), experts forecast a mass migration to the suburbs within the next two decades.

As a result of college becoming a requisite on any qualified résumé, millennials are now the most highly educated of all the generations. And since the melting pot of America continues to stir, they’re also the most culturally diverse.

Stereotypes say they’re self-absorbed but promote racial equality; socially liberal but politically disengaged; interested in personal health even though they have no problem letting technology make things easier for them.

Amidst these paradoxes, it’s impossible to generalize 80 million people. The key is to find patterns that allow your brand to connect with these consumers as bright-eyed individuals, not as an enigmatic cohort.

Social Media: Gateway to Millennial Engagement

The dawn of the Internet forever altered the paradigm of how brands interact with their audiences. Increasingly, millennials are moving away from traditional media consumption toward online content. The departure from TV has been sizable, and according to the NY Post, TV viewing rates among millennials dropped from 21.7 million in 2011 to 17.8 million in January, 2016.

You don’t have to search far to find what is replacing traditional TV. Streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon Prime now compose the in-demand, on-demand market, as millennials click away on their smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and laptops.

While TV engagement declines, millennial usage of social media continues to grow. Surprise, surprise: A Pew Research study found 90 percent of millennials use social media.

However, usage is stratified. College-aged millennials (18 to 23) lean toward Snapchat while older millennials (24 to 35) favor Facebook, still the king of social media. Even though Instagram is dominated by filter-loving teenagers, millennials compose half of its user base. Emarketer projects that by 2019, nearly two-thirds of all millennial smartphone users will be on Instagram.  

To access millennials during this unprecedented shift in media engagement, successful brands have assembled dedicated social media teams in charge of creating interactive campaigns and actionable content strategies. The purchasing mindset of millennials differs greatly from generations before it which is why it’s crucial your brand find the right ways to engage in an authentic way.

Contact Trending Family to launch an influencer campaign targeting millennials!