Are you targeting the Millennial audience? It’s official. According to the Pew Research Center, the Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. As a small business owner, this factoid is more than just a conversation starter to share over dinner – it’s a call to rethink your branding with Millennials in mind. If you’re wondering how to create brand awareness in a millennial-centric market, the following tips can help.
Embrace Social Media
Unlike Gen Xers and Baby Boomers before them, Millennials have put their complete faith in social media. They trust it as a medium and use it as a means to learn more about the businesses and brands they buy from.
As a small business owner with awareness to build, this means putting social media at the forefront of your branding strategy. Consider a Facebook or Twitter page. Use Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, if your brand calls for it and keep up with all of your social platforms.
One tool that makes this easier to do is Hootsuite, a social media multi-tasker that lets you manage everything from a simple dashboard. If you still need help in this area, designate an employee as your social media specialist, or hire a freelancer to do it.
Don’t Sell, Tell A Story
As consumers, Millennials are less likely to fall for traditional pitches and high-pressure sales tactics. They’re wired to learn, and they expect businesses to provide insights and access to information that helps them understand the brands they’re buying from.
Use your website to feature content that tells your brand story. If you sell fair trade coffee, for instance, post blogs from your sources in South America and share images of your buyers working hand-in-hand with the people there. The more they know about you, the more they’ll reward you with their business and loyalty.
Videos are especially effective with Millennials, and they get easier to produce every day. A smart phone or GoPro may be all you need to capture brand moments you can post to your social sites or YouTube channel.
Millennials expect brands to be upfront about their products, their sources and other aspects of their business. If not, they’ll research it themselves and form their own opinions – or rely on social media for insights. So it’s important to manage your brand perception by getting in front of your story and being transparent.
Share the positive news about your brand and shed light on the challenges you face. Be as up front and honest as you can be, because in this day and age where everything is documented there is no room to hide – and Millennials will find out if you try.
Create a culture of transparency that makes it easy for Millennials to know what your brand is all about. Use signs at your coffee shop to advocate fair trade and blog about it on your website. Encourage employees to talk about your brand beliefs and practices. In the end it will provide brand clarity for truth-seeking Millennials.
Millennials aren’t your only market segment, but they now represent the largest group of consumers your business and brand will encounter. The more you know about them, the more successful your brand will be.