My Response to Mashable’s Article on How to Reach Millennials Online

One of the most interesting blog posts I read yesterday was Mashable’s article about three things brands must do to reach millennials online. I felt like it was so relevant to my blog that it deserved to be highlighted here as well as critiqued.

Millennials are also known as Generation Y, a demographic consisting of people born between the mid-80s and mid-90s. Basically anyone who is in their late teens or early 20s right now is in this demographic. Coincidentally it is the very demographic whose ideas I try to capture in this blog because I happen to be in my early 20s. Since I have written at length about how brands can best reach my demographic online I felt it was only appropriate to compare and contrast my ideas with Mashable’s. Mashable is arguably the most influential social media blog right now, which is another reason why I felt I needed to give special attention to their post.

Nick Parish, author of the blog post, begins by describing how Gen Y is changing the consumer landscape. More than ever consumers expect to get what they want when they want it, whether that be content, products or customer service. According to Parish, our expections of brands and where we expect to be able to interact with them is also changing.

So far, this is all true. Millennials are the most empowered consumers in history. We have instant access to just about everything, and if we don’t we feel like we should. We expect brands to be where we are, we want them to come to us not the other way around. Additionally, Parish was wise to include some statistics that illustrate that we tend to shop multiple sources before making a final decision on what to buy. In other words, brand loyalty is becoming less important to my demographic so it is key to learn how to reach us specifically.

Let’s see what advice Mashable has for how to reach Generation Y’ers:

Provide Exceptional Social Media Customer Service
Good service, and the ways in which a brand can best meet the needs of its customers, lies at the heart of this new approach.

YES! Parish nailed it with his first suggestion. The best way to earn loyalty from this difficult-to-reach demographic is to provide customer service where we are. The less we have to track you down the better our experience and our opinion of your brand will be. We don’t want to have to go to your website and look up a customer service e-mail address or phone number. We want to be able to voice our concerns over Facebook or Twitter and have them resolved then and there. I wrote a blog post last month explaining how exceptional social media customer service means a lot when trying to establish brand loyalty.

Mashable’s second piece of advice is something I haven’t touched on before…

Do Good, Even When It Challenges Your Interests

There is a lot of truth to this as well and is a very important point that I should highlight more in the future. What Parish is saying here is that consumers in this demographic want to attach themselves to socially responsible brands who do good outside of just the products and services they offer. One example he mentioned was Volvo’s clean air campaign that saw them boasting their efforts to make more environmentally-friendly cars. This type of thing resonates well with millennials. Brands who work hard to gain our trust by addressing concerns outside of the marketplace are more likely to earn our repeat business.

Mashable’s final piece of advice goes hand in hand with the first..

Be a Smiling Omnipresence

This is just an extension of what Parish was saying with his first point of offering exceptional customer service through social media. Just as I said before, we expect brands to be where we are. This means you need to be on Facebook and Twitter. You need to have a website with a regularly updated blog. You need to show us you’re active on social media by running promotions through check-in services like Foursquare and Facebook Places. You need to hire someone to monitor these every single day and keep on top of new social networks that come up in the future. If you’re everywhere we are then we will start to build a personal connection with your brand and keep on purchasing.

This was a good article that hit on the most important points for reaching millennials, but by no means did it hit on all of them. This is not a definitive list but it’s a solid foundation. There is a lot more that a brand could do to reach millennials online but the three points highlighted in the article are among the most effective. If your brand is already doing what is highighted in Mashable’s article then you’re off to a good start. If your brand is not doing any of these things then you need to change something immediately. If you want to keep up with more fresh ideas for how to connect with millennials online then keep following my blog :)

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