Seen But Not Heard: Social Media and Millennial Marketing
Marketing Social Media

Seen But Not Heard: Social Media and Millennial Marketing

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Pretty much every website has a “Contact Us” page these days. The most sparse pages might only provide a mailing address and phone number, while other companies go out of their way to create special user portals, live chat, or exhaustive directories to help their audience. Among these, it’s not too uncommon to find social media links offered as a means of communication, with implicit promises of fast response and personalized interaction.

When it comes to millennial marketing, it might seem apparent that younger audiences are looking to interact with brands digitally, but this assumption may not be true.

A recent study from Mattersight has found that amid a world of countless digital options and interactions, Millennials may actually be looking for more traditional, human connection. But how exactly should this manifest for your brand, and what does it mean for your social media?

Personal interaction is actually vital for millennial marketing, study finds. The Surprising Results

Mattersight surveyed a thousand Millennial consumers about qualities of service that matter to them when interacting with a brand. What they found is that when it comes to brand conversations, it’s not demographics that determine preference, but rather the type of conversation itself. For Millennial marketing, it’s pretty much accepted that social media should be a part of your strategy. But when Mattersight asked its correspondents about how they felt regarding service conversations, an overwhelming 99 percent of people said they wouldn’t want to have a conversation via social media. Taking the top slot for preferred communication method was phone call (56 percent), followed by email (25 percent).

Aside from the specific data, Mattersight asked a number of qualitative questions, like what quality of a conversation is most important to Millennials, or whether chemistry was important to communication. The results of these questions combined with the data on preferred channels creates a clear picture: when consumers have an issue with a brand, Millennials want a real conversation with a real person, in which they feel respected.

Rethinking Millennials

Given these findings, marketers are given a more nuanced picture of Millennials. Here are just a few takeaways provided from the study:

  • Millennials place personal value in service conversations: Think back to the last time you had to make a service request. Depending on the gravity of your question, any number of worries could’ve been going through your mind at the time. Was the product broken? Where you using it in error? Were you the problem or was it the brand? Regardless of the answer to this question, either the brand or the user is going to feel “at fault” for an issue. As a result, having these conversations anywhere public (i.e. social media) can cause unwanted defensiveness—or even vitriol.
  • Examine your channel structure: A great place to start reevaluating Millennial marketing is to make a list of the types of conversations you have with your audience: service requests, discussions, response to posts/free content, sales pitches, etc. Knowing what sort of conversations you have may help identify where you need to offer channels for them to happen (don’t just heap it all on your Facebook page).
  • Voice matters: In the same way brands should have dedicated channels for specific types of conversation, you may also want to consider who is speaking in each of them. Do your users in different channels have unique needs that might change what great service looks like?

Millennials have never liked being stereotyped—by parents, by media sites, by brands. Marketers must do a better job of understanding this generation, listen to what they want, and give it to them.

Interested in more studies, tips, and the latest news in social media marketing? Subscribe to the Content Standard today to receive a weekly email of our top stories.

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