As the Visual Web continues to evolve, social streams are being flooded with snapshots, GIFs and emojis. We are moving toward an increasingly visual digital landscape — a shift that Millennials are not just cheerily embracing but actively driving.
For brands, connecting with this digitally savvy demographic is a venture as challenging as it is profitable. Challenging — because Millennials are constantly (and often simultaneously) traveling across multiple platforms. This means they’re being constantly inundated with a steady stream of content. Profitable — because this group, which currently makes up 27% of the population, is responsible for $1.3 trillion in consumer spending. That number, of course, is only expected to increase.
So how can brands create visual content that will earn the attention — and ideally the dollars — of the ever-elusive Millennial buyer? Here are five tactics you can start employing today:
1. Highlight what you offer while remaining true to who you are. Millennials crave authenticity and transparency. So when marketing to this audience, it’s important tostay true to your brand. Open a window into the world of your business by revealing behind-the-scenes images. Highlight your community with stories about customers and employees. Generate excitement with sneak peeks of new products. Share a clear brand message while creating content that connects with the needs and interests of this passionate audience.
2. Leverage user-generated content (UGC) to build credibility and visibility. This tech-savvy generation loves creating, consuming and sharing UGC because doing so allows them to express their opinions, share their experiences and connect with like-minded people. When leveraged strategically, UGC can be a powerful asset to drive community, conversation and conversions. So how can you take advantage of UGC? First, search social networks like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube for UGC about your brand. Then, reach out to your customers to thank them for sharing their feedback. Next, curate the UGC that best represents your brand and share it on your website or social channels. You can take this one step further by launching contests or sweepstakes to reward your brand advocates (while encouraging them to create even more content). Embracing UGC invites Millennials to feel appreciated and involved — not just marketed to.
3. Collaborate with influencers to create compelling content. Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what consumers tell each other it is — and that’s especially true when marketing to Millennials. That’s why influencer marketing can be a powerful way to connect with this audience. To launch an effective influencer campaign,empower your collaborators with the guidelines and resources they need to tell authentic stories about their experiences with your brand. For more insights on social influencer marketing, check out our latest paper on the subject.
4. Get creative with mobile apps and hacks to capture authentic and engaging imagery. These days everyone with a smartphone has a mobile production studio in the palm of his or her hand. Millennials are taking advantage of these shifts in technology and, as a savvy marketer, so should you. Use mobile apps to develop visuals that reflect the content Millennial consumers are already creating. Take advantage of tools likeHyperlapse, a new app that captures high-quality, time-lapse videos. Consider creating a Hyperlapse to share a day in the life at your company or showcase your products. Get creative with iPhoneography tricks like the Panodash to share a new perspective on your services. For some brands, Instagram-style imagery generates higher engagement and conversion rates than glossy product shots, so take advantage of mobile apps to develop content that feels more organic to social channels.
5. Invest in video to promote and humanize your brand. Video is one of the most immersive forms of digital content. And the younger a user is, the more likely he or she is to consume video on a mobile device. Therefore, video can be an effective way to connect with this hard-to-reach audience. Short-form videos (like six-second Vines) can be a great way to amuse or inform Millennials with short attention spans. Longer videos can also be effective tools for educating and inspiring Millennials who are ready deepen their relationships — aka become friends — with your brand.