July 20, 2016
Remember a time where you had no internet, no cell phone, no Google, no laptop, and an Atari was an advanced gaming system? Remember when you had to actually go outside and play? Read a book to entertain yourself because there was no such thing as an iPad? And binge-watching Netflix wasn’t even an option.
If you remember these things, then you are most likely NOT a Millennial.
Millennials have grown up with personal computers, portable music, movies, games…basically a portable brain in their pocket with instant answers to their every random question. They have grown up with the EXPECTATION of instant, or almost instant gratification. This is why social media is so important in building relationships with them.
Ponder that thought while I paraphrase a quick story I recently heard from acclaimed writer/speaker/motivator, Tony Robbins:
“I’m heading to Australia, and I’m stressing out about being “unconnected” from my team for 14 hours because there’s no Internet service on the airline at that time. I’m worried about what I’ll miss for that 14-hour flight but have to just let go. As we all got settled for the flight, they announced over the loudspeaker, it was like the voice of God came down, they told us they now had internet.
Everyone was cheering and so excited that they’d be able to look at Instagram for 14 hours and it all sounded so silly. But that’s what we do, right? Then, not even 15 minutes later, guess what happened? The internet wasn’t working and continued to not work the rest of the 14-hour flight. People were outraged, angry and disappointed. 15 minutes before that it was a miracle, but that EXPECTATION was now set up and that’s where we get upset.”
How To Attract Millennials
I use that story here as an example of how you can tune into what a Millennial might feel if they have grown up expecting instant answers and results and those expectations are not met.
Almost all of us has had a cell phone for a while now. The very nature of that has changed expectations of how quickly we are supposed to get back to someone. Now we are always reachable and have a tiny little computer with us at all times to help us out with whatever we need.
But, have you ever lost your phone or broken it so badly that you can’t use it? That feeling of missing out or of being untethered sets in very quickly. Ok, now we have empathy.
Now imagine a Millennial trying to look up your business and find out what you’re all about. They will likely search Google for you (on their phone most of the time) and then choose their preferred network to find you on. Let’s use Instagram as an example (the network now has over 500 million users and still growing steadily).
Let’s say they find your Page, look around, and have a question. So they leave a comment to ask about it. They are reasonable people and know that it’s not a platform for instant chats, so they wait for a response. But then 12, 24, and so on hours goes by and they’ve written you off because you blew them off. You didn’t respond.
Am I saying that you need to be available 24/7? NO. I’m definitely not. However, you need to look at what level of response you are physically capable of with your social networks. Then, set the EXPECTATION UP FRONT for your customers, no matter what age, but especially with Millennials.
Use your Page bio to include the best way to get a faster response if it’s not there within that network. Set the expectation that they will hear back from someone within a certain timeframe. Then follow up by the time you say you will. If you have a social media manager or a team member that handles customer service, then make sure they are responding promptly. If not, you risk losing that potential customer.
Treat your social networks as an extension of your customer service. It’s very similar to how you’d build relationships in person. If you continually disregard calls/texts from a friend, pretty soon, they stop calling/texting. Same goes for your customers. Just as you do with family and friends, be upfront about what your customers can expect and when.
If you are only going to be on Facebook, maybe you want to create “placeholder” pages on the other networks that simply say how glad you are they’re looking for you, but to connect with you on Facebook. Then, include a direct link to your Facebook business page within your bio. This authentic transparency and direct communication will automatically help to diffuse the possibility of disappointment.
The Main Idea
Social media is a communication tool that Millennials are well versed in and comfortable with. So choose your platform(s) and meet them in the middle.
In the wise words of some popular hashtags, we all just need to #liveauthentic and #makemoments to connect both online and off.
Maria Brannon is the owner of Lightning Flash Creative, a boutique social media management company, based in Nashville, TN. She is passionate about helping small businesses, artists and entrepreneurs find their voice to cut through the sea of noise online. She works in a very hands-on way with her clients, creating content, guiding and managing the process of social media scheduling as well as optimizing social media listings/posts. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.