Team Crocstar recently headed to the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe: Voxburner’s YMS London 2017.
Throughout the two days we were captivated by speakers from ASOS, Buzzfeed and Instagram and inspired by organisations such as Young Minds and the Women’s Equality Party. Our notebooks were brimming with ideas by the end of the conference.
Our initial post-conference mood was one of reassurance, as we’ve spent the last year millennial-proofing campaigns for our clients. It was a relief to be told that our approach really works.
Inspired by our time at YMS, we’d like to share some of the ways we can help you target that tricky 18-24 demographic and grow an organic audience while you’re at it:
Create consistent content on well-chosen social channels
You may think that a presence on all major social channels is the best way to broaden your audience and get your name out there. In reality you’ll be lost at sea, struggling to find your target audience in an ocean of users that don’t relate to your brand.
Instead, we recommend starting out with a couple of social channels that complement your brand and each other. For example if you’re a clothing brand, a winning combination might be:
Instagram – a visual platform to showcase your products
Twitter – a direct route for customers to get in touch with you
Snapchat – for all those spontaneous, behind-the-scenes moments
A common theme that ran through the conference was the importance of brand authenticity. By focusing your time on just a couple of social channels, you’ll have more time to develop your tone of voice and create content tailored to each channel. The result? An engaged audience, inspired to listen to your message.
At least one of those channels needs to be visual
Visual and live content are two of the biggest social trends of the year – why? Because they are one of the most effective ways to get your audience to trust you.
Millennial users don’t want to hear how great you are, they want you to show them. The best way to do this is through visuals, particularly video content. Research shows that 4 in 5 millennials use video to make a purchasing decision, so get that camera rolling!
A big mistake that brands make is treating Facebook Live and Snapchat like a TV advert (cue scripted moments and bright, brash lighting). Remember, 2 in 3 millennials will lose interest in a video if it feels too promotional.
How can you tap into the visual content trend and still show authenticity? If you’re a lifestyle brand we can help you curate an aspirational, polished Instagram. If you're an accountancy firm we can set up a Q&A on Facebook Live. Even if you aren’t a visual brand there’s always a way to engage with your audience visually – we’ll help you find the way that works for your brand.
Go-to influencers who understand your brand
At YMS the only word we heard more than ‘authenticity’ was ‘influencer’ (we totally did not have a drinking game based around this). Influencers are people with a large social media following who influence the purchasing decisions of their followers. Working with them is one of the quickest ways to build an organic audience (we’ve written a blog post about influencers).
But before you start posting products out to Instagram bloggers with 500,000 followers hoping that they’ll give your brand a shout out, you may want to consider:
influencers are a brand in their own right. There’s a creativity to what they do – they need to feel confident that your brand is the right fit for theirs. They’ll receive several collaboration requests a day – what makes your email stand out?
what are you offering them in return? Snapping photos or writing a blog post takes time and resources. Appropriate gestures range from a discount code or freebie to payment for their creative input
micro bloggers vs A-list influencers – you may get a better return on investment working with a group of micro-influencers (2-5k followers) whose following aligns closely with your target audience
Successful influencer marketing isn’t about free stuff in exchange for pretty pictures. It’s a creative collaboration where both parties need to feel valued. A well-executed influencer marketing campaign should result in a boost in followers and a surge in website traffic for both parties.
And finally, repeat after us: Snapchat, Instagram, Snapchat, Instagram, Snapchat, Instagram
Facebook might be your Auntie Janet’s go-to platform to share her - ahem - interesting views on immigration, but it may not be the best place to grow an audience.
Thanks to algorithms it’s harder than ever for your followers to actually see your content, unless you pay for ads. Similarly while Twitter works well as a customer service platform (your audience expects to be able to get in touch 24/7), it’s not always great for brand engagement.
Instead, cultivate a following on platforms that tick all the boxes. Instagram and Snapchat were the most talked-about channels of the YMS conference. Here’s why:
they’re primarily visual, allowing you to switch between polished images and spontaneous snaps, which creates a well-rounded brand personality
you can post live video with Instagram Stories or Snapchat and then personalise your content with emojis, filters and text
Need to millennial-proof your next social media campaign?
We’ll be here with a stack of Post-it notes and an even bigger stack of ideas – get in touch.