Looking to engage young consumers through social channels? It’s never been easier, thanks to platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram. But social media marketing doesn’t mean simply transferring your analogue strategies into a digital world. Here are a few tips to getting it right.

Don’t advertise: engage

The days of one-way messaging are over. On social media, your goal is to create valuable, compelling content that your target audience wants to engage with. People don’t use social media to passively consume advertising – they use it to connect with friends, follow trends and engage with brands they’re interested in. In fact, 8[4 percent of Millennials surveyed](http://themccarthygroup.com/what-we-do/millennials_survey/) recently told the McCarthy Group that they “flat out don’t like advertising”. In this context, it’s crucial to consider the language, tone and visual content of your social posts. Do some research to find out what leading brands are doing, and think carefully about how you can adapt these techniques to suit your goals.

Create shareable content

The key here is to mimic the kinds of content people typically like and share. As Business2Community points out, 95 percent of young Millennials see their friends as the most credible source of product information, and more than 90 percent will consider purchasing something if their friends recommend it. By producing content young people will tag and share with their friends, you can create your own brand advocates – and broaden your potential customer base. Think beautiful visuals, funny videos and even memes.

Show your support for relevant causes

A recent study by Cone Communications found more than 90 percent of Millennials prefer brands that are associated with social causes. This includes environmental campaigns, social justice movements and humanitarian drives. If your brand partners with a non-profit organisation or supports particular causes, be open about your involvement. But don’t just jump on any old social cause bandwagon – it’s important to carefully consider whether your brand’s values are aligned with a particular cause. Millennials are savvy consumers, and if you’re spruiking conservation campaigns while employing unsustainable manufacturing practices they won’t hesitate to call you out in public.

Be prepared to respond

The dizzying growth of social media has encouraged a culture of instant communication. More so than previous generations, Millennials are using social platforms to talk to brands – and they expect a prompt response. In fact, 81 per cent of Millennials say they prefer “fast” service over the “friendly” kind. If you communicate with customers via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you need to be prepared for them to communicate back. Ensure you have a solid community management strategy in place, and that your customer service team is ready to respond quickly to concerns or complaints.
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