Millennials. That elusive group ranging in age from 18 to 33, soon to become (yes, the years will fly by!) the B2B buyers and decision-makers of the future. How will they make those decisions and interact with B2B brands? While the future is never fully clear, B2B businesses need to prepare now for a future of Millennial buyers. This includes adapting your social media marketing strategy. Below I list out 3 tips that will help you position your B2B social efforts for success. I used a recent Pew Research Center study, Millennials in Adulthood, to help inform these tips.
Millennials are part of a generation that grew up with social media. Not only did they grow up with it, but they’ve lived through the launch, growth, peak, and demise of social outlets (think MySpace). They are “digital natives” and the most avid users of social media of any previous generation.
With this in mind, it’s critical to not put your B2B social media strategy into too much of a box. It’s easy to think, “Oh well the average age of Snapchat users is 18-24, they’re not my B2B decision-makers”. But, as I’ve already emphasized, those Snapchatters will grow up and be the workforce of the future. You need to make sure you are thinking critically about your social strategy and are willing to be adaptable and adopt new social outlets that will set you up for success in the future. Claim, for example, your Snapchat handle. Sure, you might not use it in the future–but what if you do? What if you’re kicking yourself in ten years as you shell out five grand to pay to acquire it? Be adaptable and embrace the constant changes in the social media landscape. You can thank me in the future.
We all know we need to make sure our social imagery (and product imagery, website imagery, email marketing imagery…you get the idea) needs to be diverse, showcasing a variety of ethnicities and (brand audience appropriate) images. This will become all the more true as the Millennial generation ages and becomes your future buyers. 43% of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest of any generation. Given that they also value authenticity, your social marketing imagery needs to go beyond the classic Shutterstock images.
By 2043, the U.S. Census Bureau is estimating that most of the U.S. population will be non-white. That can feel like a long way off, but we all know how quickly time passes. Get your Design team and designers on board (or reach out to our Design team here). Edit and adapt your B2B campaigns and imagery. You might say, “Oh we are already doing this”. Great! Do more of it.
Millennials are the most untrusting generation. When asked, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful when dealing with people?”, only 19% of Millennials said that most people can be trusted. Think it’s hard now to get people to trust a brand? It’s only going to get harder.
While they have trust issues, 49% of Millennials say that the future of the U.S. is bright and it’s best years are ahead. Tap into that optimism and hope. Work now to build a brand that people can trust for generations. Make a claim on social media? Back it up with real, accurate data. Promise to provide great customer service? Deliver day in and day out on that promise. Make a big social media faux pas? Apologize with grace and authenticity. Sell B2B products that work so you can run social ads around those products that drive results, not negativity and mistrust.
These 3 tips are a great start as you think critically about the future and setting your social efforts up for success. Have more tips to add? Share them in the comments!
Here at BrandGlue, we’ve had the privilege of working with a wide variety of B2B brands, helping them optimize their social media strategy and efforts to capture their audience, drive leads, and help retain current customers through helpful content. If you’re struggling to have a vision for how to setup your B2B social efforts for success for the future, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to assist you!