Millennials, roughly defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, are different from the generations that came before them. For one thing, many millennials are digital natives, meaning they not only grew up around technology, they are completely comfortable using it and seem to have an innate ability to pick it up quickly.
Another thing that sets millennials apart from other age groups is the fact that they are considerably more skeptical of traditional advertising and marketing techniques. One study, from the McCarthy Group, revealed that 84 percent of millennials were distrustful of advertising. What and whom millennials did trust included their friends, news reports, and people they knew through social media.
Millennials’ willingness to put their trust in other users on social media, such as social media influencers, is one of the reasons why influencer marketing has had so much success in the past few years. Here’s how your company can use influencers to connect with a millennial audience.
What Exactly Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the use of influential people, usually on social media, to persuade or convince consumers to take a certain action. A company can use influencers to reach its core audience or demographic or to connect with a new audience.
Although it was once assumed that a person needed to have a substantial following on social media to be an effective influencer, the definition has changed somewhat. Since it is possible to buy fake or spam followers, it’s more important to evaluate the connection an influencer has with his or her audience, rather than the size of that audience, when determining influence.
For example, an influencer who has a following of 10,000 might have more reach than an influencer with a following of 1 million. If those 10,000 people are actively engaging by liking or commenting on the person’s posts and by clicking any links he or she shares, the effect that influencer’s posts will have is likely to be greater than posts by the influencer with the larger following.
Why Influencer Marketing is a Great Way to Connect with Millennials
Influencer marketing can help your company reach millennials for a few reasons. For one, influencer marketing primarily takes place on social media and millennials are more likely than any other age group or generation to use social platforms. According to the Pew Research Center, 86 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 had an account on at least one social media site as of 2016.
Millennials aren’t just using social media; they also feel that it makes up a significant part of their life. In one study, 37 percent of millennials said that they felt they were missing out if they weren’t on social media daily. More than half of millennials also liked brands on social media, considerably more than people in other generational groups.
There’s also the issue of trust. While trust in traditional ads is lower than it has been, nearly two thirds of people trust consumer opinions they see online and brand sponsorships, according to Nielsen. Millennials are more likely to trust what an influencer says than the message found in a traditional commercial or banner ad.
What Should You Look for in Influencers?
Since establishing and maintaining trust is so important when reaching millennials through influencer marketing, it’s critical that you work with the right influencers. There are a few things to look for when choosing an influencer to partner with.
One is the type of audience the influencer has. Would they find what your company is offering interesting or useful? For example, if you’re a B2B company, it would make sense to find an influencer who connects with a B2B audience, rather than typical consumers.
You also want to look at how an influencer connects with his or her audience. Do people regularly comment or share their posts? Does the influencer often respond to people’s comments? Or do the posts typically get very few comments or likes? The more engagement an influencer has, the more likely it is that the message will reach the intended audience.
Another thing to consider is the influencer’s typical message or content. If your company offers a technology solution, it will seem strange or inauthentic if a fashion or beauty influencer creates and shares a post for you.
Working with the right influencer can help you reach a new audience of millennials or give your company a boost of clout and social standing among an existing audience. As you use influencer marketing, measuring the results produced by each post or campaign can allow you see if you chose the right influencer, and if you’re getting what you hoped for from this type of marketing.