For years, social media has been a critical communication channel. While many marketers believe they’d never see the day, the reality is that social media use is on the decline. Teens and young adults have been on social media since the advent of Facebook, the beginning of Twitter, and the invention of several other channels including Pinterest and Snapchat… so it stands to reason they’d stay there, right? Wrong.
The day has come. Social media usage is down.
What the Numbers Say
Convince & Convert recently analyzed findings from The Social Habit study which is a yearly report from Edison Research and Triton Digital. When you compare data from the 2017 study to data from the 2019 study, the findings are quite shocking.
The study found that Americans aged 12 to 34 have changed the way they’re using social media:
- Facebook usage dropped from 79% to 62% between 2017 and 2019.
- Twitter usage dropped from 36% to 29%
- Pinterest usage dropped from 36% to 31%
- LinkedIn usage dropped from 23% to 21%
- Snapchat is the only social network with stable usage which neither grew and are declined between 2017 and 2019
- Instagram is the only Social Network that has registered growth within the demographic. Usage has increased from 64% in 2017 to 66% in 2019
With social media usage falling among Millennials and Generation Z, marketers are faced with challenges.
How do marketers keep the attention of this major consumer group without using social media as a crutch? How do marketers continue to earn loyalty when more and more of them are pulling away from the major channels used for valuable interactions?
Keeping Loyalty from Young Customers Without Social Media
Ads are Irrelevant. Pushy Sales Pitches are Done
Imagine for a second that social media doesn’t exist at all. There are still plenty of ways to attract young consumers and engage them while pulling them into you are devoted audience. Sales isn’t one of them. Millennials are a tough crowd to entice with sale and if you push for a sale you’re likely not to get it because most Millennials are immune to ads and traditional sales.
A study from eMarketer shows that 66% of Millennials prefer shopping online compared to buying in store. The digital shopping experience is independent self-directed and much less straightforward than buying in store but both Millennials and Generation Z prefer it. Their preferred buying journey is wildly unpredictable. They ignore sales pitches and traditional ads and seek companies that authentic and actively engage with them.
So if you’re thinking of using a traditional marketing strategy with ads to get young consumers think again.
Keep it Mobile-Friendly
According to Think with Google, two-thirds of customers are more likely to make a purchase when visiting a mobile-friendly site. Considering 61% of them will leave a site if it’s not responsive, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is critical to keeping the younger generations’ attention.
If your site is not mobile friendly, you will automatically lose with the younger generation regardless of how great your content, offers, or products are. Help keep them engaged with a great user experience, design and mobile responsiveness as the base of your strategy.
Remain Transparent and Authentic
Millennials and Generation Z expect the brands they support to be transparent, honest, and authentic. A recent study found that authenticity is what matters most to Generation Z. Two-thirds of them said being true to their values and beliefs is what makes a brand or person stand out.
Building that trust and authenticity into your brand persona and reputation means you must create great content based on the human’s you hire and serve.
Focus on Building Trust and Loyalty
Offering stellar content is one thing but a one-off piece every so often isn’t enough to prove your worth. You must also tie that great content to user intent and produce a consistently. That’s the only way to build your reputation as trustworthy.
Answer the questions your buyer asks at every stage of the marketing lifecycle. Do it with expertise and excellence.
The marketing lifecycle is based on four stages. Each stage connect to different types of content that will help build trust and loyalty at that particular stage.
- Awareness is the first stage. It includes the informational search intent where the buyer is aware of their problem and searching for answers. at this stage, you need to focus on creating inbound SEO content and guides that are packed with information as well as leave magnets.
- The second stage is interest and intent. This is associated with investigative search intent. At this point, the buyer understands the information and solution they need and they are looking for the right option. For this stage, you need a website with clear navigation and calls to actions, leave magnets that are centered on your core mission, ebooks that demonstrate your expertise, and case studies or white papers that show your client success stories.
- The third stage is where the customer makes their decision. This is transactional search intent where buyers know exactly what they want and are ready to commit. You need user or customer generated content in the stage in the form of testimonials and reviews. You may also need work samples or demonstration depending on your company.
- The final stage is loyalty. This is associated with mainly navigational search intense because the buyer knows you, likes you, and is looking for your brand online. But it can also be associated with other kinds of intent. At this stage, you need to create new product announcements, content with high informational value, and content than maintains your high standards.
Email Marketing is Still Effective
Despite the fact that we’ve been hearing for many years that email marketing is dead, it is very much alive and remains one of the most effective ways to reach your audience regardless of age. Millennials especially rely on email as a pillar for communication.
A recent study indicates that 73% of Millennials and 68% of Generation Z prefer to hear from brands through their email boxes. The key is to create engaging emails that are creative. make it authentic, fun, and upfront. Don’t rely on fancy and flashy designs so you can use them. Focus on your voice, style, and the information you offer.
Ultimately, it is the value you provide at all touch-points that determines whether or not you earn and keep your audience’s attention. As long as you are being real, staying mobile-friendly, and providing consistent value without falling into the pushy sales trap, you will be able to win over today’s Young Generation of customers with or without the use of social media.