#JaimesWorld – Episode 1

By Jaime Rice, Social Media Manager @ Fourstarzz Media

#JaimesWorld is unfortunately not a real place, but more of an insider’s perspective on all things social media and marketing from yours truly, Jaime. I’m no marketing guru or by any means a digital genius. I was not listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 – wait ‘til next year. I am a young, female college millennial, who is working for Fourstarzz Media which is a influencer marketing company, so I might say something that you’ll want to hear.

Growing up, I was told that I could do whatever and be whoever I wanted to be. Being the peculiar little kid that I was, I decided that I wanted to be a professional lifeguard. When I chose this career path, my parents could have told me in the beginning that not only would being a lifeguard be an interesting career choice, but that I also wouldn’t be able to support myself financially earning that level of income – sadly,  it didn’t work like that. Millennials are individuals aged 20 to 36 who grew up with similar parenting, lifestyles and have lived through the same experiences, but we value our uniqueness and independence. The interesting thing about us that many marketers forget to recognize is that we want to be treated for who we are, and not lumped together or labeled. As a quintessential millennial, we are often defined by these two principles: we are knowingly entitled and narcissistic, and as a result, grew up thinking we can and will be the best.

This innate mentality progressed throughout our lives, where it now directly influences the day-to-day decisions that we make. Whether that be in how we pick our major, where we want to live, or which car we want to drive. Today, millennials want all of the options, all of the time. In the end, we make decisions based on what is most authentic or most superior to us. For example, it’s a Sunday morning in New York City and I have plans to go to breakfast with my friends. When deciding which restaurant to go to, we all take to our phones, and start searching all readily available media platforms – Google, Twitter, Instagram, etc for the best place to brunch. With this mindset, our society and vast development of technology has made it easier for millennials’ consumer buying decisions to be driven by two main factors: emotion and experience.

Emotion

My reason for saying that emotion is an important factor in buying decisions doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for brands to start creating heartbreaking videos about dogs. What I really mean is that millennials crave a high demand for social media platforms to posses emotion whether it be for Instagram accounts to be aesthetically pleasing, tweets that make us laugh, or blog posts that are relatable to our daily lives. Consumers, especially millennials, purchase more products from people or companies they trust and that display authenticity. By using social media or influencers, brands are displaying their content on platforms, that I myself use daily, through trusted people I follow. I have never heard anyone say that they love waiting 30 seconds before a YouTube video starts, or that there’s nothing more exciting then having a 15 second ad pop up in the middle of a food video you are trying to watch on Facebook. I don’t like the concept of interrupting my content and aggravating me while I’m on Pinterest trying to watch a DIY video. Instead, you should be trying to utilize influencers that I have established relationships with through social media in order to increase awareness that will eventually lead to an increase in sales. Millennials want to engage with you as a company or brand and maybe if you play your cards right, you will be remembered forever as having that ad that made them crack up on a crowded subway.

Experience

Millennials tend to value experience more than any other past generations. I always like to keep my days scheduled and my calendar booked so that I am able to take advantage of every opportunity. Because we have a high value and demand for experiences it is a large factor in our buying decisions. Throughout the marketing industry, marketers often develop tactics to just “sell” us products rather than having us “experience” the benefits of the product. A way to highlight and utilize this aspect would be through social media platforms. When I am searching for a new product, I feel more comfortable when I see my peers or a trusted ‘Instagrammer’ sharing about some awesome experience they had with a company on social media, which then positively affects my buying habits more. For example, imagine that I am still in New York City. I am there for the weekend and my friends and I are trying to decide which of NYC’s  top attractions to visit. There’s about a 110% likelihood that I am searching for recommendations from New York bloggers because they know the city and are trusted influencers. In order to gain success, marketers need to find trusted macro or micro influencers on social media to show consumers that real people are not only engaging with the brand or product, but that they are also telling a story through their bold and unique experiences.
The concept behind social media marketing is complex in its simplest form. Brands want to increase their  awareness and influence consumers to buy their product or service. But, how brands approach marketing online vs. offline can be a real deal breaker for their success. The idea of being present where consumers spend the majority of their time is extremely simple, but using a variety of factors such as emotions or experience that influence millennials and consumers is what makes the most basic strategies complicated. Millennials may be titled as being, narcissistic and lazy, but we are also the most diverse, tech savvy generation with the largest spending power. We care about where we spend our dollar and who is on the receiving end. If marketers want more engagement and success, then they need to tug on our emotions and show us there is something valuable to experience. The first step in this beautifully complex strategy is for brands to find a solid influencer base who believe in the product, service and mission. Because if influencers value a brand, it’s no question that others will follow in return.