The Millennials are the generation of people born from around 1980 until the end of the 1990’s or the beginning of the 2000’s, depending on the source. Currently, the Millennials make up about a quarter of the American Population today with an estimated 79 million living across the country. Although the Millennials were born over a 20-year period and some characteristics can vary, there are a few defining characteristics that the generation shares. First of all, and probably the most well-known characteristic is that they are very into technology and the internet.

Second, they place a lot of value on doing good, whether for the environment or just for their local communities. Thirdly, they believe in making a difference and the power that one individual can have on an outcome. Millennials also share a common influence over the workforce, the inner workings of social media and businesses as well as how businesses should successfully interact with their customers in the current age. A lot of millennials are also focused on the now rather than the future.

Millennials and the Workforce

Millennials are changing not only how businesses work from the inside amongst employees, but also how businesses (should) interact with the outside world and consumers. Within working environments, Millennials believe in flexibility, fast-paced changes, and innovation. But their drive for innovation can distract them from traditional strategic/organizational steps that are necessary when founding or growing a business. They have also blurred the lines between their work and private lives as technology allows them to be connected to their career wherever and whenever they want.

Beliefs regarding job loyalty have also shifted compared to their parents and grandparents’ generations – likely due to the 2008 recession that plagued their entrance into the job market. The recession, paired with poor employment rates (8.8% of Millennial college graduates are unemployed), have conveyed the sentiment that companies are not stable and can not remain loyal to even their most successful employees. So, many Millennials are changing careers after a few short years or are taking on a number of freelance and part-time jobs. Although the job market is unsure and can be difficult for them to find a job, millennials are highly motivated and take on a number of jobs to make ends meet.

Millennials and Common Milestones

Similarly to decisions in the career world, Millennials are making different choices than their parents when it comes to major milestones. The average age for marriage among millennials has risen 2-3 years compared to their parents. The average number of children has decreased by almost 10% compared to Generation X.  

The rising ages for such common milestones can be traced back to the lacking sense of security the current job market has to offer. Some positive societal developments, like the rising number of women in the workforce and the number of people attaining a higher education, are also influential factors. In general, Millennials are focusing more on their careers and education, rather than starting a family.

Marketing to Millennials as a Small Business

Marketing to Millennials as a small business can be done in a number of small steps – the most basic, being active on social media and having a business profile on multiple platforms. While practicing social media marketing to millennials, one of the most important things is to remember to be responsive to comments and criticism. Millennials want feedback themselves and will not hesitate to give it back to you. For millennials, social media is not just a place to connect with family and friends but also serves as an open platform for them to voice and form their opinions. Unresolved issues or bad experiences can have large negative effects on your brand’s reputation, future sales, and brand loyalty.

Applying standard techniques while marketing to millennials won’t cut it. When practicing social media marketing, focus on presenting your brand as a genuine company that cares not only about its customers but also about its employees. Share regular behind-the-scenes views of your business with social media posts and updates.

Lastly, work towards the greater good. Another defining characteristic of the young generation is that almost 70% say that giving back and being engaged in their communities is one of their highest priorities. Therefore, try to be as active as possible in your local community. Holding charity events also isn’t a bad way to raise brand awareness! Also, remember to incorporate these events and charitable actions into your social media marketing strategy in order to raise awareness and engagement.

Millennials are pushing for a better world, and will only recognize those individuals or businesses that are actively working towards making the world a better place. They place value on personal interactions, customer service, recommendations, and feedback. The best way to understand and employ marketing to Millennials is to work with them. BusySeed’s Millennial team not only understands the inner workings of social media but can also predict future trends and help you to identify your small business’ strengths.