Social Media Marketing – What Works?

3 mins to read

In order to know what works when it comes to Social Media Marketing, it is important to fully understand what it is.  In plain terms, it is the process of gaining website traffic, brand awareness and consumer engagement through the use of social media.  These sites can include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Millennials have taken to all of these forms of online expression to share experiences, relationships and spark up healthy (and sometimes heated) debates about what’s happening around the world.  It only makes sense for businesses to develop ways of reaching this generation through the sites they’re already using on a daily basis.
Here are a few things that marketers are finding is the key to success:

  1. Influencers
    Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are great platforms to showcase celebrity or public figure endorsements of your product. Seeing a well-respected person of authority back your brand adds value and legitimacy; people are more likely to trust a product if someone other than the company itself is singing its praises.  The more likes, views and comments the better!  Millennials are interested in brands that they can relate to.  Social causes, fashion trends and technology all play a big role in adoption and if they feel that a product complements their lifestyle, they are much more likely to try it out.  Don’t have the capacity to add a celebrity to your payroll?  No problem, word of mouth and reviews from peers can be very influential when it comes to trusting and using a brand.  84% of Millennials say that user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy ( As a result, it’s important for brands to focus on their friendship with Millennials both online and offline.
  2. Sponsored Posts
    So long, traditional advertising! Millennials aren’t interested in you anymore.  In order for brands to be seen, heard and adopted, businesses are going to need to put dollars behind their marketing. With 66% of Millennials more likely to purchase a brand that listens to them, and 77% advocating for brands that they themselves are interested in (POME), brands need to make sure that they are supporting their online efforts. Sponsored posts allow you to specifically target the Millennial audience through location, interests and hobbies. Your post may show up on a user’s Instagram or Facebook feed, Twitter page or even as a Snapchat Filter.  Tapping into the social scene boosts the likelihood of gaining Millennial attention.
  3. Rewards, Incentives, Gamification
    Everybody likes free stuff! Loyalty and rewards programs are great ways to draw in new customers and keep them loyal to your brand.  Coca-Cola does a great job of this with their Share a Coke campaign (shown here). Gamification is being implemented in marketing campaigns more and more.  It brings fun to advertising, as well as a little healthy competition against friends, other customers or even the user themselves.  Gamification strategies can lead to a 100% to 150% increase in engagement metrics (  Heineken’s US Open Instagram Contest was a great example of gamification in action.  A massive photo hunt where users had to locate a specific fan in a sea of over 200 photos. Clues and code words were posted to their account, letting followers know what to look for. The prize? Tickets to the US Open’s Men’s Final! (learn more here).  Why do these tactics work? They focus on making an emotional connection with Millennials, along with making them feel important and part of a larger community.

There is no such thing as a one size fits all marketing strategy.  If it’s Millennials you’re aiming to target, it’s important to listen to what they’re asking for and pay attention to their habits both online and in store. Don’t be afraid to switch gears to a new tactic.  Millennials want to feel as though they are part of your brand, that it speaks to them and their lifestyle. They want to know that what they think and do matters to you; they want a positive experience; and they want to know what’s in it for them.