This blog post was co-written by Debra Noll, Account Director, Ogilvy Social Marketing.
Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), Generation Next, “eighties babies,” describes the demographic cohort following Generation X, generation born after the Western post-World War II baby boom ended. Millennials generally describes those born in the 1980s and early 1990s. (Wikipedia).
No matter what we call them, we are reaching out to them more and more, especially in social media. Who are they? What are they doing online? What is the best way to reach them?
These questions and more were explored in a recent MobiHealth Meetup event, held in the Washington DC area, last Thursday, February 2nd. Four dynamic speakers shared their experiences using digital channels to target millennials on a variety of health topics and discussed lessons learned.
There was some new information as well as general themes that resonated with us, and are good reminders for our social marketing work:
1. Three out of four millennials are accessing health content online with males just as active as females in seeking health information.
According to a recent study by Comscore, Inc. about millennials’ digital behavior, males also visit health information sites (WebMD, for example) as often as women, debunking the myth that men, when compared to women, take a less prominent role in their own health. The study also found that males spend a lot more time online in general, especially when viewing videos (Hulu is a top preference). In addition, one in three people who use social networking are millennials, with 40% of online time spent on Facebook.
2. Engage your target audience, even your critics.
Digital strategies are being implemented to engage young veterans and change the negative perception that some veterans have of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. One of the VA’s strategies was to approach a known veteran blogger who was making his opinion known about how unhappy he was with the VA. With his help, the VAntage Point blog was created, and over time has helped to position the VA in a more positive light and provides an ongoing dialogue between veterans and the VA. Once again, the importance of involving your target audience was emphasized, which helps to establish you as a trustworthy source, as well as generates authentic content.
3. Imagery and videos attract millennials and can be highly effective when used consistently in campaigns.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy uses creative images and engaging videos for its Bedsider campaign, a birth control campaign targeting primarily young single women. The campaign uses evocative imagery and videos to attract its audience, and helps achieve its goal of “rebranding birth control” by conveying that a primary benefit of using birth control is a better lifestyle.
[Side note: a surprising fact that we learned: what’s the most popular social media platform among veterans? Flickr, apparently!]
4. “Create once, produce everywhere.”
As The National Campaign’s Lawrence Swiader so aptly put it, integration of multiple platforms can be key to the success of a campaign. It’’s important to also consider mobile when targeting millennials as smartphones are fast becoming their preferred communication platform. Bedsider uses a variety of digital channels that women can opt in or out of depending on their preferences. Women can choose to receive a weekly email, watch others share their experiences with different methods of birth control, or opt to receive text message reminders for birth control or medical appointments.
5. Relationship building takes place online but be sure to make it relevant.
The digital space provides an opportunity to build relationships, and it’s important to remember to make your channels and messages relevant to your target audience. While takeaway #4 above may be music to our ears when we think of how we can get the bang for our campaign bucks, we should also be mindful of what communication vehicles our target audience is using. Rescue Social Change’s tobacco efforts engage youth in the planning and implementation of advocacy activities, which requires frequent communication with youth. Rescue SCG has developed its own social media platform to generate excitement and buzz among youth while also providing a forum for real time tracking of youth efforts. This project management system is relevant to youth and the way they are already communicating with each other.
Do you have any case studies, insights, or best practices to share about your work with millennials? Join the discussion here.