How to reach out to younger audiences – without making them cringe

Have you noticed that, while your company attracts a steady stream of custom from older audiences, the tap rather runs dry when it comes to revenue from younger customers? If so, you could be motivated to attempt to rectify that – but, before you do, pause for a moment…

If you aren’t young yourself, or perhaps even if you are, you might struggle to grasp what genuinely appeals to the younger crowd. Here’s a hint, though: it’s not as obvious as you might think…

Use memes or emojis cleverly or not at all

Given the proliferation of memes and emojis that we have seen with the rise of the Instagram generation, it’s tempting to think that your own business would look “behind the times” if it decided against using them.

It doesn’t help that, whenever a meme does take off on a brand’s initiative, it sparks a dozen articles hailing the worth of memes to “fresh”, “relevant” and “humorous” marketing.

However, as Econsultancy wisely emphasises about memes, “people love them because they’re funny”, rather than because they’re “from the internet”. Along similar lines, don’t expect emojis to charm simply because they are emojis; they will charm if they are used to truly amusing effect.

In short, it’s the humour of memes and emojis, rather than their place in online culture, that drives their appeal – and humour has always been a valuable ingredient in marketing.

Offer immediate and frictionless experiences

It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that young people often have little time to spare on paying dedicated attention to your brand… or, more to the point, what it has to say.

Think about it: even if they follow you on Twitter or Instagram, you could still have to fight hard to be noticed amongst the many other accounts they follow. Meanwhile, users of such platforms are well-positioned to bring news to public notice especially early.

As Forbes points out, “it is no surprise that the generation that went through adolescence with technology at their fingertips craves fresh, new content.”

Position your brand as a brand – not a person

Hard though it might initially be for you to swallow, people aren’t really interested in conversing with your brand. That’s because your brand is, ultimately, a faceless corporate entity – and so, when it starts acting like a person, especially a young one, this can come across as slightly creepy.

Even if you share the target audience’s age bracket, focus on simply helping young people rather than “getting down with the kids”. Now, how exactly can you help them?

Consider tapping into the power of influencer marketing

When people want to emotionally connect, it’s usually with other people, not brands. This sheds light on why influencer marketing can wield impressive power.

Getting in touch with the influencer marketing agency Socially Powerful, for example, can bring you into contact with a public figure – not necessarily a traditional “celebrity” – who is popular with your young target customers and can advocate your offerings to them..

Claire James
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