You would think the job of the brand manager would be easy these days. Everyone is on social media so on paper it looks like it would be easier to reach the right people than ever. Millennials have grown up with social media, streaming videos and connecting with brands and friends alike online. They live in a digital world and while this is a great opportunity for marketers it also offers significant drawbacks.

The biggest problem that I see is that younger adults aren’t hanging out in places where brands are highly visible. They love apps which are instant, like Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram which provide a constant stream of input. Ads are only visible for about five seconds so they have to really stand out from the crowd. They also need to find their place as part amongst the users friends and family photos and updates. Something which looks too much like an advert is really jarring and stands out for the wrong reasons. If it looks out of place then the user will quickly block the account and then never see the account again, no matter how great the next advert is.   Adverts need to be in all the places where they can best connect with the intended audience. They need to fit the kinds of posts which the users there like and not look too much like an advert.

On the plus side if an advert is good then they will click buy straight away – it’s so instant. That must have item is straight away in their inbox. Young adults are also more likely to share with their friends, creating viral marketing. I have recently shared discounts with friends I knew would appreciate it or shared a recipe of craft which I knew they would like. It is also brilliant that you can connect instantly with the brands. Good customer service is something which is often retweeted, as is the opposite of course. A viral story where a company or member of staff goes out of their way to help someone always does well. It creates a warm buzz around the brand.

This is so different from a few years ago. Brands were unapproachable and distant institutions. They presented their version of themselves and that was all you saw. It must have been much harder for new brands to make an impact, particualarly with young people. Promotional products retailer 4imprint has produced a compelling video outlining some useful statistics and information around millennials‘ attitudes and behaviour online.

It is definitely worth taking time to ensure a social media campaign fits the audience. A brand needs to fit among the baby pictures and complaints about the weather, it needs to be a part of the stream almost as if the brand is a member of your friends and family.