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Q&A: How to Market to Millennials on Social Media


Q&A: How to Market to Millennials on Social Media

Written by: Alexa Miller

Gaining educated Millennial clients with high earning potential is a priority at many advisory firms across the country. The problem, though, is that twenty-somethings tend to be unresponsive to traditional prospecting methods. Rather than being sold to, they want to be engaged, educated and entertained by brands on social media and other digital platforms.

Because financial advisors and others in professional services often struggle to connect with this generation, we chatted with 21-year-old college student and former Flackable intern Finnan Saylor on how brands can make a positive, long-lasting social media impression on Millennials.

AM: Describe the social media platforms you use, and how do you use them differently?

FS: As a 21-year-old college student, I find myself using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat daily. My use for each platform changes on the basis of my friends/followers on that platform.

  • Facebook is a great way to share ideas, updates and photos with my family and longtime friends. Moreover, Facebook is the “required textbook” of social media when it comes to college life. Between Facebook’s Messenger app and the ability to create events and student organizational pages, even if someone doesn’t use Facebook to share memories or ideas in a Status, Facebook has become an irreplaceable crutch that supplements group projects, clubs and friends.
  • Twitter offers me a personalized feed of information—a literal “newsfeed.” I follow news outlets, campus organizations, celebrities, friends and other accounts relevant to my major. Twitter allows me to keep tabs on local, national, cultural and personal news (all in one convenient place).
  • Instagram creates a platform where I can share photos with a broader and younger audience as compared to Facebook. Instagram is the ultimate dumping ground for college students because our mothers and fathers, our aunts and uncles usually aren’t liking and commenting on our posts as compared to Facebook. I also use Instagram to search for photos through check-in locations, hashtags and the “explore” tab.

Compared to the other apps, Snapchat offers a platform for interpersonal communication, as well as broadcast communication. I can send Snaps to just one or a group of friends, or I can post a Snap to my story so it lasts all night. Throughout college, I’ve only ever met one person who didn’t have a Snapchat account, and after a few months of social exile, that person hopped on the bandwagon too as not to miss out. FOMO.

AM: How do you feel about Instagram Stories?

FS: At first I was pretty excited for them. I use Instagram the most, so the new stories feature allows me to get more from the app I like the best. However, I think it’s safe to say that among my friends, I’m still in the minority. Snapchat has created such a cult following—with geotags and filters, many college students have a certain sense of loyalty to Snapchat. Most of my friends still exclusively post stories to Snapchat, but I’m looking forward to the day I can check all my stories in one place: On Instagram.

AM: What makes you follow a brand on social media? 

FS: I look at a brand’s previous content. I think to myself, “would I be bothered seeing these posts every day?” If the answer is, “Heck yes” then I won’t follow—but, if a brand posts often enough without being annoying, I’ll tap the follow button.

AM: What brands do you think represent themselves especially well on social media?

FS: In particular, I think Amazon does an excellent job expressing themselves through both their social media and their online website. Between sponsored content pushed into my social media feeds and their organic posts, I find myself tapping the “deal of the day” Tweet on a regular basis. Their messaging also does an outstanding job speaking directly to me as an undergraduate student.


AM: What are your thoughts about social media contests?

FS: Annoying. I will enter a contest online where I can just type in an email address, but I don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my posts on any platform for a chance to win a prize I know will never be mine.

However, Uber just had a great promotion for students via an email style contest. By entering a .edu email address, students get a chance to win free Uber rides for a semester. Now that’s a contest more my style. I don’t have to hashtag or mention a brand online for all my followers to see.

AM: How do you feel about social media advertising?

FS: When done right, I don’t mind advertisements on social media—I sometimes even tap an ad that peaks my interest. I hate to see ads that aren’t relevant to me. I’m a 21-year-old college student, I’m not looking to refinance my mortgage.

AM: What advertisements on social media resonate with you the most?

FS: I find myself swiping through the carousel advertisements on Facebook more often than not. Just as I peruse through my friend’s albums on Facebook, I’m always swiping from photo to photo, regardless of a carousel ad or a friend’s collection of pictures.

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