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Turn your brand into a millennial magnet with these 3 marketing tips

The millennial market can be a tough nut to crack, especially for established brands that haven’t previously targeted this booming demographic. While penetrating a new demographic is never easy, it is possible, as long as you understand the audience. Why should millennials be on your radar? According to the U.S. Census Bureau,they number 75.4 million and have now surpassed the nation’s 74.9 million baby boomers, making them the largest living generation.

So, even if yours is an old school brand, you should focus on attracting the technology-savvy and pop culture-loving savvy millennials. Here are three marketing tips you can use to help attract this younger crowd to your brand.

1. Promote your brand through social influencers.

Millennials consume so much content on social media, they are literally connected to the world via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Technology is how they stay up to date on current events, and it’s how they stay connected to their friends and family.

They also tend to pay attention to social influencers, who include celebrities and public figures that have amassed huge followings for various reasons. Think people who have become “famous for being famous,” a.k.a. “the Kardashian phenomenon.”

How much are millennials influenced by social recommendations?According to Kissmetric surveys, 93 percent of this generation’s members have made a purchase based on a recommendation from friends and family, and 89 percent trust these recommendations more than the claims made by the brands themselves.

In fact, millennials are dropping millions of dollars on teeth-whitening kits, diet pills, detox teas, supplements and various other products — and the companies involved are heavily using social influencers to hawk their products because it’s such an effective marketing strategy for targeting millennials.

2. Create ‘ads’ that appear to be native — millennials have strong BS detectors.

According to HubSpot, 84 percent of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising, which is exactly why social influencers are currently so effective. Indeed, millennials are almost immune to traditional advertisements. They don’t want products or services jammed down their throats. So, if you’re marketing to millennials, you need to do that through creativity and authenticity.

Additionally, considering that just under 90 percent of millennials are armed with smartphones, running mobile-focused, pay-per-click ads and sponsored social media posts is necessary to get this target group to notice your brand.

Overall, social media marketing has turned into a “pay to play” space, as organic reach is declining on Instagram just as it did on Facebook. Brands can complain all they want, but that isn’t going to change anything. These social networks are a business just like you — they need to make money in order to evolve and stay above water. You really can’t fault them for closing the window on organic reach, which makes paid promotion a necessity.

So, create “ads” that have the look and feel of native social media content. You want millennials to engage with your offer in the most natural way possible. Even the slightest whiff of “advertisement” will push them away.

3. Offer a rewards program.

I downloaded the Postmates app the other day, and after completing my first order I was given the opportunity to earn rewards. The experience was almost identical to the rewards program Uber has successfully used to leverage millennials’ willingness to promote and share for a reward.

In fact, almost half of millennials are game for sharing a service or product on social media in exchange for a little kickback. They aren’t going to share a poor product or customer experience, but if you combine a great experience with an attractive offer, you will have an army of brand promoters and supporters willing and able to help grow your brand with little-to-no upfront out-of-pocket funding. Giving out discount codes and credit is a very small price to pay for the reach and power of millennial supporters.