"MILLENNIALS STOP TAKING SELFIES" -- Keynote Speaker
For the past few years, "Millennial" has been the buzzword on everyone's lips. From listicles on the ways Millennials are failing to launch, to how they're obsessed with technology, or how they don't want to work, and a host of other ways this generation is missing the mark. On the flip side, they're also the audience most major companies are targeting right now.
Over the weekend, after attending an amazing conference (developed by a millennial), I heard that one of the keynote speakers (a celebrity of the Boomer generation), mentioned in her keynote address that millennials have to "stop twerking and taking selfies," she implored them to take this advice...as if to say twerking and selfie-taking were depriving them of productivity and success...as she address a room full of professional women...many of who were millennials...
A room filled with professional millennial women. A conference created by a millennial woman. That keynote speaker's check was most likely being signed by that millennial woman...but her advice to millennial women was that they needed to "stop taking selfies..."
This story reminded me of another false belief held by many of the 50+ crowd, this idea that 80s babies were all clearly born with smart phones and social media profiles in hand. This way of thinking leads senior leadership at companies big and small, to believe that social media (a very real, sound part of digital marketing) is something that can easily (and lazily) be passed off to the millennial on the team.
Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming proof that social media is not a passing fad, this is still much too common. The idea here is that the Boomers or GenXers in leadership assume that Social Media is a young person’s arena, and that it doesn’t really matter if the young person on the team has nothing do with the marketing department, they can totally handle “just posting a few times a week.”
Well, for everyone who thinks that just posting a few times a week is going to drive awareness, engagement and ultimately sales--we’re here to tell you that you are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
POSTING TO SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT A GOAL OR STRATEGY IS POINTLESS.
So no, every Millennial is not born clenching a cell phone loaded with social media applications in one hand, and a sense of entitlement in the other. Contrary to popular belief, audiences respond to social media marketing how they’ve always responded to marketing efforts. The shift is that social media is where everyone’s attention lives now. Decades ago, a billboard on a highway not travelled, with muddy, inconsistent or incoherent messaging would not get a good response--so why do you think that posting a few memes, a random picture of your breakfast, and a photo of your secretary at happy hour is going to pull in followers, let alone customers?
Let’s be clear, social media is not “the future,” social media is here, it’s now, it’s staying. And if you are leading a company and you don’t want to take the time out to learn WHY and HOW social media is relevant and why a strategy is necessary (like with any marketing effort), then you had better look further than the youngest person on your team. Especially when that young person’s job description has nothing to do with marketing the company.
What’s the solution?
I’ll tell you what the solution isn’t (in case you missed it), and then I’ll tell you what it is.
The non-solution is to randomly pile the management of your company’s social media pages onto the plate of the youngest person on your team. You may luck up, and Bobby from Accounting may be a social media GURU, and he may know just what you should do to drive engagement and reach your goals. But that doesn’t change the fact that Bobby is from Accounting, and no matter how many likes he gets, you’ll still want those P&L sheets by close of business Friday. So just leave Bobby alone, unless you’re about to offer him a raise and a title new title.
The solution here is simple, but layered. Working with an outside agency to manage your social media is cost efficient, and can provide peace of mind by handing what you don’t know to an expert whose only job is to make sure your social media is amazing. An outside agency also understands that social media is rented land, that at any time the gals and guys at X Social Media company can change the algorithms, and put your company at what, can seem like a disadvantage. A sound strategy is a living organism, and if you can hire a company to manage your social media with that understanding, you’re on your way. Another layer of this solution is to EDUCATE YOURSELF. Just because you’re the head honcho, does not mean you should not have at least a basic understanding of the marketing efforts you’re green lighting.
So take a few webinars, go to the non-C-suite level track sessions at the conference, ask the young people in your life what they think about social, listen to a few podcasts and yes, create your own social profile. I promise the internet won’t suck you up like a vacuum, you’ll be fine, and you might even like a few things while you’re there.