I’m a Millennial, please stop trying to market to me

For a big consumer-facing brand, choosing the right social media platform to market to Millennials can be quite the uphill battle. Millennials are the generation that avoids direct marketing and are savvy enough to know when marketers are trying to bombard them with advertisements and promotional gimmicks. And, speaking as one myself, nothing turns us off more quickly.

Lots of brands try to reach Millennials with a strong social media presence on Twitter, but companies’ tweets often come across as just that –  selling messages directly from the company. As of June 2016, Snapchat surpassed Twitter in daily usage with 150 million people using the app each day (Bloomberg). There has been a lot of buzz recently around branding on Snapchat, particularly for Millennials.

As a Millennial, I love the idea of advertisers using Snapchat. Why, you might ask? The straightforward answer is because I have the power to follow the brands that I want to on Snapchat and choose which un-edited, real-time content shows up on my phone. And Snapchat, as a medium, lends itself to messaging that feels more attuned to me and with how I want to be communicated.

Two of my favorite brands to follow on Snapchat are Coca-Cola and the NBA. Both brands post videos on Snapchat that give me VIP access to what is going on in the company. By having an insider’s view of marketing, I don’t get the feeling that I am being “sold a message” through an ad. Take Coca-Cola for instance. Through its new campaign, #ShareaCoke, in which all bottles have lyrics to well-known songs, the brand surrenders its Snapchat account to Selena Gomez, who can be seen holding a Coke bottle backstage during a commercial shoot. She talks directly to Coca-Cola’s followers in real-time and is able to provide a “#nofilter” experience. The “no filter” option is an important feature – we want to know that the content hasn’t been edited.  And this is just one example. The brand also recently went backstage at the BET Music Awards with DJ Khaled, who was seen holding a Coke bottle with the lyrics to his song, “All I Do is Win”.  Millennials relate to this type of marketing because it provides a real-time bond they can form with the brand and feel as if they are getting a backstage pass to a personalized experience.

Another great example of a brand that markets to Millennials on Snapchat is the NBA. Not only does the NBA share live sporting events with its followers, it also allows its followers to see behind-the-scenes locker room discussions and interactions with players. An opportunity to be courtside with Steph Curry during a big game is a great way for followers to engage with the brand.

Of all the social media platforms, Snapchat seems to be the one that can serve up brand messaging in a way that is not just palatable, but also engaging to Millennials. It’s no mistake that there is a “no filter” option. We bond with brands by being allowed inside, behind-the-scenes, where things aren’t rehearsed or in some way styled or scripted to motivate us. The NBA and Coca-Cola are getting it right.


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