Tap into young adult shoppers with smart social media marketing

As a small business owner, you might think that you have to be more conservative with your marketing budget than a larger organization would. After all, one bad investment can drag you from the black to the red, so it’s important that you research how best to spend your advertising dollars for maximum results.

Promotional giveaways are great for trade shows and canvassing a neighborhood or parking lot before a special sale or grand opening, but if you want to fire on all cylinders when it comes to your marketing strategy, social media must be a priority. If you’re interested in targeting this growing population of young adult shoppers, you’ll need to adapt to the new pressures of how social media has changed the traditional brand-consumer relationship.

Touch screen madness
Technology has become inescapable. Whether you’re walking down the street or riding a subway train underground where there’s no signal anyway, there are some people who’ll never stop tapping away at their smartphones, tablets and even some new wearable devices that track heartbeat and other vital metrics. According to a recent Gallup survey, 70 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 18 regularly use a mobile device.

However, the real issue for small businesses is how this profusion of technology has affected shopping habits, especially among young people. While only 14 percent of consumers outside of the 18 to 29 year old range said mobile devices increased the frequency at which they went shopping at brick-and-mortar retail stores, 29 percent of young adults said their smartphones have caused them to go out shopping more often than before.

Attract the youth
Missing out on this demographic can spell big trouble for your business, but how can you get these plugged-in millennials to actually come into your store? As the American Marketing Association explained, retail giant Macy’s has had great success connecting with young shoppers through the use of a multi-channel advertising campaign aimed at fostering meaningful relationships between customers and the brands they’re interested in.

“This [millennial] consumer doesn’t engage in the way that the boomer customer does through traditional marketing and media tactics,” Martine Reardon, chief marketing office of Macy’s, told the AMA. “We had to study the customer to determine the best way to start a relationship with her and through our research, we found that they’re about pop culture, they’re about magazines and fashion.”

One of Macy’s most popular campaigns over the last year was “#HelpMeClinton,” where professional stylist Clinton Kelly would surprise women with unexpected makeovers. Reardon explained that young consumers are very knowledgeable about certain subjects, but they still expect advertisers to put all the necessary information into a discrete, digestible package for them. The makeover campaign, publicized through concerted outreach efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, was so successful that Macy’s and Kelly produced a total of 39 videos together.

You probably don’t have the time or money to partner with a world-class stylist, though, so what can you do to help your cause? Forbes magazine recommended going in big on location-based deal alerts. If a consumer with a shopping app like Groupon comes within a certain distance of your store, you can program deal alerts to pop up on his or her phone. Young consumers enjoy businesses that invest in them while they make purchases, which is why rewards programs are usually so successful, Forbes explained.

Tie in personalized products for a unique promotion that some millennial shoppers can’t resist. Offer rewards points for purchases that can be traded in for a branded giveaway product that grows your brand offline, too.

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