Millennials And Their Online Behavior: Why You Need To Maximize Your Online Presence To Capture This Younger Audience

Born in 1980, the first generation of this digitally fluent audience started high school when the web had just become a public space. Most of this generation, those we refer to as millennials, sees the digital revolution as the norm… as essential as oxygen. Half of this group, those aged 26 and younger, used social media in high school: first Myspace and soon after, Facebook. Today, this group is extremely active on countless social media outlets. Studies suggest that a majority of millennials feel connected most of the time, and 51% of millennials say they are mostly or most always online or connected to the internet. This number is getting higher by the minute. The time is now to ensure that your company is maximizing its online presence to tap into this younger audience and make them loyal customers. Harnessing the following knowledge about this digitally savvy sect will help your business tremendously as you craft and refine your digital presence:

Millennials want to engage with brands on social networks. 

This generation boasts the highest social networking usage and activity of its counterparts. Millennials want to be able to engage with companies on social media, and are more likely to support brands that boast active profiles. While millennials thoroughly enjoy buying goods and purchasing services, for them, the experience of the purchase and what it involves is the most important piece of the puzzle. Through following a brand’s Instagram, for instance, these consumers get a peak into the brand’s DNA and story. Millennials love this — it brings a humanistic element to the company that makes them more apt to make a purchase.

This group of purchasers also wants to be listened to. They want to be able to tweet a company a question — or a complaint— about a product or service and be engaged with, as social media is the newest form of customer service. It’s the most convenient and quick way for millennials to get the answers they desire — actively managed social platforms allow this group to not have to wait on hold on the phone or to visit a brick and mortar. Everything can be done online, from searching for the business, to scanning the business’ website and social media for general information and offerings, to the sale itself, and anything afterwards, like help with tracking numbers, returns, and, new orders!

They want to co-create products with their favorite companies.

Similar to how millennials value the experiences associated with their purchases sometimes more than the purchases themselves, millennials want to feel intrinsically involved in the product or service they’re buying. Whether this is through following the company on social media and viewing their daily content like they do with their favorite blog, or even taking a survey about which product or service they’d like to see launched next, they like to be part of the process every step of the way.

They are loyal to the brands they love.

Millennials have a strong tendency to repeatedly buy from brands they love and make recommendations to their friends.  Once millennials find brands that they feel connected to, or care about supporting, they will stay loyal unless they have a bad experience. It’s essential to establish these deep, positive connections with your audience from the beginning, so as they get older, they will continue to purchase from you.

They like brands who give back to the community. 

Millennials are particular. Similar to how they like to experience a brand’s DNA through its digital presence, millennials also care about how products are made, sourced, etc. This audience is very driven towards companies that are specific about their sourcing methods and those that are philanthropic. Companies that are thoughtful in their approach get the most attention here. Most millennials prefer to buy from a company that contributes to society in one way or another. Brands that care about their communities catch this young groups' eye; they especially love supporting local brands, rather than purchasing from large competitors.

Being on trend, and ahead of the curve when possible, is what generates the type of brand presence that millennials will pay attention to. Positive attention from this group of consumers is highly valuable, as they are among the most vocal of audiences. Whether it’s by Instagramming a picture of a product, a video of a store, or a glowing Yelp review, when millennials share information about a business, their friends and networks see it, instantly increasing a business’ reach tenfold. Keeping in mind what you now know about millennials’ particulars for purchasing,  your business will be more able to capture this very important audience.

Your Business Needs PR Services… Here’s Why:

Public Relations, or PR, is intrinsically linked to the success and survival of your company when done well to build – and manage  your brand image. PR, unlike other marketing strategies, focuses on strengthening relationships rather than sales. However, through the combined efforts of PR and marketing techniques, your company will yield higher success rates than implementing one without the other. PR includes but is not limited to: media and social networking, event planning, crisis prevention, management recovery, press releases, internal communication and more. The possibilities are limitless.

Most companies ignore their online media presence because of a simple oversight and lack of time. Business owners are busy doing what they do best… running their business. Their time spent interfacing with clients, creating new offerings and managing day to day operations leave little to no time to think about sending a blast to local publications to invite them to see their latest offering, or to think about what to post to their company’s Instagram profile. Other companies neglect PR efforts because they feel they cannot afford it, or do not know its value. What these companies do not know is that an assertive brand image is most commonly associated with profitable businesses which proactively create long-term solutions through PR. Internet-induced branding has expanded upon traditional media outlets, and created new opportunities for their company to gain positive PR online. By creating a strategy for utilizing the Internet to create the best image of your business, and infusing it with pre-contemporary forms of print media exposure, your company or brand will be not only recognized on a greater scale, but in people’s minds as well.

From creating engaging, active social media presences on various platforms for your company and proactively managing user-driven sites like Yelp, companies can gain their own control over how they are represented in the digital sphere. By allowing potential clients and customers to perform a quick Google search of your company’s name, they should be able to find instant gratification by quickly landing on your website, Facebook page, Instagram profile, Yelp page, and more… all with frequently updated content and glowing customer reviews that showcase all your business has to offer. These potential clients should be able to quickly obtain all of the information they need by simply visiting your website or one of your social media pages. Allow users to easily look up and follow your company’s pages, subscribe to updates and promotions, and most importantly, be able to access your company for interactive conversations—the largest aspect of PR.

Publishing fresh content and updating your profiles displays dedication and responsibility to your consumers. Keep them engaged and generate additional potential connections by having a thriving online presence that shows the active nature of your company. There is no reason potential customers should have to wait until it’s your business hours to call you – by providing clear cut and easy to find information online, it makes peoples’ first-time interactions with your business one that leaves them feeling satisfied and ready to make a purchase.

The same reigns true for media placements. Whether it’s through acquiring the best ad space in a regional, national or online publication, a feature in a TV segment, or even an advertorial placement in a print/online publication, sometimes through reading or watching one of these mediums is when people first interact with your brand. It’s crucial to have this presence, made possible by media placements, to get your company out there and known by your target audience. Being able to handpick which publications to advertise in, or send press releases to, based upon their readership is another invaluable facet of PR.

PR must be managed with charm and responsibility. It must be conducted with precision and cautiously aligned with your message; PR is a favored tool in communicating to your customers that you understand their interests and the context in which your service or product is utilized in. It also has the tremendous ability to also help you to gain knowledge about the industry and your competition. Consider the following additional reasons why PR services bring tremendous value to your business:

 

Credibility

It is important to remember in the course of branding your company’s image that people buy your reasoning, not your product. Consumers are more likely to respond to third party coverage of a product or service; they are much more likely to make purchases based on media endorsements rather than advertisements, as advertisements are perceived as just such: to sell them something. By gaining credibility through third party endorsements (media placements, celebrity endorsements, even positive Yelp and Facebook reviews), your company will inherently attract more business and loyal fans.

 

Attracts attention

Consistent visibility and a lively presence make your business appear more established than it actually is - this creates larger audiences and more general awareness for your service or product. The goal is always to attract the right people in the right place at the right time—a win-win for all who are involved.  Your company may secure partnerships, customers, and funding that will help you put your best foot forward if featured in the right places in a positive light.

 

Creates opportunities

PR creates the power of capitalization. An article posted to an online news outlet, a broadcast clip and a news release can all provide valuable opportunities to increase and optimize your business. PR, in the form of securing coveted media placements (write ups and features) is great for your bottom line, as it is much less expensive than traditional forms of advertising. PR has a proven track record for businesses that have a particular story to tell, as it provides the opportunity to share what cannot be shared through mere advertisements. PR can be substantial in increasing sales and fostering tremendous growth.

 

Personable

There is nothing more irritating that a generic online contact form that is neglected for extended periods of time or unanswered altogether… not to mention, your question is seldom answered the way you need it to be. Customers like to have a direct and personal point of contact and PR offers a way for them to establish relationships with actual people. Good methods of PR establish means for communication; successful companies with great PR will delegate time to follow up with people regardless of whether there are complaints or not. Having a social media presence that is done right is like having a dedicated customer service person, without having to pay and train an employee.

 

Preventative

It is imperative to know how to be appropriately reactive in difficult situations revolving around customer service. It is paramount that your company always acts proactively in these situations by installing preventative measures through PR efforts. If your business plans to make changes to its services, intends to release a new product or even talk about its upcoming features, it should make sure to alert existing customers before these changes are made. Your business can avoid potential problems and stimulate customer satisfaction by doing this.

 

For more information, contact us! info@CoastalCreativeServices.com

The Importance of Active Yelp Management

The internet has forever transformed the way we live, learn, purchase, engage with others, and play. It has also changed the way business is done, with a great deal of businesses owing their success to their online presence. The internet has given a stronger than ever voice to consumers, opening the door for reviews and ratings that are used to directly rank businesses. Today, most consumers research products, services and businesses online, carefully sifting through their reviews before committing to making a purchase. Through popularity gained by their actively managed social media platforms that are the new customer service standard, and through positive reviews submitted by customers, being digital reaps dividends for businesses of all types and sizes. 

Simply having the right social media platforms won't cut it, though -- they must be active. Cue in social media management... it's essential -- there's simply no point in taking the time to craft content and post it if there's no management on the other end. Followers' and customers' questions and comments must be promptly answered and engaged with. Social media is now considered the place for prompt and painless customer service. This type of management that inspires engagement on behalf of the consumer is highly significant for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and even more valuable for Yelp. Management of this particular platform can be especially linked to the success (or failure) of your business. No matter what type of business you have -- a restaurant, a law firm, if you're an interior designer or even a dermatologist, potential customers and clients are bound to look you up on Yelp before deciding to give you their business.

The Basics of Yelp: 

Founded in 2004, Yelp has become the preeminent online platform for users to not only search for great deals and businesses nearby, check-in upon arrival, but to also submit reviews on establishments they have visited. With 89 million visitors each month, Yelp leads the pack among websites promoting businesses in the US. First made wildly popular for submitting restaurant reviews, Yelp users now actively review all types of businesses. Reviews are based upon visitor feedback scores and indicators of quality and activity on the site, meaning that reviews written by highly active "Yelpers,", (those with Yelp's Elite status) are more likely to be featured prominently on your business’s page.

 

Why it's Important:

You are less likely to hear from a disgruntled customer in person. Instead, consumers say how they truly feel behind a screen, and these comments will most likely come in the form of Yelp reviews. Showing that your business checks up on its Yelp reviews -- the, good, the bad, --and hopefully not!-- the ugly, tells your customers that you care about their experiences and are open to feedback. All people love to be heard and made to feel important, so do this for your customers by responding to every single review that comes in, within that same day. By illustrating your openness to continually mold your business to make your customers the most satisfied they can be, you will attract more business and develop personal connections with your clients that will make them return, loyal customers.

 

How Yelp Can Work for You:

Yelp presents a unique opportunity where you can harness the power of your past, existing, and future customers to expand upon your business. Effective management of your business page on Yelp has been linked to the success – and failure – of multiple establishments. This includes responding gratefully to the positive reviews you receive, as well as responding to any negative reviews. Do this to understand where your customer is coming from, to create a solution, and to ultimately convince them to purchase from you again. Respond to understand the situation at hand, not to automatically squash their complaints, especially if you were not present for the situation they described. Perhaps there was a mishap with one of your employees, or even an instance of poor customer service. It can happen. If how your employees handled any situation left anything to be desired, wouldn't you want to immediately get to the bottom of it? Your replies to reviews should promote your brand so that potential customers get an idea of the kind of business you run. Yelp is a powerful tool that can make or break your company – use it to your advantage, and you will gain a reputation as a reputable, customer-oriented establishment worthy of everyone's patronage.

 

#ProTip: 

Employ a strategy to entice your Yelp savvy customers to check into your business and leave a review. By offering them a discount or a freebie of some kind to do so, they'll be more likely to leave you a glowing review, knowing that you might ask to see their comment in order for them to receive their incentive.

 

The Bottom Line... We know you're incredibly busy doing what you do best... running your business and thinking of new services and products to add. We understand that the thought of replying to every new Yelp review that comes in, on the very day it comes in, can seem like a very timely task. That's where we come in... email us today and leave your social media management in the best hands, so you can do what you do best!