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A List of Don’ts When Speaking to a Millennial Audience

millennial audience

There is an indisputable fact when it comes to promoting clients on social media: You need to know your audience. More and more often, we’re finding we must tailor our efforts to address “millennials” as a serious and influential target group.

So, do you need to speak to them differently? The answer is both “yes” and “no.”

According to Adweek, citing research by Odyssey — a social content platform that aggregates and shares a rich diversity of millennial voices from hundreds of local communities and has 30 million monthly unique visitors, more than 1,200 respondents to a nationwide poll shows that while millennials follow an average of 30 (!) brands across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, brands using certain words to communicate with them elicit a *whole-body eye roll*.  

What this millennial audience cares about isn’t brands attempting to appear on point with the latest in cool-speak; it’s about authenticity and reigning in the temptation to try and appear hip. Therefore, here are six words your client brand should NOT use when addressing this highly coveted demo…

List of Don’ts When Speaking to a Millennial Audience

As Reported by Millennials

1.       Millennial. Close to half of Odyssey’s research subjects absolutely hate it when advertisers use this word. They want to be spoken to as adults, even if your strategy is to make the brand come across as kinda fun, cool, or a little bit goofy.  

2.       Hip. Don’t try to act like or sell hipster as your brand, and don’t try to suck up by calling them hip(ster). The respondents said to be honest, interesting, and don’t try too hard. They notice.

3.       Yaaasss or any of-the-moment slang. Chances are pretty good your client will come off as hopelessly behind the trend and sound a lot like their moms/dads trying to work the word into conversation. Odyssey’s research found that fully 2/3rds of its respondents think slang isn’t effective when communicating with them on social platforms. 

4.       Emojis. Literally THE least favored communication method in Odyssey’s survey — only 3% of respondents said brands should use them. It’s not that THEY don’t use emojis themselves – 92% of the online population uses them, but 27% percent of the respondents found hashtags and 21% reported GIFs to be more acceptable forms of brand communication.

5.        YOLO and the like. LOL, YOLO, FOMO, OMG, IRL, IMHO, IDK — you get the pic. More than 3/4th of the survey group see this as a weak attempt to be cool and fit in with them.  One thing is for sure: Brands shouldn’t have any FOMO when it comes to using abbreviations. No, really.

6.       On fleek. Used to express perfection, especially when it comes to makeup application, it should be avoided at all costs. Believe it or not, jumping on slang terms too soon reads as desperate to this audience. This phrase is far from perfect when used by brands—70% percent of respondents didn’t like seeing it and thought it looked overeager, even desperate to be relevant.

Millennial Audience

This is one of the savviest demographics to target – and their BS radar is really sensitive. Odyssey concluded they really do want to have real relationship with the brands they love – but that conversation must be designed with the underpinnings of trust and goodwill that don’t try to pander. Stick with words that truly reflect your brands, and not some yardstick of hipness you think will snatch up a millennial audience. They’re on to you…  

RELATED: Why You Should Find and Connect with Your Influencers http://regancomm.com/2016/04/regan-communicationsfind-and-connect-with-your-influencers/ 

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