Influencer Marketing: What Millennials look for in influencers
They’d rather watch online influencers like PewDiePie and Jen Selter or micro-influencer Zoe Amira than see your ads. They’re annoyed by advertising they find interruptive. They want to control their interactions with brands, including franchises. They are Millennials.
Aged 24 to 39, Millennials represent 25 percent of Americans and are overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest adult population. Their buying power is essential to franchises as they purchase for themselves and their households, while also influencing purchase decisions for their aging parents. So to increase brand awareness, then move them down-funnel to an ultimate sale, brands need to continuously adapt to Millennials’ preferences for media consumption.
Two primary areas Millennials focus their brand attention on are 1) with content they find entertaining or useful, and 2) with content that speaks to causes they believe in. Brand influencers often ring the bell for both. While it’s still a newer digital strategy, influencer marketing has been around long enough now to have quantifiable results in many industry categories, with a variety of communication messages and tones.
Although 84 percent of Millennials don’t like, or even trust, more-traditional advertising approaches, 58 percent said they’re okay watching ads “to support their favorite digital personalities,” according to a study from Defy.
If you’re considering influencer marketing for your franchise brand, you have to understand what resonates with these consumers, determine how your products or services fit with them, and know how influencers can best engage on your behalf. Here’s what Millennials are looking for in influencers.
- Connection and trust. Forty percent of Millennials say their favorite influencers understand them better than their friends do. The desire to share interests and to belong makes consumers loyal to influencers and, by extension, the brands they represent. This is an area where niche creators can excel. They often come across to audiences as more genuine and more accessible than mega-influencers.
- Entertainment. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok (which is rapidly picking up U.S. followers), excel in providing short bursts of entertaining content to users. Not only is this content of interest as it amuses and occupies, it also is shareable and can quickly reach others. (A note about TikTok: In the U.S., the platform is being investigated for brand safety, data security, and other issues, raising flags to brands looking to use it for any type of marketing.)
- Educational value. YouTube influencers use the platform for DIY content, tutorials, and reviews, as well as to provide entertainment. According to eMarketer’s “Influencer Marketing and the Path to Purchase” report, released in May, more than one-third of those who engage with influencers on social accounts do so on YouTube. Easy access to products an influencer is using to educate audiences, such as home fitness equipment, cosmetics, tools, and auto parts, is appreciated—and used—by consumers. Instagram allows some accounts to tag products and link to Instagram Checkout for purchase.
When considering your influencer strategy for Millennial consumers, recognize their human interests and desire for engagement, instead of imposition. Depending on your product or service, the influencer will have to take on the role of advisor, teacher, entertainer, or friend. The more in tune your franchise brand is, the more likely Millennials will follow and ultimately purchase.
Andrea Brandon is Vice President of Marketing & Creative Services at Mindstream Media Group. She works across the organization and its client base to build awareness and generate leads for both the agency and its franchise brands.
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