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As part of today’s largest (and most talked about) generation, millennials are commonly defined by their profuse use of technology and abundance of media rituals. And I have to say, at age 23, I undoubtedly fit the stereotype. With a constant need to be “plugged in” and my slight addiction to social media, I’ll admit that I should probably take a break from my smartphone from time to time. But the truth is, the habits of millennials like me have inevitably changed due to advances in technology – and it’s not a bad thing.   

Let’s take a look at some of the social and media habits of millennials: 

Blog image_LE Statistics from Pew Research: Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change 

Often referred to as “digital natives,” millennials use technology to interact with brands and individuals on a more personal level; a level that wasn’t there for Boomers and Gen-X’ers. With the growing importance of engagement, branded messaging is more important when targeting millennials. According the Boston Consulting Group, millennials tend to engage best with content that’s relevant to them, transforming the way in which companies need to market their products and services in order to be successful.

From content marketing to paid media strategies, the habits of millennials have created a more social world of public relations. Three of these Generation Y-driven trends include:

  • The shift to social media for news coverage: Social media is revolutionizing how we consume news coverage, due to its immediacy and comparative effectiveness to traditional media. Often seen as being more relevant than traditional news sources, social media is felt to be more engaging and provides for a greater mix of news.
  • The transition to social ads: Compared to traditional (and often ignored) online banner ads, social advertisements are the new way to engage targeted millennials. According to Fast Company, Facebook and Twitter combined account for nearly three-quarters of a billion users. Social media users can quickly spread a positive message about a brand or campaign throughout their networks, making it a cost-effective way to amplify messaging.
  • The rise of mobility: With the reliance on smartphones, it’s necessary for every platform to be optimized for mobile use. This is important, as the rise of mobility has created an expectation of immediacy among millennials that brands must be able to fulfill.

 

So while my generation might be criticized as self-involved or even narcissistic for our reliance on technology, the truth holds that the habits of millennials have not only changed media influence, but are also revolutionizing the world of public relations.   

Image courtesy of Dave Lawler.

Lauren Englund is a Gonzaga University graduate and is currently an intern at Weber Shandwick Seattle. You can find out more about Lauren on her LinkedIn profile or by connecting with her on Twitter @Lauren_Englund.

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