Tailoring social media strategy to Millennials is a given for a brand like Forever 21, but any company can benefit from the process, according to Mario Moreno, global social media manager for the Los Angeles-based fashion company. “Chances are a majority of your followers on social media are Millennials, which may be different from your CRM database,” said Moreno. The key is tapping into the generation’s behaviors in order to build a strategy that’s organic and authentic.
Millennials believe they do not consume advertising as much as participate in it. “To them, it is a privilege to your brand that they follow you. They think that their social following holds so much power to your brand that they have more to offer you and therefore their expectation is that you deliver and speak to them in a way that benefits them. It’s the ‘What’s in it for me?’ generation,” he said.
It’s also important to remember that they don’t shop by season, but by lifestyle and by occasion, be it Sunday brunch, Coachella, or a weekend trip to San Francisco. They buy things with the aim of sharing them on social media, so this is where brands can make the biggest impression on them.
“They are looking for brands that provide them with content for their social feeds, and to recognize their content and appreciate it through social currency: likes, comments, retweets and reposts.”
But Millennials are actually doing a service to brands by providing them with user-generated content, or UGC, and spreading awareness via word of mouth. “We worry about photo shoot and campaign budgets, but they are creating it for you. And if they think it’s cool they will share it,” said Moreno. His team increased its Instagram following by three million in one year to 8.5 million followers, making it the fourth most-followed brand on Instagram, by paying attention to customers and using them to fuel the marketing strategy.
Morenos’ team created a #F21XME campaign, inviting customers to send in posts with the hashtag, then filtered the best posts — one to three percent — by either liking, commenting on, or reposting them.
“We began to select the content that met our aesthetic and complimented our marketing campaigns. Through approved and reposted content, we educated our customer on what was post-worthy and trained them on our product focuses for the month. In doing so, we created loyal fans and drove sales — everything they liked, we liked — and made sure to link it back to our e-commerce site so everyone could get it.”
Each social media platform has a specific purpose: Facebook is a place to tout daily arrivals and shopping though e-commerce imagery and UGC; Instagram is a source of inspiration and discovery and a place to engage with a global audience; Twitter is a source for feedback and encourages one-on-one conversations with customer service about product and trends, and its mobile app is a place to display UGC and shopping links.
Moreno also stressed the importance of back-end tracking and working side by side with e-commerce teams to gauge sales and referral traffic. “You have to be a marketer and analyst,” he said.