The Social Media Habits of Millennials Matter Now More Than Ever

Kaitlin-Clark-JacksonMG By Kaitlin Clark, PR Representative & Social Media Specialist

Whether it’s snapping a picture of their latest trendy meals for Instagram, tweeting about last night’s finale of The Real Housewives of NYC, or looking at their fourth-grade teacher’s latest pictures on Facebook, one thing is certain: Millennials are obsessed with social media. However, the days of Millennials using their social media simply to connect with others are over. Today, Millennials’ social media habits matter more than ever for marketers.

Millennials, those born after 1980 and before 2000, aren’t just using Facebook to connect with Aunt Peggy out in Minnesota. According to an American Press Institute article, 88% of Millennials get their news from Facebook. Of those, 57% are getting news from Facebook at least once a day. In 2014, because of the influx of Millennials receiving their news from Facebook, the social network released Image 1a new trending box that appears on the top right side of the newsfeed. These trending topics help users discover interesting and relevant topics being discussed on Facebook that may not appear on their newsfeeds. The headlines and descriptions are currently selected via an algorithm that combines engagement, timeliness, pages a user has liked and geographic location. Before the algorithm had complete control, Facebook employed a team of people to write descriptions for items in its Trending section. But this attracted controversy over allegations of political bias, so Facebook moved to an algorithm that generates a short phrase or a single word, paired with the number of people discussing the topic on the social network. The reason Facebook constantly monitors and updates its Trending section and algorithm? Because a heavy number of Millennials are getting their news from Facebook.

Another area where Millennials have made companies stop and take notice is their love of rating and reviewing. This obsession stems from the way that Millennials make purchasing decisions. According to a report by Deloitte Development LLC, Image 247% of Millennials say their buying decisions are influenced by social media, compared with 19% across all other age groups. The Millennial generation is skeptical toward brand-generated advertising, with 74% more apt to trust a product or brand recommended by family or friends and 68% by peer reviews. Because of Millennials’ trust in reviews, apps like Yelp have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and websites ranging from allrecipes.com to Sephora.com now feature customer reviews and ratings.

But just featuring a customer review section on a brand’s website is not enough. If a brand isn’t leveraging the relationship between a Millennial and social media to drive sales, they’re missing out. “Millennials are more engaged, more vocal and more visual,” said Paul Donagher of Market Strategies. “They’re not merely passive readers—they post, pin, view and blog.”

Millennials want to see brand engagement and peer discussions on social media. They want to feel connected to the brand and the discussion. Another study, this one conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, showed that half of digital buyers reported that reviews, comments and feedback on social media impacted their shopping choices. This data should make brands concerned with how they are connecting with Millennials on their social media channels. For a brand to succeed with the Millennial generation, they need to focus on promoting user-generated content and authenticity, since that’s what Millennials trust and look for most.

The days of Millennials using social media merely to connect with their friends and families are over. Whether it’s making a purchasing decision by reading reviews, or logging on to see what’s popular in the Trending section on Facebook; social media is a trusted source of information when it comes to Millennials.