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Internet and digital technologies are revolutionizing our lives. It is becoming the privileged place where people interact, search for information, buy goods and services. Traditional advertising techniques have been significantly transformed. Advertisement used to be reduced to few medias –such as TV, radios or movies – but now it has conquered new spaces with social networks. Indeed, in 2018, 40.2% of ads were digital. Social networks are one of the most important areas of interest, representing a a tool for companies to promote their business and carry out customer care.

Since, advertising has taken social media, the most exposed are the millennials –people born in the 21st century and reaching young adulthood. They have a strong relationship with social media. Comments and recommendations are very important to them. According to a Hubspot study, 71% of the millennials are more likely to buy a product if it has been recommended online.

65% of the millennials share their own pictures on social media more than once a week. 64% of them also share content coming from brands or medias. Those statistics show how interacting and sharing their feelings is important to them.

With social media, communication has become viral. Knowing that they are now able to reach people on a global scale has empowered millennials to start their own business on social media. Big structures have seen this new economy appearing and they’ve chosen, wisely, to invest in it.

That was HSBC’s main goal when it launched the “Start Today” campaign in 2018. Its purpose was to attract a younger community and to reach a dynamic and connected customer base. The marketing concept was simple: share your revolutionary idea on Twitter with 140 characters. The results were outstanding: 6.9 million tweets generated in 6 weeks and the increasing of 40 % of the firm’s audience on Twitter. It showed how viral communication can be on social media.

After the Facebook – Cambridge Analytics scandal, all the public and private organizations dealing, manipulating or stocking personal data on their customers were under scrutiny. Retail banking included. Indeed, retail banking is one of the most monitored markets. This can be explained by the nature of their business and the big potential bank failures. As autoregulation has shown its limits, public intervention is needed. Pricing, security and data were the main areas addressed by European financial regulators in 2018.

• How to restore confidence in an industry which has shown its weaknesses to all its stakeholders across the world? Implemented in 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to protect the data and privacy of individuals in the European area.

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• The European Union also came up with a legislative framework: Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). It aims to bring more transparency on prices before trading operations in order to regulate the European financial market and to improve the protection of investors. The 70 000 pages of rules are expected to cost more than 2 billion euros to the European financial market for compliance.

Social media have generated among the millennials a feeling to be part of a community. As they follow people who they share the same interest with, they are more sensitized by the content they see. Meanwhile, they also want to be recognized as an individual and ready to buy any item that would be a distinction inside of their group.

That’s why social media have such an impact: they shape the way young people act, dress, eat, travel and more. The most relevant example must be Instagram. Young consumers are desperately trying to be recognized by their peers. That’s why a firm has to be very careful about the image it wants to convey. It should exploit this unspoke desire of recognition.

Tools like Salesforce DMP or Data Studio allow companies to collect valuable data about their consumers – especially about millennials. Those informations allow them to orientate strategy and gather marketing intelligence.

Brands have the opportunity to learn from a relevant feedback of their services. It is now possible to develop a single platform for all the company’s social media engagement. Teams are more capable to listen for the brand’s mentions, comments, likes. They are able to clearly see the success of a campaign across multiple channels. Salesforce has the ability to provide clients a feedback of all the information with on-screen imagery. With machine learning, companies can track customers interactions, brand sentiment and prioritize posts.

A few years ago, LIDS launched the internal LIDS Press Box, a command center powered by Marketing Cloud and Social Studio. This allows companies to get a single view of each customer and deliver an individual response. Having a dedicated social customer service is a major component of every strategy. A command center transfers social posts to the firm’s CRM platform to complete the already-know information. Getting a such precise amount of data improves the email campaigns and social care of any brand.

The non-comparative advantage provided by social media is its increasing capacity of targeting, which makes advertisement relevant. Companies investing in social media and successfully getting value from their data will get a clear advantage over their competitors. Brands are now closer to their public than they have ever been.

Social media’s algorithms collect information about the consumers’ preferences – such as its music or travelling tastes – and then suggest him content on the platform. Targeting consumers has made online campaigns more contextual: they have gained in efficiency and marketing intelligence. It inserts perfectly to the consumer’s content without interrupting his experience, which is perfect for millennials.

Flipside, the advertisement needs to be increasingly relevant because penalizes those that don’t generate enough commitment are penalized. So, brands have no other choice than conceive high-valued-advertisement and adapt their content. They must use social networks really cleverly: it should not be window shop but a ludic experience. In consequences, the chosen medias and tools must be selected very carefully.

At a time where everything is instantaneous, millennials’ generation is constantly zapping. People feel more reassured when a company has a 24/24 follow-up. In consequence, a firm needs. If a brand wants to be successful, it has to be extremely reactive to each consumers’ reaction.

Companies used to collect information about their clients by e-mails or interactions on social medias but now they have chatbots to analyze a huge volume of data. They answer customers’ questions, direct them towards the right service or solve technical problems. The bank of Sweden’s chatbot keeps 30 000 conversations per month. Those robots treat requests really fast. Chatbots can be used to communicate with clients via messenger applications. For example, last year, Facebook has launched chatbots on its Messenger platform. It has now 30 000 active chatbots on Messenger and 8 billion messages have been exchanged between the firm and its users.

These spontaneous and instantaneous conversations provide a wealth information and help managers to get to know their customers better. They help to detect trends and personalize their content. Mixing the collected data with predictive analysis allows the company to propose adapted content. It may also become a source of inspiration for a company.

Millennials pay a close attention to trends and advises by the people they follow. That’ s why, paid partnerships represent a game-changer. For one to be efficient, the marketing team has to establish a strategy. Is the partnership to gain new clients? Or to encourage the purchase of the latest product?

If it’s to expand its customer base, a company should focus on campaigns. To do so, the firm has the possibility to organize contests on its social media’s accounts. In that case, the customer becomes an ambassador of the brand because he has to recommend it to his followers. Obviously, the customer is looking for some rational reasons to buy a product or a service. The firm has to sensitize the public to its particularities with its “story-telling” abilities. What makes it different from his competitors? The community manager has to explicit the company’s DNA and its engagements, whether it could be environmental, humanitarian or price-related.

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When a brand wants to increase its sales, paying influencers to make partnerships is a wise investment. An influencer value the product and raise the brand’s number of followers. Meanwhile, the influencer will also gain followers because he is linked to the brand. It’s a win-win. Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant, says that almost 40% of Twitter’s users have bought a product after seeing an influencer’s tweet.

Besides, millennials are more appealed by non-verbal communication: pictures, videos, GIFs, stories. The format must be chosen carefully to communicate with this young audience. To increase a product’s visibility, the brand may develop expert advices. For example, a make-up brand could upload videos of people trying new products and explaining how to apply them.

Social networks have developed many tools allowing the consumer to buy when he is using the platform: with “tags” on the posts he’s viewing, he can immediately buy the item. The boundaries between content and purchase does not longer exist. Services and products are sold directly on Instagram or Snapchat, without having a website. Such companies are called “digital natives companies”.

Advocacy marketing organizes and optimizes the brands’ shared content on social media., Given their sharing aptitude, millennials are a pure gold mine for that kind of strategy.

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In 2015, Wiko launched a new Smartphone and wanted to boost its promoting campaign. To do so, they developed a game where players had to share/like/comment small advertising videos on Facebook in order to unlock gifts on the platform. This strategy strengthened the customers’ feeling of belonging to the Wiko’s company.

Two months later, on Wiko’s Facebook page, there were:

  • 83k likes, shares, comments
  • 18k sponsorships
  • 751k views on the videos
  • 98k seen pages

According to a Gartner’s study, by 2020, 90% of customer service will be done via social media. It’s fair enough to say that a whole new economy has risen from the digital revolution. Because of millennials’ omnipresence on social media, they arouse companies’ interest. To reach this generation, firms need to follow social media’s rules and adapt their strategy. Paid partnerships and advocacy have played a major part in social media’s advertising. The Business to Consumer’s relationship has been considerably changed. Collecting data allows companies to refine targeting and suggest adapted content to push millennials to purchase a product or make their brand known.

However, millennials are constantly zapping, searching for new social media to use. Besides, Youtube’s copyrights legislation is becoming much stricter. Few of the most followed youtubers are thinking of leaving the platform and release content on others. That’s why advertising has to constantly reinvent itself. What will be the next step?

Written by: Albert Dupouy