Social media has become one of the best direct gateways into the world of millennials. It can be a great marketing tool to reach this group of digital natives if you use it wisely. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, over the past 10 years there has been a steady increase in the number of millennials using social on a daily basis. Today, millennials account for 88 percent of adults who use at least one social platform.

With so many platforms out there, how does a marketer choose which to invest time and resources in? Start with an understand of how millennials are using these apps. A study from We Are Social says that millennials are less likely to use social as a time-filler and a source of entertainment. Instead, they prefer to use it as a tool for updating statuses, being aware of current events, and staying in touch with friends. Millennials also love following and communicating with brands.

The specific platforms that today’s millennials turn to have shifted over the past few years. Popular apps have come and gone.  Few keep their status as trendy for very long, but you can be sure that some form of social will always influence young consumers on purchases, lifestyles, and attitudes. Below are the best platforms to turn to when trying to market towards millennials, along with how to use them to your advantage.

YouTube – The Video Platform

One of the most popular entertainment and information platforms, YouTube solely focuses on video content. Millennials look to it to enjoy videos about products, brands, and other various interests. To effectively market to this group, make sure you post videos that are content-rich, authentic, and communicate from a millennial point of view. A company that really gets this is beauty brand Sephora. Worth $37.2 billion, they have over 962K followers on YouTube who look forward to their makeup tutorials every week. Each video showcases the brand image, famous makeup artists, and fun graphics to catch the eyes of millennials who are just beginning to “play with beauty.” Not only do they create their own videos, but they also sponsor countless self-made makeup artists to extend their influence.

Instagram – The Visual Platform

Studies show that 81 percent of millennials use Instagram daily, with 55 percent of them visiting the app multiple times in a day. It relies on the visual aspect to appeal to young consumers. To best reach millennials, you want to make sure you can get creative. Combining a good picture, a fun caption, and specific hashtags can showcase great personality and storytelling skills that millennials will enjoy. For some great examples, look to LaCroix sparkling water. On Instagram, they use bright, eye-catching pictures and fun captions to stand out. The brand uses an open dialogue and acknowledges consumers who comment on their product. Specifically, LaCroix encourages them to use branded hashtags for the chance to be featured on their feed. This engagement is what millennials love to see.

Snapchat – The Playful Platform

Similar to Instagram, 82 percent of millennials use Snapchat, and around 71 percent of them check the platform multiple times a day. It can be used as a great tool for updating consumers on important events, as well as a fun way to promote your brand in a time frame that millennials can absorb. It can also be used as a way to recruit team members. GrubHub has found fun ways to navigate the platform and engage with these millennials in college. They use geofilters during events, games with coupons as a reward, and ads around test-taking period to reach student’s stomachs in times of need. GrubHub also took six simple slides with links and big, colorful letters to advertise a new position for a social media intern.

Twitter – The Personality Platform

Probably the least popular among the millennial generation, Twitter is used by millennials in their own unique ways. They look to it as a place for the funny side of social. Companies that use Twitter to get to millennials pay attention to what’s trending. They make their own forms of content, whether that be through visual or copy, to take advantage of these trends . On a more professional note, promoted tweets, open dialogue, and retweeting are three simple ways to show consumers your brand personality. Wendy’s has recently become an excellent example for using Twitter to reach millennials. With their sarcastic comments and bold humor, Wendy’s finds a way to promote their brand while consistently engaging with consumers in a fun way. They use a lot of visuals and keep up with popular hashtags, events, and memes to troll haters and praise happy and loyal customers.

It doesn’t take the use of all of these social platforms at once to capture millennial interest. Learning how to navigate each and use them your own advantage can be just enough to help your product or company develop at the hands of this generation. Once you catch their eye, make sure to continue your strategies, but also be open to new trends and perspectives as time goes on. Brands should learn to pay much attention to the social trends of millennials, because it may just make or break your company.

Sophia Alfieri is a member of the #MillennialPrinciple team

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