Is the Channel Finally Coming Around to Social Media and the Millennial?

Angela LeavittBy Angela Leavitt

The answer is a definite … maybe.

Up until recently, it seemed the relationship between the channel and social media had been strained at best. When brought up in marketing-strategy discussions, I used to encounter smug resistance as if to say, “Awww, social media! Isn’t that cute?”

Not anymore. Red-headed stepchild status for social media in the channel appears to be a thing of the past. Suddenly, it seems, the channel “gets it.”

If you’re still someone who still thinks, “I don’t need social media; I don’t care what people are eating for lunch,” I’d like to politely invite you to leave 2007 behind and join us in 2016. Social media and its applications for the channel have evolved.

Q. Why has the attitude toward social media evolved?
A. The aging Millennial.

A Different Decision Maker

Consider this: Not all millennials are 25 years old anymore. The older millennials are quickly approaching 40, and that means many are entering significant positions of leadership.

And what do we know about these young people?

  • They are the largest generation in U.S. and world history. (Source: Forbes)
  • They grew up with technology.
  • They want a self-directed buying process. 
  • They consume content, and a LOT of it, at their own paces.
  • They are extremely active on social media and ASK their social networks for input.
  • They will spend $200 billion in 2017 and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. (Source: Forbes)

This generation is only going to get more connected and more powerful over time. It’s predicted that by 2020, millennials will make up half of the workforce. HALF! Smart companies are finally paying attention and meeting the millennials where they are most at home — online and, in particular, on social-media platforms.

Playing Catch-up

While many large companies within the channel finally realize the value of social media, they are simultaneously panicking over their lag in building engaged online audiences. Like 60-somethings who realize they haven’t planned for retirement, reality has set in that time is passing quickly.

Case in point: I recently attended a marketing summit that included several of the large master agents and leading cable providers. I was shocked at the frequency with which social media was brought up as a main priority. Over and over again, the conversations returned to social and how crucial it is for communicating with partners — now and especially in the future.

The tide has turned. Have you and your company?

The Good News

It isn’t too late. While other brands may be ahead of you in the race for millennial mindshare, an effective strategy and engaging content will go a long way. There are opportunities for growth on social, and those opportunities are only going to increase as more millennials move into positions of leadership.

It’s time to embrace reality. Social media is no longer about broadcasting your lunch selection. It’s about communicating with your audience in a meaningful way. To ignore social media is to ignore half of your potential partners.

Don’t be that company. Start small if you must, but start. Your future partners, leaders and revenue will thank you.

Angela Leavitt is the CEO of Mojo Marketing. Follow her on Twitter.

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