Millennials as Social Influencers: DO Talk to Strangers
Despite the instruction of their parents, today’s youngsters have discovered that talking to strangers may not be a bad idea. Now in their mid-teens to mid-30s, millennials have grown into adult consumers and discovered that the most valuable information about products and services comes from the very people they were warned about—strangers.
Millennials shop for cars differently than any other generation. They make up the largest generation in the United States and have an estimated purchasing power of $1.68 trillion, higher than any other generation. Effectively marketing to today’s youngest consumers means understanding how they research, who they trust, and how to make them trust your dealership. Soon your dealership will depend on them.
Because they were raised during the birth of social media, they are constantly connected to their friends, acquaintances, and even to strangers. Out of the millennial generation, about 80% use Facebook, 49% use YouTube, 18% use Twitter, and 25% use Google+. They are more likely to share both positive and negative car-buying experiences with brands via social channels rather than complaining directly to the dealership, which makes it even more imperative that your dealership be in tune with this generation via social media. Curious about what others are doing, buying, and enjoying, 84% of millennials report that user-generated content (UGC) from strangers has influence on what they buy. Only 3% of millennials say UGC has no influence on their purchase decisions.
This new way of learning about products and services is the reason 71% of millennials share opinions about products and services online. With so much of their time and energy going into research before car buying, they know their opinions will be an influence on others’ purchase decisions.
In addition, 64% of millennials feel companies should offer more ways for them to share their opinions online. Believing this fosters an environment for authentic content, 62% of millennials say they are more likely to purchase a product if the brand asks for their opinion. They view companies that include customer feedback on their websites as honest and credible sources, and the majority also say they feel more loyal to brands that take the time to ask their opinions.
Distrust in the Market
About 51% of millennials say they are influenced more by user-generated content produced and posted by strangers, compared with recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. This feeling of trust toward strangers’ opinions is attributed to the fact that 65% of millennials believe user-generated content offers a more honest and genuine product or service review. 86% believe the content from these posts is a good indicator of brand quality, service, or products because strangers don’t have a reason to misrepresent the products or services they review.
The majority of millennials do not trust businesses. 71% of millennials say companies care about customer opinions simply because they impact how other consumers will view the brand, rather than truly caring what their customers think. Only 1% of millennials said a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more.
Win Millennials Over
Winning over millennials takes a new approach to selling, and it starts with access to authentic information. Millennials value authenticity more than content itself when consuming news. As a result, they rely on new ways to consume media, with fewer than 3% ranking television news, magazines, and books as decision-making influencers. They have been exposed to a variety of information, facts, and opinions from an early age, and with ease of access to information comes the ability to spot inauthentic advertisements and edited reviews fairly quickly, which is why truthful and transparent advertising is a must. By providing straightforward advertising that speaks to millennials in an authentic way, your dealership will be on the road to winning with this generation.
Dealerships can also implement a forum on their website where customers can freely discuss and share opinions about products and services. This is an indication that a dealership is confident in the products and services offered and is not worried about the possibility of a disgruntled customer posting a bad review. It creates opportunities for consumer opinions to be voiced but also for concerns or bad experiences to be promptly addressed by the dealership. Seeing how customers view your product, services, and dealership experience is a perfect opportunity to prove to millennials, and all other demographics, that your business is one that cares about the consumer.
When it comes to creating a lasting relationship with your consumers, being a brand people can trust is imperative to your success. Establishing trust with millennials means creating an amazing product, offering stellar service, and fostering authentic consumer discussions. Doing all of these things will lead to satisfied millennial customers and a plethora of positive user-generated content for your dealership.