17 Pivot Points for Social Media Marketing Success

Generation Y is an important audience for marketers and not just because of their buying power. As the first "always-on" generation, they are dictating the evolving protocols of social media. More than ever, we need to learn from the youngest participants in our society.

Generation Y is an important audience for marketers and not just because of their buying power. As the first “always-on” generation, they dictate the evolving protocols of social media. More than ever, we need to learn from the youngest participants in our society.

The jam-packed agenda of Pivot delivered the context and understanding to enable marketers to map a strategy of successful social media engagement with the Millennials of Generation Y – and other generations, too. You can view videos of the full conference, but don’t click off until you’ve checked out my selected takeaways that follow.

#1 – “Millennials are different and they’re not me.”

Carol Phillips of Brand Amplitude was one of several speakers to characterize Millennials and I her website is a treasure trove of resources on the subject. Millennials evaluate others not by what they say, but who they are and whether their actions are worthy of relaying via post, tweet, status update, etc. Marketers need to align their brand culture with those of Generation Y to build trust without disingenuously attempting to be “one of them.”

#2 – “Millennials really want to take ownership in their brand relationships.”

Matt Cheuvront of Proof spoke of the “independent band syndrome.” Millennials want to be the first at their shows before the band makes it, being the influencers among their peers. The same applies to brands.

#3 – “Technology is Generation Y’s third hand and second brain.”

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow addressed Generation Y’s unique psychological code formed by growing up in a child-centric, self-esteem building, youth-focused world. Technology alters their cognitive functioning, impacts their relationships and elevates the importance of innovation. Among the plethora of insights she presented were five keys to connecting with Millennials that can just as well apply to all social media participants:

Be involved with them – talk with, not just to
Make it snappy – respond quickly and refresh often
Technovate – appeal to the belief in the power of “new”
Make it visual, contextual, active and intuitive – make reading optional
Ramp up the emotional intensity – use humor, irony, drama, fantasy, games

#4 – “Thumb contact more than eye contact.”

Here are a few tips from among the many offered by Scott Wilder on marketing to Generation Y:

Turn ons – Show respect, trusted relationship, peer-to-peer interaction, communicate on their own terms, incorporate “local”, authentic manner
Turn offs – Hype or promotion, email blasts, push marketing, Facebook spam, trying hard to be hip

#5 – “Bullshit-free branding has always been important; Now it’s important and urgent. You can’t fool any of the people any of the time – except yourself.”

The SNIFF test for bullshit-free branding from Operative Words‘ Anthony Shore goes beyond the idiosyncrasies of the Millennials to address the changing sensibilities of the American consumer. (Check out his blog on brand naming.) Branding should be:

Self-aware – Your brand should not try to be more or less than what it is
Natural – Writing, ideas, brand names not contrived
Integrity – True to itself and customers
Forthright – Straightforward, revealing, sincere, specific
Factual – Claims are true, verifiable and evident; endorsements are earned, not purchased

#6 – “The Mesh is a fundamental shift in our relationship with stuff.”

According to Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh, we’re moving from an aspiration that was once all about ownership to one where access to goods and services trumps ownership. We are starting to orient ourselves all around better things – things that are better designed and easily shared. After hearing her speak of The Mesh at the intersection of the social web, mobile web and physical goods, along with introducing me to the word “tryvertising,” I went out and got the book.

#7 – “People who came in via social media engaged with the product and actually used the product four times as much as those who came in through other means.”

This is one of the research findings that motivated the heavy use of social media by Bing to promote the second version of the product. Stefan Weitz said that one of the lessons learned from the campaign was that, “You don’t know anything and those who tell you they do are lying and taking your money. This is one of the most beautiful examples of chaos theory on the planet. With social media, you can not predict the outcome.”

#8 – “Curation, not content, is king – and it’s human, not algorithm”

Steven Rosenbaum of Magnify.net spoke of the curation process. In a “noisy” world of too much information, we tweet what we feel is important to our followers. He proposed a “curation equation” consisting of:

Collecting – The good stuff you gather, organize and filter
Contributing – Content from your visitors, friends, followers
Creating – Your unique content

And the quotes that speak for themselves:

#9 – Technology changes, humans don’t. – Deb Schultz, Altimeter Group

#10 – Social media exists to help people exchange value directly with one another. The better your company can do this, the better they can represent the things that social media stands for. Let the people who care speak and the marketing part will take care of itself. – Douglas Rushkoff

#11 – A zoomer is a boomer who is afraid to get old and sympathizes with the Millennial generation. Boomers actually share very similar values to millennials. What separates them is the technology, the fact that it’s immediate, instant. – Maria Giudice, Hot Studio

#12 – Trying to be hip is bad, being hip is good. – Chris Shipley, Guidewire Group

#13 – Respond to everyone. Treat everybody like they’re the New York Times. 20% of our traffic comes from sources that send less than ten visitors a month to our site… Those visitors are three times as likely to sign up for something. – Patrick Ambron, Brand-Yourself

#14 – It’s not about privacy. It’s about transparency, disclosure and control. Because I don’t know what privacy is. And you as marketers don’t know what privacy means to each of the individuals you market to… What you can do is disclose your own practices, you can make them intelligible and you can give your users control. – Esther Dyson, EDventure

#15 – Just when everyone is getting to understand that “clicks” don’t matter, we’re getting into the tyranny of the “like.” – Russ Fradin, influentials.net

#16 – Go beyond measuring sentiment to observing behavior. – Peter Merholz, Adaptive Path

#17 – Keep trying new things. We are still in the phase where people are going to make mistakes. Mistakes are good. It gives you the chance to grovel to your customers and say, “We are so sorry.” And your customers will say, “I love them. They’re human!” – Henry Blodget, The Business Insider

The graphic is The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3