Follow the Millennials: The Driving Force Behind Changes to SMB Marketing

Have you noticed a change in small and midsized business marketing? Did you feel the recent shift?

Have you noticed a change in small and midsized business marketing? Did you feel the recent shift? It turns out that there is a pivotal transformation happening around word-of-mouth marketing with both video and social media at the core. An intriguing shift in the way SMBs are marketing themselves was revealed in recent report Unlocking the Most Powerful Shift in SMB Marketing.

If you’re wondering who caused this shift, the answer is millennials–a generation with an organic understanding of social media that is taking over the workforce. In 2015, millennials became the largest share of the American workforce, according to Pew Research, increasing adoption of social media marketing and online.

What does this mean for SMBs? This shift represents an enormous opportunity.

Large corporations have historically had an almost monopolistic hold on reaching mass audiences using media and video largely because of cost, but also due to the architecture of how the traditional media industry was constructed. SMBs with some forward-looking vision have a new way to compete, eliminating many of the costs of the middleman. This lets them go directly to their consumers by embracing new tools and tactics, utilizing video to its fullest potential and engaging across channels with an authentic voice.

Here’s how this can all be achieved:

The trade has changed and so have the tools

First and foremost, this shift means that the media mix and the tools and tactics of how SMB marketers accomplish goals are quickly changing. You should consider trying them out if you haven’t already.

Millennials are leveraging their understanding of a new media mix along with new tools to reach these goals. It is important to note, however, that the goals have not changed. SMB marketers consistently focus on building brand awareness, generating new customers and maintaining loyalty with existing customers.

It wasn’t too long ago that the only way to reach a mass audience was via TV and print. In the years to come, it will be nearly impossible to reach the masses through those channels.

Marketers have to embrace a new media mix and the tools and tactics that allow businesses to leverage that mix. Many of us are not comfortable exposing our professional personas publically. I’m not advocating for blind irreverence, but if you fall into that category, consider playing around in a way feels comfortable. Try it on for size by sharing an Instagram photo or retweeting. Most important, listen to your community and learn from them.

A lot of marketers that are new to a platform–myself included–sign-up, create an account and then proclaim, “I don’t get it.” That’s the point: You don’t get it. The only way to “get it” is watching what others are doing and learning the nuances of how social media works. Each channel has slightly different rules for engagement.

Millennials are all over it, leveraging their understanding of a new media mix and new tools to reach their personal and professional goals.

Native sophistication of social media channels and the understanding of powerful refinement is what drives millennials’ success. In turn, 92 percent of those at SMBs lead with social media in their marketing strategy.

Attention, marketers: Video has left the building

Video has always been incredibly powerful. It’s the medium that feels most lifelike. You can still watch dated Kodak moment commercials and feel a whimper and a sniffle.

What has changed is that video is no longer a medium reserved for Madison Avenue. Social video is exploding in the business world: Twitter has Periscope, Amazon has Twitch, Google has YouTube and Facebook has Facebook Live. In fact, 2 million SMBs posted videos on Facebook in March alone.