When it comes to Millennials and Generation Z, we have a lot of presumptions. Older generations cast a wary eye their way, leaning on the many tropes and stereotypes that have become popular for understanding. This is nothing new. The previous generation has always been a bit hesitant about the next. The Cleavers of the '50s were scared to death of the free-loving children of the '60s. Then again, wasn't it the children of the 50's listening to that raucous rock and roll their parents found so offensive? That's why today we are looking at how to reach the up and comers in society, in a way that doesn't feel like mom or dad sitting down to have "the talk."
Millennials, Generation Z, and Their Financial Institutions
It's a tale as old as time, and one that's understandable. However, when it comes to your business, leaning into stereotypes about an entire audience without any real understanding can not only be dangerous, but it can lead to a major miss when it comes to opportunity. You may think you know how Millennials and Gen Zers feel about money, but are you sure? Perhaps it's less a matter of not being able to reach them and more a matter of not knowing how. That's why today we're looking at the five best ways financial institutions can meet these youngsters where they're at and gain their loyalty.
Meet Them Where They're At
The fact is that over the next few years, Millennials and Gen Zers will hold a massive chunk of the population's spending power. They're a gargantuan group, making up a whopping 40% of the population last year. The reality is that if banks want to continue booming, they've got to find a way to connect with this particular audience.
There's no better way to do just that than to meet them where they're at. And where they're at is social media. Nearly 100% of Gen Zers own a smartphone, with almost a quarter of them spending 10+ hours online each day. We'd bet our butts they aren't on their skimming the news or watching the market. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know they're spending the majority of their online time on social media—namely Facebook and Instagram.
If businesses want to connect with these audiences, they need to exist in the same spaces. And that means that every financial institution needs to have a strong social media presence.
Use Your Youth
If it sounds absolutely terrifying, or like you don't know the first place to start, might we suggest starting by picking your head up from this article and looking around. See any young people? There is your answer. You have a sample of the same population you're trying to reach right at your fingertips. And you hired them, did you not? Indeed then they are smart, intelligent employees who can be trusted with such efforts.
The best bosses and business owners are the ones who know when to delegate and when to do it themselves. This may be one for delegating. Whether you task them with creating a social media team, use them as a looking glass what young people are interested in, or lean on them for style, their potential to help you in the arena is endless. These are the generations that grew up with social media. The unwritten rules of communicating effectively through these channels are practically inscribed in their DNA. Do not let that go to waste.
Now, your super-smart new social media guides are going to tell you this, but it's worth repeating. Be human. Now isn't the time for white papers and technical speak. Social media is where people go to relate to one another and build an online connection. They can't build a relationship with a processor. And if that's what your content sounds like, you can bet you're new social media world will be a lonely one.
This goes from tone to topic. Choose to talk about real-world issues that these groups care about. Despite how wild you may think them, Millennials, in particular, are extremely risk averse. They're 15% more likely than boomers to be hoarding most of their finances in cash, and more than 80% of them are self-described as conservative when it comes to risk-taking. Not exactly shocking when you consider we're talking about the generation of children who watched the towers come down on live television and the market crash on the edge of their college careers. It's no shocker they don't trust large institutions, financial included.
One of the only ways to break through these kinds of barriers is to be relatable. Talk to them like you're speaking to a friend, no matter how strange it may feel. If you sound like a robot, you'll be treated as one. Choose topics that make them feel seen and understood, all the while establishing you as an authority on the issue. If you think you have no idea what those topics would be, we have good news for you.
You Can Ask Them What They Want to Hear
Sound crazy? It's not. In fact, it's common practice in the social media world. It shouldn't seem all too strange if the point of being on these platforms is to connect and serve. How, exactly, you wonder? Some platforms have specifically created tools you can use to ask your audience various questions directly and record the data.
Facebook lets you ask directly through status updates, while Instagram offers you options like multiple choice quizzes, polls, and open Q and As. When you see the same content, the same questions, the same interests and curiosities arising in these places, you've found your answer. These recurring trends represent your audience's general interest at large and are the perfect place to start for content creation. Take these topics back to your younger employees, and they'll know what to do with them.
Create Spaces for Them to Gather
With Millennials and Generation Z struggling to trust big institutions, it's all the more important to find ways to become a part of their circle of trust. One of the best ways you can do this is by creating spaces for them to gather. This is because the younger generations are more likely to trust their peers before investing their money.
Creating the actual space where these peers gather to discuss products helps loop you into the discussion. You could start a private Facebook group that gives members a platform to discuss issues and questions regarding your field. Perhaps you develop a robust review section of your website that lets users post feedback on your products and services. There are a variety of venues that allow you to be an active voice in the arena, quickly answering questions and directly addressing concerns your audience may express.
Are you currently working to engage Millennials and Generation Z in your business actively? Let us know what challenges you're facing in the comments below.
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