The Influence Millennials Have on Social Media

11th May

Describing Millennials as social-minded, or socially apt is very common.


Social Purpose

Social media’s used to engage with peers, favourite brands and influencers, and pass comment on daily news. But there’s a considerable portion of people assuming that this age group don’t have a clear purpose when it comes to how they use social platforms. But instead, viewing them as mindlessly scrolling through status updates for hours and hours.

Twitter and Instagram may be filled with GIFs and selfies, but do some of these actually have a social purpose? For example, by using trending hashtags as connector tools, it links them to interest-specific audiences. Does this show more intuitive thinking behind their web searches?

The infamous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge proved just how powerful this generation's influence can be, and the impact it could have in real life. Millennials were a driving force behind the success of this social campaign and even succeeded in engaging groups of people, from generations years above them. This example proved the social impact a trending hashtag could have.

What about grouping people with like-minded interests?

Online Communities

Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, are usually associated with self-expression or ‘self-interest’. But they’re also great at gathering niche communities together, and evolving into a multi-connected conversational platform. We’ve seen how vocal social communities can be and proven that they have a much higher rate of engagement.

This has given people another space to interact and talk about their experiences, the differences they have or their shared interests.

So, how does this reflect real-life groups or communities? What if someone went to an event, festival, football match, conference or art show, to then later post about the day’s events. Would other people who also attended the event be more likely to share and engage with the material?

Would you feel more compelled to post about your own experience of the event, if someone else already had? What about, rather than uploading a few photos, posting a status, for it to then get lost amongst your news feed - if there was a dedicated space for attendees to reconnect and discuss the event?

Millennials are reimagining what our idea of ‘community’ means.  They’re not constrained by location or logistics. Instead, their first experience of community was via an online platform. An older generation could see this as the exact opposite to what community means AKA no face-to-face interactions.

Digital Platforms are Evolving

"Digital communities can be accessed anywhere, anytime, so millennials never have to neglect the communities they love".

Millennials usually favour interacting with online groups or communities because it’s a social gathering of their peers. But did you know they’re more likely to engage with a brand, because they’re already used to interacting with companies in the digital space - where there’s no differentiation between people and businesses. They break down what we think of as traditional conversations, so there aren’t any barriers to communication - creating a more inclusive, free-flowing space for millennials.

This generation is attached to community and connection, and these online communities do exactly that. “They give millennials the ability to share their experiences and thoughts with family, peers and wider interest-specific audiences”.

But, how could you share an experience with someone if you can’t talk face-to-face? Would a community, based on a digital platform, mean that more people increasingly possess the ability to share their views, and connect about experiences?

Where past generations collected things, millennials collect experiences. They value their experiences and memories over material goods, and that lends itself to virtual platforms. Online, millennials aren’t dealing with physical items. They’re focused on sharing experiences through photos, videos, and personal status updates that capture their mood”.

If you think of a conference, exhibition or gig - this is a social gathering of interest-specific individuals who may not have been able to initially meet in person, usually via digital tools.

If you’re an Event Planner, engage your audience by allowing them to share photos, videos, or comment on their posts about your event. Letting users interact with each other will help to grow their connection with the event and give them more of a reason to feel valued.

Provide tools which can integrate platforms and mediums, and visualise a message's context so it can spread to wider  communities

There are even dedicated spaces are being built for individuals to gather before and after an event. The Nonprofit Technology Network create an online community portal for each of their conferences, ensuring all speakers and guests are opted in long before the event so that they can become acquainted with each other.  

Using digital tactics or approaching how you use a social platform in a different way, will help to strengthen your audience’s relationship with individuals who attended your event, and in turn, also grow the connection they have with your event.

For more ideas on social software, please visit here.

Illustration by our very own Kieran Gabriel.