Millennials get much of their information online. So one good way to reach them and engage them is through social media.
Apart from posting killer content, projecting a voice that resonates with the targeted audience is crucial to standing out on social media. Millennials, the cohort still on the cusp of wealth accumulation, value authentic and transparent exchanges online, says Amy McIlwain, global industry principal for financial services at Hootsuite, in New York.
“They want to feel like you respect and understand them,” she says. “They want to know that you can relate to them.”
Whether you use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any other platforms, the online persona you shape should be an extension of yourself, not an odd-sounding version of yourself. People can detect when someone’s voice online is incongruous with their personality. “Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. If you’re more formal, let that be your online voice,” McIlwain says. “If you’re casual, just be you.”
Here are some tips for helping hone your online voice:
> Display your personality
Millennials are a captive market for robo-advisors, so it’s becoming increasingly important for financial advisors to develop their personal brand. With brand-building in mind, social media is a good place to build relationships outside the confines of a formal setting. Thoughtful posts that reveal aspects of yourself help to differentiate you from robo-advisors, McIlwain says.
Whether you’re a pro on the slopes or a gourmet in the kitchen, she says, weave insights into your hobbies or interests with nuggets of valuable information.
> Avoid jargon
Nothing is more off-putting than encountering unfamiliar terms online that take more than one read to digest. Everyone makes split-second decisions on what to open, and you lose that click if it sounds as though you’re talking down to your audience.
Give readers who want to get into the nitty-gritty details the option of diving deeper into the subject, says Richard Heft, executive director of Ext. Marketing in Toronto.
It’s possible to sound knowledgeable without appearing arrogant, McIlwain says, if you engage people in a conversation instead of establishing a one-way flow of information.
> Listen first, talk second
You can bolster your credibility and influence not by being the loudest, but through the type of content you share and your willingness to listen, McIlwain says. This means tuning in to spot the influencers within a given community, and hearing what’s driving conversations.
“It’s no different from having conversations in real life,” says McIlwain. “You don’t want to be ‘that person’ [hogging attention].”
Listening can also save you the trouble of pouring too much effort into one channel over another, says Heft. For example, millennials may not be as engaged on LinkedIn as they are on Twitter. And if you listen enough, you can uncover what hasn’t been widely discussed and start filling in those information gaps, he says.
> Make a habit of it
The only way to establish a consistent social media voice is to habitually share posts — but in reasonable doses. Heft advises working out an editorial calendar that makes sense for you, to avoid stressing out about what to post and when.
“It’s not always just volume,” he says. “You don’t have to throw me an article every hour or tweet every 10 minutes. Get them in the habit of reading your stuff. It’s key to get them into a regular habit of checking what you have to say.”
Next: Misconceptions about millennials.