In today’s social marketplace, businesses can no longer rely on traditional marketing to capture the attention of Millennial homebuyers. Millennials are digital natives, having entered their buying years during the evolution of a “participatory” economy, in which we engage in relationship with brands and professionals online with the expectation of two-way communication.
Many companies translate their traditional marketing practices to digital marketing by creating an online presence through websites and social media, but this translation is not sufficient.
Companies, and especially the individuals within those companies, must engage in communication with their customers to be successful.
Millennial consumers value less the companies they work with and more the individuals to whom they give their business. They want to know that the individual is someone they can trust and who will provide the greatest value to their purchasing process.
Millennials are skeptical of businesses and marketing, but most businesses don’t seem to know how to mitigate this issue. While many businesses are focused on their external branding and scale, Millennials rate the priority of this characteristic at 14 out of 15 given attributes measured by a recent Deloitte survey.
Not only does employee-level participation increase brand presence with a larger digital footprint than corporate strategy alone, but it also improves trust with the consumer. In the purchasing process, Millennials often research individuals online prior to interviewing them.
They will look to the individual employee’s social media presence and customer reviews - not the company’s.
Therefore, the participatory marketing approach is most successful when all customer-facing employees are participating through social media interactions, customer reviews, and mobile communication.
Many loan officers and Realtors are surprised when they find out that their potential customers are researching them online and looking at their social media profiles. Most are not equipped to be marketers and brand professionals in today’s participatory economy, and if businesses are not empowering them to be as such, the business is not prepared either.
The reality is that if your employees do not understand their customers’ communication preferences and are not utilizing social media to build a brand presence and engage with customers (or worse, they appear unprofessional online), the company is losing out on business.
Companies should provide the training and tools to empower their greatest assets, their employees, to build greater business in today’s marketplace.
Here is a list of “do’s and don’ts” that can be shared internally to provide a set of rules of engagement: (Click the link for a shareable PDF)
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