There is a Twitter account called Brands Saying Bae and their account description reads, “It’s cool when a corporation tweets like a teenager. It makes me want to buy the corporation’s products.” If you couldn’t tell, the account is dripping with Millennial sarcasm, mocking brands that try a little too hard to relate to our generation by overly and awkwardly using trendy slang on social media.
The account is generating buzz in the advertising world, drawing attention to brands that are trying to be trendy and current, but are actually conforming. The account’s most recent Tweet mocks Hilary Clinton’s official campaign account asking people to Tweet how their student loan debt makes them feel…in 3 emojis or less. I’ll be the first to admit, Millennial’s are a hard generation to relate to, but estimated to consist of approximately 74.3 million 18-34 years olds, brands need to figure out how to reach them.
There is a fine line for brands on social media between effectively relating to Millennials and sounding tacky. Here are my do’s and don’ts for brands who are trying to be a little trendier on social media:
If your target audience is not strictly Millennials, you should be very careful using trendy slang or references in your social media posts. If every Tweet you post references a pop culture phrase, you are likely going to alienate a large part of your audience. Even if you are trying to target Millennials, many in this demographic avoid or are unaware of current slang trends.
Know your brand – your voice and tone should remain consistent across all channels. Your brand voice encompasses the words and phrases you use to motivate others and convey consistent, purposeful messages. It also conveys your brand’s persona.
If you’re going to throw a pop culture reference or trendy slang into your social media messages, don’t be late to the game. Think of all the phrases we have used over the years that are no longer trendy: “heels on fire” was a trend in the 50s, the 1070’s hippies were “Far out!” you could hear ‘90’s kids saying “all that and a bag of chips” and “Bye, Felicia” was so 2014. These trends come and go quickly, so be aware of what’s current.
Be timely and open to real-time posts and engagement. Current events provide great opportunities for engaging with your followers–sporting events, awards shows, long-awaited TV series debuts or any other event that happens in real-time. Be conscientious of negative events, such as natural disasters, by toning down pre-scheduled content and avoiding insensitive material.
If you are unfamiliar with a pop culture reference or what a current slang phrase means, don’t post content relating to it without familiarizing yourself with it. Research slang to make sure you are not posting inappropriate or offensive content that will shed a bad light on your brand. Find someone who is an expert on a pop culture reference to proofread social media messages or simply go for a broader approach when referencing certain events.
Interact with your consumers and followers online, responding promptly and in the tone of the brand. Millennials love online engagement and interactions. If you are engaging with followers in real-time, you are going to build relationships and create a positive buzz.
Trends come and go quickly, and while you want to be relate-able to the Millennial generation, it’s easy to come across as tacky if not executed correctly. We can help you create content that is relevant but also represents your brand voice – give us a call!