May 04, 2015 | Shares:

How to Earn Millennials Trust

millennial trust

A few days ago, while browsing through my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed over 100 of my friends liked a brand I had never heard of, Tobi. I was intrigued that I had never heard of a brand which was clearly popular among my friends, so I clicked on the link to go to Tobi’s site.

I’ll have you know: I rarely, if ever, click on online advertisements. Hell, I work in online marketing – I know exactly all the targeting schemes that brands are using to try and earn my attention.

But with this, it was different. Seeing so many of my friends like a brand piqued my curiosity and led me to the brand’s site with an open mind.

I fell for social proof. This is the classic “they must all like it, so what am I missing out on?” phenomenon that presses our psychological need to be in on what everyone else is. In essence, our human need to not feel left out.

This exact scenario is typical of many Millennials like me. While other generations may not hold social signals like “likes” and “shares” in such high esteem when purchasing, Millennials sure do. Today’s shoppers trust other shoppers over brands, and for no population is this more true than Millennials

Before we start on how you can apply this to earn Millennials’ trust (and conversions), let’s go over 3 things we know about Millennials.

1. Millennials grew up in a liking economy

Millennials have been raised in a world of Facebook likes, YouTube comments, Reddit upvotes and star ratings. They’ve grown up in a world where “social” has taken on an entirely new meaning, and it’s pretty easy to see why their social trust is formed on a different basis.

You’ve probably heard it a million times: Millennials trust their friends, not brands.

When it comes to trust signals, Millennials also trust peers over brands, responding to social referrals and Facebook likes over brands’ claims.

Millennials grew up basing their purchase decisions on their peers’ digital endorsements of products and brands. They’re more likely to trust you if they see five of their friends did. Brands must learn how to use the social trust signals of the Millennial age to earn this generation’s loyalty and purchases.

2. Millennials love to share

Millennials are used to sharing their opinion about brands, products, breaking news, stupid animal memes, and pretty much anything under the sun with a simple click of a button.

We all know Millennials are connecting and sharing on social media, right? However, it starts to get interesting if you look deeper:

Millennials aren’t just sharing, they’re sharing a lot.

Millennials share on social media roughly 4 times a week, which is 3.6x more than the average. Additionally, 1/4 of Millennials are sharing, and over 1/2 of Millennials click on content shared by peers.

And more news: they aren’t sharing your brand marketing. They’re sharing cat videos their best friend liked, a link to a cool event this weekend that their friend told them about, or an interesting news article that they tag friends in in the hopes they’ll like it, too.

Do you see something similar here? When Millennials share, they’re sharing for their own interests.

So how do you take advantage of this? Learn to use social as an opportunity for content marketing for Millennials by leveraging social proof to communicate peer approval.

3. Millennials don’t trust brands

Everyone’s clamoring for a slice of the Millennial market, but few brands are actually mastering Millennial marketing.

For one, Millennials are known to be frugal shoppers, which makes earning their attention hard, and winning their conversions even harder.

Let’s get a few things straight first:

Milllennials don’t hate brands. In fact, they’ve been found to be pretty brand loyal, once you earn their love. Forbes reported 60% of Millennials say they are often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase from.

But they sure don’t like brand marketing. For Millennials, brand marketing isn’t fooling anyone. What you may think is subversive brand marketing, like product placements at the Oscars or awkward real-time marketing, is like, so obvious to Millennials. In some ways, it makes a brand look needy and pitiful.

Why are they so wary of brand marketing? First of all, they’ve grown up in a world where anything was a Google search away – when overwrought claims of curing acne or cellulite could easily be dismantled as soon as they entered a product name and clicked search. Second of all, brands have never done anything to earn their trust.

Those brands who do show authenticity – like Dove and Everlane – have shown that success among the next generations relies on honesty, not sneaky marketing.

Given this knowledge – that Millennials use social signals when deciding whether to trust brands, they are willing to participate in liking and love to create their own content, and that they don’t trust brands because they don’t trust the marketing – how can you earn Millennials’ trust?

Conclusion: Turn to Social Trust Signals

Social trust signals – like likes, shares, and retweets – are the language Millennials are communicating trust with. What are some of the benefits of using these?

  • Likes, shares, and re-tweets are bite-sized social trust signals. Rather than a customer being faced with a long testimonial to read, they simply see 78 of their friends liked the brand, make a mental note of trust, and move on.
  • Organic social sharing boosts your brand efforts. When social sites see customers are sharing your content, they boost your social ranking, increasing the social advertising you’re already investing in.   They impact the social advertising and marketing you already have in place.
  • Trust builds trust. People are more likely to believe a brand is trustworthy if other people have rated it so. Positive feedback primes customers to believe more in a brand, even before their first interaction. On social, trust is easy to spread.
Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Director of Content at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

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