Catching up with the next generation and “advertising” your brand to them requires fantastic stamina. From the late baby boomers to Gen-X and now Gen-Y, the next generation is blurred by overwhelming suggestions of terminology to describe the next generation in a boxed up category. In this digital and social media era, Gen-C may be the next most appropriate description to be carved into this rising generation. The letter “C” for “Connected”. Or GenSM, “SM” for “Social Media”. Call them whatever you like, the naked truth is that this fast growing generation stops for nothing and is highly connected to the web. It is in their second nature to receive information on the go and to plunge themselves into a world of fast paced connectivity and communication. Let us not fight to retain the next generation to an age old formula, but rather embrace and try to understand them, especially brands and companies that are trying so hard to reach their consumers in this social media generation.

TOP 5 WORDS TO UNDERSTAND & REMEMBER WHEN ENGAGING THE SOCIAL MEDIA GENERATION

#1: FAST

NOW! That’s what consumers urge for today. They don’t realize how amazing unseen transmissions get transferred by bouncing off a satellite thousands of miles away before returning to their device. That’s a menial activity, almost obsolete to them. The generation now requires speed-of-light information on the go. One may argue that it promotes impatience but t consumers, it’s viewed as efficiency. We can argue our points, but that one word, “FAST”, is only getting faster with the advancement of technology which leads to higher expectations. We need to understand the changing expectations of the social media generation and meet their needs with the appropriate social media tools to keep up with speed.

 #2:CHANGE

Change is the only constant. What an oxymoron statement that carries much truth. Due to the speed of information we receive from the web and especially social media, we tend to get bored very easily, always seeking for newer and fresher things. To target your next generation of consumers, you have to be as adventurous and daring as they are – Exploring out of the box, keeping a distance from conventional and producing fresh content and ideas on the fly.  

 #3:INVOLVE

There are 6 types of social media users but we will not go into detail for now. All of them have one thing in common, they want to be involved. Whether it be actively involved or passively involved. They all want to be included at some point and to be heard. Creating an avenue for the social media generation to participate holds much growth potential for brands and companies. Allow decisions to be shared among your fans/customers. Allow your target audience to be involved.  

#4:CONVERSATION

It is stereotype to think that the social media generation is silent and anti-social. Take a pip into their social networking world and you will find that they are far from being silent. Conversations do not only happen face to face in this age. This new generation converse profusely on social networking sites. Gone were the days where brand marketing was a one way communication. Consumers now want to have a conversation with the brand and have a 2 way conversation. Talk to them, listen to them and create a conversation instead of shoving information down their throats.  

#5:BELONG

Meeting the need for a sense of belonging from friends, family and the society will always be a carnal and an emotional desire. These people that build a community are slowly duplicating themselves on social networks. The social media generation tends to gravitate online for acceptance and a place where they can belong. Brands and companies that try so hard to build a rest stop out of their social media presence would not make the cut. We need to think community. Build a community that embodies a warmth and gentle place for all to feel they are wanted.

What do you think of the next generation? The Gen-Social Media. We would love to hear your thoughts!