You’re proud of yourself. You looked past the stereotypes and hired a millennial. And you did what a lot of business owners do: you put your token millennial in charge of managing your business’s social media accounts.
But is the office millennial really the best person for the job? Sure, they might know how to navigate all of the platforms better than you do. After all, you don’t know what the heck a “story” is in relation to social media or why you would want to post one.
But there’s more to nailing social media than just getting familiar with the platforms. So, if you put a millennial in charge of your business’s social media just because of their age, here are five questions to ask yourself to determine if you’ve made the right choice:
- Do they know my audience? Your millennial employees may know everything there is to know about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, but do they know your audience? The only way social works for businesses is if it connects with your customers. And in order to connect, you have to know the people you’re attempting to connect with. You have to know their likes, their dislikes, their values, their pains, their wants, their needs, etc. If you go out there and start posting without considering who your audience is and what will resonate with them, you risk offending them, excluding them, or even worse, disengaging them. The moment you lose their trust or attention, you’ve failed. So make sure your social media manager intimately knows, not just the social media platforms they’ll be using, but also the audience they’ll be engaging with.
- Do they know my brand? If there’s one thing people hate about brands on social media, it’s when they’re inconsistent or do things that don’t align with who the brand is and what it stands for. When you do things that don’t make sense for your brand or you contradict yourself on social media, the results can be disastrous. Your customers will know and they will comment when you appear to take a stand for something in a post that doesn’t align with your company and its values.So before you put someone in charge of your social media just because they’re digital natives, make sure they know your brand inside and out and can effectively represent you on all channels.
- What is their grasp of CTAs (calls to action)? The point of social media is to engage with your customers and potential customers. It’s not a one-sided conversation or a way to shout at your audience. But in order to engage, build relationships, and see a return on your investment in social media, you need to have clear, concise, effective CTAs on your posts. A lot of brands nail this by asking questions or urging people to take specific actions or click the link in their bio. But all CTAs are not equal, and your social media manager needs to have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that your office millennial is nailing the CTAs — that’s not a given just because you “get” social media.
- Do they know regulations and what to avoid for legal reasons? Social media can get you into a lot of trouble if you do it wrong. You could lose customers or even be sued or fined. Each platform has its own rules and regulations, and there’s a lot to consider in terms of how to use each platform and what to say/not say. Is your millennial social media manager familiar with these rules and regulations or are you just assuming they know what to do/what not to do because they’re socially savvy? Assuming is a bad call and could put your business at risk of a lawsuit, fine, or other issue, so make sure they have a good understanding of this important aspect of social media.
- What are their intentions? At the end of the day, your social media manager should be connecting with your customers and making your brand look better. Is that the goal of the office millennial you’ve put in charge of your social? Think about it: How good will your social media manager’s decisions be if he or she is only using your business’s platform to solidify his or her place as an influencer? Hey, it’s happened. We’ve seen it. So make sure you and your social media manager are aligned in terms of the goals, purpose, and intentions behind your social media decisions and actions.
Have You Picked The Right Person For The Job?
Your office millennial may be a great fit for the social media manager role, but it’s not a given. Take the time to really consider whether or not you’ve put the right person in place or if you need to spend some time reconsidering or educating your social media manager. Being a millennial does make the social media game a little bit easier — but it’s not a guarantee for success. There’s more to that recipe!
People lose their minds trying to understand the Millennial generation — a generation that, for some reason, everyone thinks is different, not quite right. The term Millennial makes me twitch, maybe because I remember when we were just normal Gen-Y’s with bright futures. But somewhere along the way, I suppose when we started driving and getting jobs, we became Millennials, an insulting and entitled generation of special snowflakes.
Beards? Check. Hipster Haircuts? Check. Sunnies? Check. Phone/Tablet? Check, Check. I tried to find the most stereotypical picture of Millennials possible. Nailed it.
Millennials want to find meaning and purpose in their work.
Millennials want to be a part of something bigger.
Millennials want to work for people and with people who share their values.
Millennials want the hours of work they give to an employer to mean something and to make a difference in the world…
I guess that makes us weird.
The funny thing is, we thought these desires were a part of being human, not just a part of being in this generation. We get compared, boxed in, and treated like freaks because we want things that, in reality, every generation has likely wanted, but has maybe been less vocal about. It’s frustrating to say the least.
So you can imagine the joy I felt as I read this passage from Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, a book that takes place in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and was written in the 80s, before we Millennials were potty trained and able to disrupt the workforce. Check it out:
What I am trying to say — and I do not think this an unfair comment — is that we were a much more idealistic generation. Where our elders might have been concerned with whether or not an employer was titled, or otherwise, from one of the ‘old’ families, we tended to concern ourselves much more with the moral status of an employer. I do not mean by this that we were preoccupied with our employers’ private behaviour. What I mean is that we were ambitious, in a way that would have been unusual a generation before, to serve gentlemen who were, so to speak, furthering the progress of humanity…
Butlers of my father’s generation, I would say, tended to see the world in terms of a ladder — the houses of royalty, dukes, and the lords from the oldest families placed at the top, those of ‘new money’ lower down and so on, until one reached a point below which the hierarchy was determined simply by wealth — or the lack of it. Any butler with ambition simply did his best to climb as high up this ladder as possible, and by and large, the higher he went, the greater was his professional prestige…
…such thinking was quite out of step with that of the finest men emerging to the forefront of our profession. For our generation, I believe it is accurate to say, viewed the world not as a ladder, but more as a wheel…
…we were, as I say, an idealistic generation for whom the question was not simply one of how well one practised one’s skills, but to what end one did so; each of us harboured the desire to make our own small contribution to the creation of a better world, and saw that, as professionals, the surest means of doing so would be to serve the great gentlemen of our times in whose hands civilization had been entrusted.
Whoa, wait, what? Is this describing Boomers vs. Millennials? Or have other generations cared about the ends and not just the means?
Is it possible that every generation starts out wanting the very same things we weirdo Millennials want? Could it be that the grouches who think Millennials serve no purpose in this world are just jaded at the thought of being replaced in the workforce or having to do things differently because the times have changed? Could it be a jealousy that rises from the fact that this generation seems to be more comfortable vocalizing their desires than the generation before?
Here’s the reality: every generation thinks something is incredibly wrong with the next. It’s part of aging. Hell, I almost said something to the loud and obnoxious teenagers who were on their phones for the entire screening of Wonder Woman…almost. But then I remembered that I was that loud and obnoxious teenager to the generation before me.
My point is this: it’s time to stop putting people into little generational compartments and deciding who they are, simply based on when they were born. We’re all human and we all want to know that we matter, that we’re making a difference. Even the most rigid and unemotional tough guy wants these things — he may simply be less honest with himself about it than his younger neighbor.
So can we all agree to stop using the M word and start getting to know the people who are working for us and coming into the workforce personally? Can we agree to give people the opportunity to show us who they are, what they’re about, and what motivates and inspires them, without using profiles and personas to label them and box them in? Please and thank you.