Deep Dive Breakout 3

Thursday, August 3, 2017

11:30am –12:30pm

Shana Glickfield (Beekeeper Group), Kimberly Jones (Council for Opportunity in Education), Erica Hurtt (Center for Audit Quality), and Joe Franco (American Diabetes Association)

The millennials are coming, the millennials are coming! Yes, it’s true, our programs need to change to accommodate this rising generation. But we also need to consider the unique ways other generations consume the advocacy content we produce.

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Fast Facts about Millennials

  • 44% of Millennials are non-white
  • Most are in pursuit of happiness
  • Visual aesthetic matters to them more than ever
  • They spend 30+ hours per month on social apps
  • 55% have posted a selfie on social media

Why do we feel the need to constantly pivot communication to Millenials?

  • A lot of people are tired of Millennials, but we can agree that generation cohorts do matter—even Millennials.
  • From technology to historical events, generation cohort groups view the world around them differently.
  • Youth build new movements and can spur social change.
  • Millennials have been the perceived Golden Goose due to their numbers – but are they taking action? Sometimes this question is unclear because of Millennials’ limited attention spans.

Should we even be targeting by generation?

  • It is a better use of time to identify what cross-generations have in common—for example, what do Baby Boomers have in common with Millennials?
  • When crafting an advocacy strategy, it is helpful to identify where multiple generations are coming together. For example, Facebook—Millennials spend a lot of time here, but so do other generations!
  • Remember you can’t “boil the ocean” – we are all working with limited resources, so seek out which platforms help you get the best bang for your buck.
  • Most generations have commonalities they demand in their content: transparency, authenticity, clear voice, and sense of connection.

Millennial Communication Tricks

  • Make it an easy ask (simple call to action)
  • Create content that is informative and FUN
  • Leverage grassroots campaigns
  • Be approachable and inclusive
  • Be authentic—Millennials know when you are disingenuous.
  • Speak their language (Emoji’s, GIFs….etc.)

Why Target Communications?

  • Study your advocates! Learn how they consume data—Once you understand your audience, you can tailor content and messaging accordingly.
  • Communicate to your audience on the platform of their choice. Go where they are!
  • Go for the biggest bang for your buck—no need to be on platforms where your audience is not active—it is a waste of time, energy, and money.

Who is the generation after Millenials, and what do they want?

  • Gen Z is the next generation after Millennials. We communicate differently to them, then other generations.
  • Fast Facts about Gen Z: Digital natives, Expect to work with robots in the future, Understand that their profession may not have been invented yet, Exceptionally diverse groups compared to previous generations, and Hungry for information

How do unique generations consume advocacy content differently?

  • There are similarities between how generations are consuming content on social media
  • The old rule “get your point across in 300 words or less” holds true across all generations
  • Facebook is still the king for everyone
  • Cross-posting content is key to reaching a max audience

What Forums Work?

  • Data shows that generations consume information differently
  • 45+ looking for deeper dives into subject matters
  • 30-45 is a mix between social and traditional media—more likely to read online but conduct more research later
  • 30 and below is ALL digital! The quicker the better and details don’t really matter.

What channels speak best to each generation?

  • Millennials are here to stay.
  • We need to be cognizant of them and understand that they view social media differently than older generations.
  • When crafting advocacy strategies think about your content and think about your purpose – NOT all channels are appropriate!
  • Remember: You run the risk of offending people if you are posting content on a channel that it is not appropriate.

Leveraging Social Media for Advocacy

  • Redundancies are OK! Again, cross-posting on channels helps spread your message, casting a wider net to share your messages.
  • It is OK to post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter…etc.
  • “Life-streaming” is normal to Millennials and Gen Z – this is why we see the rise of “live streaming” recently.

But What works?

  • Traditional media such as op-eds and letters to the editor cater to more senior advocates.
  • Mainstream social media (Facebook, Twitter…etc.) are best to target post-college adults
  • “Too Long- Don’t Read” “TL:DR”- this is real! Millennials want quick information and fast!
  • Once you are trusted, you are always trusted.
  • In the digital space – it is OK to fail, but fail fast and move on quickly.

How do you conduct change management within your organization?

  • Problems are now that Boards are getting younger (like Millennials), but those in leadership positions are still Baby Boomers. Trying to reconcile this difference is an ongoing discussion; however, these situations are “teachable” moments for all parties involved.
  • There is also pressure to DO MORE—which is not always possible. For example, Boards directing staff to make a campaign “go viral.” Older generations sometimes assume social platforms are identical, which is not the case.
  • Again, education is key. Having a well thought-out plan is a tool you can use to educate your bosses and Boards—showcasing your tactics and reporting back on the success. The “fail fast” concept also works here too. If something doesn’t work for you, pivot!

Can you explain how Millennials suffer from “loneliness of connection”?

  • Excessive Internet (among Millennials) often increases feelings of loneliness because it disconnects them from the real world. They want to feel like they are part of the community – so try to think about ways they can self-identify.
  • For example, Millennials no longer want to do a “walk” fundraiser event, but they want to do more creative, engaging activities. You have to rethink your strategies—authenticity works here.

How do you communicate to your different audiences that span generations?

  • Segmenting is very helpful and yes, you should tailor your content to reach those audiences.
  • For example, use funnier language, GIFs, emoji’s for Gen Z—let them know you get them! Also, given authenticity is still key among all generations, calling people still works.

How do you measure success in the advocacy space?

  • It is hard. Boards keep asking for metrics, but it is challenging to track people long-term. You have to be creative.
  • Specifically for social media, we can isolate when we send messages to a specific demographic then tell how long they spend on a web page. This tells us the content is resonating with them; however, long-term results are harder to measure. Surveys can also be used to measure success.

If you cannot afford to segment your audiences, what are other tools you can use?

  • Emailing a survey for free is a starting point. There are a lot of free platforms. Contests can also help with survey completion—even for a $5 gift card. A/B testing can help too. You can identify who is responding best to which messaging.

Why do you exclude specific audiences who are not politically aligned with your messages?

  • You have to be careful not to have folks unsubscribe because they have a different political opinion than your organization—sometimes it is not worth burning bridges.
  • You have to be nimble these days, as it relates to bi-partisanship. Pick and choose your battles.
  • You cannot continue to beat up on political influencers, as it is oven the case you’ll have to work with them again in the future.

Given we are shifting to more visual messaging, how are you staffing your teams?

  • Employing a graphic designer was very helpful. If you have a last minute request for a jazzy infographic or PPT, you need someone to help you quickly.
  • Design is now part of all communications messages—it is no longer secondary.
  • If you are unable to hire an in-house designer, there are inexpensive/free tools you can use online.