By Barbara Jolie

Over the past three decades, small businesses have focused on attracting the business of the Baby Boomer Generation. Yes, it’s true that this dominant generation has affected many of the key decisions made by small businesses and corporations alike, but things are on the verge of changing. In just a few years, Gen Y is projected to replace the Baby Boomer Generation as the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce population. As you can imagine, evolution inevitably follows closely behind.

Throughout the eighties, nineties, and 2000s, companies have stuck with traditional, old-school methods when it comes to marketing and advertising. To meet the needs of Gen Y customers, however, these companies will have to start shaking things up, since Gen Y’s needs and wants are vastly different from that of the Baby Boomer Generation’s. For those of you who are trying to gather up more Gen Y customers, it is crucial to start cultivating a social media presence for your business. Here are three tips on how to utilize social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to attract more Gen Y customers.

Encourage Customer Feedback and Questions
Gen Y customers like to feel a connection to the companies they do business with. They never want to feel as if they are being overlooked or are just one of many customers. In order to engage all your Gen Y customers, you should encourage them to ask questions and leave feedback on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Whenever you receive a comment from one of your Gen Y customers, make sure respond to it quickly and efficiently. Also, if you receive customer complaint through one of your accounts, contact the customer quickly and directly to resolve the situation. By making it a priority to stay positively engaged with your customers, they’ll be more likely to trust your business and services.

Host Promotional Events
Some of the most successful businesses and companies host promotions and giveaways directly through social media. Most of these events are intended to boost Facebook fans and Twitter followers, but the gesture also manages to get customers more excited about a particular business. Every once in a while, try and brainstorm a giveaway, sale, or milestone you can promote or celebrate through Facebook and Twitter in order to increase your customer engagement. For instance, let’s say you have 990 fans on Facebook and want to increase that number to 1,000. You could post a message saying, “When we reach 1,000 fans, we’ll send a dozen cookies to the person who best sums up why they do business with us.” It doesn’t have to be extravagant; it just needs to get the job done.

Focusing on Informing, Not Advertising
Gen Y customers can sense phony or cheesy behavior. Furthermore, the last place they want to see this sort of behavior is on Facebook or Twitter. Remember, the purpose of creating a social media presence for your business is to cultivate customer engagement, not to seek out free advertisement. Therefore, you should never post a status or send out a tweet that says something like, “We have the best customer service in the industry!” First of all, that statement isn’t true. Second of all, you’re not providing your customers with any relevant, vital information that’s useful for them to know. If your status or tweet doesn’t serve a true purpose other than free advertising, don’t post it. You’ll only annoy Gen Y customers.

Social media is crucial to use if you intend to grow your Gen Y customer base. Yet it’s important to know the etiquette required in using this evolving, growing platform. Whenever you create a social media presence for your business, make sure to focus on engaging with your customers, hosting promotions and giveaways, and informing, not advertising.

About the Author
Barbara Jolie is a full time writer for www.onlineclasses.org. She is passionate about all things education and wishes to share her knowledge on online classes with her blogging community. For questions or comments email her at moc.liamgnull@678eiloj.arabrab.

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