Building Bridges in Cy ber space: How to Court the Millennials Eighty million strong, the Millennials—young adults born between 1980 and the early 2000s—are now the largest generation in the United States. Since this “plugged-in” group stays in touch through texting and social media, digital marketing is more crucial than ever to your club’s growth. Here are some tips to help you shine online: • Keep feeding your Facebook page. In the world of “likes,” “shares” and “tags,” one cute photo from your club’s event can take the world by storm quickly. “Photos … beget more photos, which beget still more photos,” says Professor Brett Kolles, adviser to the Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) Lions Club in Rosemount, Minn. His club of 20- and 30-somethings has 11 members, three pending and another 40 on a routing list (interested either in joining or in volunteering at events). “When a photo is ‘tagged,’ it becomes shared on the wall of each [tagged] user, thus opening up the potential of hundreds of new ‘friends’ who might be interested in joining the Lions,” Kolles said. • Younger adults prefer to pass on information about a cause rather than an organization, noted “The 2013 Millennial Impact Report,” a survey of 2,665 millennial-aged people. So showcase your causes often and creatively. For example, build pages on your website about your vision screening, clothing drive and charity bazaar. Add some photos, a brief sentence or two and a few “buttons” saying “Get More Info,” “Donate Here” and “Join Us.” Then add “sharing” buttons for social media (like Facebook and Twitter). You’re apt to show up in search results and get some shares. • Millennials like to try things out on a smaller scale before committing, the 2013 report said. So create some one-day events where guest volunteers can help (for example, handing out water at a charity race, cleaning up a playground or passing out holiday gifts to children). Send out texts and post the invitation on your website and social media (don’t forget e-Clubhouse). • Build a YouTube channel, which can generate wide interest. It’s easier than you might think. The Wisconsin Lions Foundation, Inc. has a YouTube channel devoted entirely to its summer camp for children that has amassed 8,500 video views. “Having these social media outlets is super important for allowing potential members to stay connected,” says Cecily Filtz, WLF public relations manager. “We get a ton of interaction with potential and current club members, young and old (mostly young).” • Remember to keep “pitching” traditional media, such as newspapers, TV and radio. They share stories on their social media sites, too. Bring in the Geeks Millennials are heavy users of cell phones, tablets and other portable gadgets that let them connect to the Internet. It’s how they find restaurants, get directions, shop online and keep in touch. But if your website is hard to see on a tiny cell phone, they’ll “close the window” and move on. Get a Web developer to streamline your website for smaller devices. (This is called “responsive design.”) It’s a technical issue, but an important one. Family (Still) Matters The Wall Street Journal notes that Millennials are the first generation to have tech-savvy parents; some have running conversations with their parents all day through texting or online chats. The lesson? Don’t exclude “older” members (and friends) from your digital marketing efforts. They might share those texts or Facebook posts with their children.
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