By adaptive - October 7th, 2014

The coveted millennial group of consumers may be social media natives but this doesn’t mean corporations can take them for granted

Corporations may believe they understand the millennial group as social media obsessed, smartphone-wielding consumers that will respond to any marketing messages that are placed across the social media space. This is however, far from the truth. The so called screen generation may have grown up in a technology dominated world, but this does not mean they don’t have a clear set of values they apply especially to their social media interactions.

Indeed, a participant in research from BNY Mellon and a team of undergraduates at the University of Oxford that looked at the millennials’ attitude towards financial service providers stated: “This idea that they can form a relationship with customers over Twitter will just end in tears. It’s just a prime example of banks trying to appear friendly, close and pally, but they just want a professional relationship.”

Focusing on financial services also reveals that millennials are paying more attention to the information they are placing across the social media networks they use. According to research by Gigya, 84% of millennials are willing to share some personal data, if there is a clear benefit to them. Moreover, social login is now the preferred method of connecting with brands.

Patrick Salyer, Chief Executive of Gigya, said: “Social login gives customers control over what they share with brands while offering them convenience and saving them time. Organisations must reject the outdated – and quite frankly careless – notion of asking as many questions and collecting as much data as possible, then sorting through it later. Customers always have the right to ask, 'Why do you want to know that?' The more times they have to ask that question, the less likely you are to earn their patronage.”

Taking security, personalisation and the propensity to share across social media results in an environment that must be carefully managed by corporations. Gigya found that 67% of those surveyed ignore all future communications from a brand if they received irrelevant information.

Social login though is attractive simply because of its convenience, but consumers are still highly sensitive about how their information is being collected and shared. If your corporation is transparent in this respect, consumers – especially within the millennial group – will gravitate towards your brand.

And personal data has a value that consumers are now realising places them in the driving seat when it comes to interacting with brands. According to research from Orange, a single piece of personal data is now worth £13. The Future of Digital Trust study concluded that 80% of consumers understand their personal data has a value, and also believed that this information is more valuable to a business that has no prior relationship with them.

Simon Best, Strategy Director at Orange told The Drum: “It’s surprising that so many thought that the corporations were getting a better deal than them – the main services like search and social networks are free and yet they still feel they are getting a bad deal. That just highlights the need for more education on how and why their data is being used. There is an onus on all businesses to help improve the education of consumers on what is happening with their data, and give them the tools to help them – so they can decide if they don’t want to share those pieces of data.”

There is then a balance to be struck between consumers and the brands they covet. Consumers are tightening their grip on the personal information they will or should share with businesses. Brand owners also need to pay more attention to how they manage the personal information they may have taken for granted in the past.

The millennial group clearly leads the way here, as they have reined in their blanket use of personal information, and now prefer social login, which offers them more control. Corporations that can appreciate this change in behaviour will garner trust, which will be communicated across the social media space.

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