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How to Use Social Media to Get Millennials to Buy From You By following these tips, you'll be sure to create a digital presence that captivates millennial consumers.

By Gabriel Shaoolian Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Elizabeth Fernandez | Getty Images

Ecommerce sales in the United States are projected to surpass $504 billion by the end of this year -- and millennials are historically a driving force in the ever-increasing growth of online shopping.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

What's better, they are currently the most valuable target demographic for modern businesses.

But, with a plethora of digital marketing tactics, remarketing campaigns, email campaigns and more inundating consumers, how can brands capitalize on this digitally inclined demographic to boost their own bottom line?

Target them on social media, of course!

Young target audiences flock to social media in droves.

A study from the Pew Research Center examined U.S. adults' use of social media. All in all, the overwhelming majority of Americans regularly use social media. In fact, a whopping 68 percent alone frequent Facebook.

However, it seems that the younger the user, the more prominent the social media use. The research found that 88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 78 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds use at least one social media channel -- which almost perfectly aligns with millennials' age group of 22 to 37.

Related: 5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Studies show that social media platforms influence ecommerce shopping experiences with millennials.

My company conducted a study that analyzed 219 millennials' ecommerce behaviors on social media platforms. We found:

  1. Thirty percent of millennials purchase products directly on Facebook.
  2. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest foster the most brand trust and help young adults find discover products they would actually use.
  3. Snapchat is irrelevant for ecommerce and branding -- only 5 percent of millennials believe it creates the most trustworthy relationship.
  4. Sixty-one percent of millennials trust a friend's endorsement the most, followed by their own experience with a brand (51 percent) and website reviews (48 percent).
  5. Thirty-one percent of respondents said social media influences their purchases. However, they complete the transaction elsewhere.

The survey's key findings show that social media marketing has a direct effect on brand visibility, awareness and conversion rates. These results also reinforce the ideas that the best platforms are those that are robust, ever-evolving and user-centric -- such as Facebook.

Here's how to integrate your ecommerce and social media marketing strategy.

The findings of millennials' social media shopping habits can be used to improve your own brand's strategy.

After all, if brands were left to guess which platforms would appeal to a younger demographic, they might find themselves going all-in on Snapchat. However, despite boasting a hefty 300 million active users, Snapchat lacks the finesse, brand discoverability factor and website traffic capabilities to truly inspire meaningful purchases or build long-term brand growth.

Therefore, businesses shouldn't leave themselves to guess which social media channels will inspire a millennial audience, but instead look at more specific insights when formulating a strategy.

Related: 10 Proven Ways to Make Millions on Social Media

Luckily, the survey's findings outline a few simple fixes that can drastically improve ecommerce conversions through social media, including:

Invest in Facebook initiatives.

Millennials audiences (and, frankly, all demographics) overwhelmingly rely on Facebook for their social media needs. Luckily, there are plenty of tactics that can improve your brand identity, customer services and even direct purchases right on the platform. Try strategies such as:

  • Organic and sponsored posts
  • Retargeting advertisements
  • Advertisements targeting a custom audience
  • A fully functional ecommerce store, embedded directly into the social platform

There are several programs to help you achieve the latter. These include WooCommerce, WP-eCommerce and Ecwid. By creating a separate Facebook shop, you can target potential consumers with ads and products that might love and make it easier for them to complete a purchase, which increases conversion rates.

Utilize user-generated content.

A younger target audience trusts real people as opposed to influencers and celebrities (although influencers do historically perform better than traditional famous people). Therefore, whenever possible, humanize your brand by including user-generated content.

Repost real people's photos on Instagram, ask for personal testimonials or even try a social media video featuring real consumers. This will foster an honest brand-to-consumer relationship that is proven to grow brands and increase revenue. Warby Parker, SoulCycle and Aerie, respectively, are all great examples of these user-generated content tactics in action.

Plus, don't forget website reviews! Make it easy for customers to leave reviews on your website -- and give them a few options for rating the product, such as star ratings, images, recommendations and paragraph descriptions. Not only will this build credibility with new customers, but it will make your returning consumers feel as though their voice is welcome and will be heard by your brand.

Related: 12 Social Media Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Build an authentic, well-branded online community.

Although integrated ecommerce shops and targeted advertisements are crucial for reaching millennials on social media platforms and transforming them into regular customers, taking the time to create a community that represents your brand will result in longevity. To achieve this:

  • Ensure you also publish non-paid social media posts.
  • Respond to comments and customer service requests.
  • Create campaigns that engage consumers.
  • Ensure your imagery and messaging.
  • Don't just promote your products -- add some informative posts and information to your social channels, too.

These strategies can still add business value by driving traffic to your website, showcasing your area of expertise or promoting your brand's core values. However, going the extra mile and incorporating these tactics will cultivate a well-rounded and comprehensive social media presence that will appear genuine to consumers and add validity to those oh-so-important ads and ecommerce promotions.

Social media and ecommerce strategies can work together to grow your business.

It's undeniable that social media marketing strategies directly influence conversions and revenue. However, it can be difficult to understand how to leverage social media platforms to ensure success.

By following the tips above, you'll be sure to create a digital presence that captivates millennial consumers. This will empower you to transforms them into life-long users of your brand for decades to come, ensuring a long line of success for your business.

Gabriel Shaoolian

Founder & CEO of Digital Silk

Gabriel Shaoolian is the CEO and founder of the creative digital agency Digital Silk. Digital Silk focuses on growing brands online and provides brand strategies, custom web design, and digital marketing to drive growth.

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