Millennial parents are tech-savvy, digital natives who have grown up with access to the Internet at their fingertips. Although these young adults now have a much greater responsibility than Instagramming what they had for dinner (it’s called parenthood), they still rely heavily on social networks to define their daily activities – and influence how they parent and what they purchase for their families.
According to my research, the collection of online resources – parenting websites, online forums, parenting blogs and social networks – collectively gather 71% of first and second place rankings when it comes to top parental influencers. This is a clear testimony to the wide dispersion of influencers that millennial parents are relying on to find the information they need. Gone are the days of one or two single iconic resources (i.e. the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting) that drive the expectations of parenthood. Further, a recent study by Crowdtap found that 97% of millennial moms and 93% of millennial dads find social media “somewhat” to “extremely” helpful to their parenting.
In addition to its usefulness for advice, millennial parents also find social media helpful for exchanging information on products and the overall marketplace. The no. 1 reason millennial dads use their smartphones while shopping is to check a product’s reviews, while millennial moms avidly check prices. Millennial parents are more likely to have older, non-millennial parents seek them out for advice on where to get children’s gear, and 51% of millennial parents use social media to get ideas for their kids’ clothing. In total, 85% of millennial parents use social media from their smartphones to help them shop in-store.
If brands are not reaching out to millennial parents on social, it’s clear they are missing out on a consumer segment highly valuable to business, as these parents are a 22 million-strong group of heavy users and are set to grow to more than 60 million within the next decade.
However, it’s not enough to simply have a brand presence on social media. The key to connecting with millennial parents online is by realizing the different pressures these parents face and responding to them in an understanding and transparent way.
Millennial moms aim for perfection, millennial dads aim to be present.
While many characteristics of millennial parents are applicable across the board, it’s important for brands to realize that the pressures and standards they face are different.
When it comes to gender specifically, Crowdtap identified that millennial moms are facing the thought that they must “do it all” based on what they encounter online and the multiple roles they play in today’s fast-paced society. BabyCenter reported that nearly 80% of millennial moms claim it’s important to be “the perfect mom,” a higher percentage than both gen X and boomer mothers, and 64% believe that parenting is more competitive today than it used to be.
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Separately, millennial dads are feeling the pressure to move past the traditional father figure role and take on responsibilities that were typically assumed by women in generations past. This may consist of staying at home to watch the kids – 21% of millennial dads are stay-at-home caregivers – or not being the sole breadwinner of the family in order to offer more quality time.
It is evident that both millennial moms and dads face increasing pressure regarding their parenting choices and purchase decisions. After all, they open themselves up to numerous opinions and critiques with an average of 500 Facebook friends.
Brands aiming to connect with this group must move beyond traditional shotgun messaging to a more personalized approach. As this group is highly active online, brands have an opportunity to provide resources that will help mom and dad achieve their goals and ease the friction and anxieties that come with being a parent.
Millennial parents support brands that understand how to talk to them.
Anyone who has become a parent knows that one’s identity changes after taking on the responsibility of another life. With this in mind, smart brands are promoting their recognition of shifting priorities and pressures in the social space to allow mom and dad to feel good about their parenting decisions and subsequent purchases on a personal level.
Minute Maid’s 2015 “Doin’ Good” campaign was built on the idea that parents today are typically too hard on themselves. Advertisements and social posts were designed to remind these parents just how great they are doing, highlighting the positive differences they make in their children’s lives. At the heart is a digital film featuring scenes of real parents discussing how they think they’re doing, with their views changing after reading surprising, heartfelt letters written by their children proving that they are actually doing an amazing job. Using the hashtag, #doingood, Minute Maid openly talks about the trials parents are going through and takes a stand not just for them, but also with them.
The campaign also incorporated a newly redesigned mobile-optimized website that served as a digital hub for a variety of content presented in a news feed-like layout, including parenting stories from news outlets, user-generated content, product information, videos and the brand’s blog, The Good Minute. Minute Maid now has about 1.4 million likes on Facebook, more than 55,000 mentions on Instagram and millions of views to its YouTube channel. It is considered to be one of Coca-Cola’s most successful brands, earning anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in revenue each year.
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