How to Reach Gen Y Online

Sections of this topic

    Meet Gen Y

    Many professional marketers find themselves with extraordinary career experience in traditional strategies and media, but a bit challenged with the task of reaching Gen Y. They’re the individuals born between 1980 and 1995 – though many references dispute these dates. There are about 80 million of them, and they’re often the children of Baby Boomers. This important demographic is also called the “Millennials”, “Echo Boomers”, “Generation Next”, and “Net Generation”, among others.

    Reaching Gen Y consumers is critically important to the growth of most businesses. Marketers must figure out how to reach them. Because Gen Y grew up with technology, they’re leagues ahead of the rest of us. Many of them simply don’t pay attention to traditional media. They’re ONLINE. But WHERE?

    Start By Listening to Gen Y

    Before actually reaching out to Gen Y, companies must first spend time listening and learning what’s important to them, how they think, and what they like (and dislike!) Gen Y is a distinctively different generation, much tuned into things like the carbon footprint and liberal political/social views.

    According to Wikipedia: “The rise of instant communication technologies made possible through the use of the internet, such as email, texting, and IM and new media used through websites like YouTube and social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, may explain the Millennials’ reputation for being somewhat peer-oriented due to easier facilitation of communication through technology.” (So, we gather that they’re a fairly insular bunch.)

    Top Gen Y Social Networks

    Facebook, of course, is the obvious leading platform. But a company committed to learning about these special individuals will greatly benefit by spending “fly-on-the-wall” time at these Gen Y-dominated social networks:

    Promises to help you build a network in 30 minutes. “Thousands of people use Brazen Careerist to build their professional network every day. Whether you’re looking for a new job, new leads, freelance work, or funding for your new business, Brazen Careerist introduces you to the people who can help you find a job or advance your career.” Watch the intro video on the Home page.

    For people in their twenties with a blog. “Today, 20 Something Bloggers has brought together thousands of bloggers from all over the world and spawned a vibrant community of like-minded, fascinating people who thrive on one another’s support and feedback. The network includes an active forum, more than 250 subgroups, and an endless stream of community events.”

    “myYearbook is the best place to meet new people. We have more than 20 million people making friends, playing games, and even falling in love. We build the most innovative social games that are all tied together by a single virtual currency called “Lunch Money.” You can earn Lunch Money playing Games, wagering in Battles, or playing Match, and you can spend Lunch Money making a real difference for your favorite Causes or by buying the best virtual gifts for that special someone. We focus on listening to what our members tell us and building the most cutting-edge social applications available anywhere.”

    “Just like we believe that caring is much more than one, 5-minute task, Cool People Care is much more than a Web site. We’re a growing lifestyle brand, helping people live a more caring lifestyle.”

    “MakeMeSustainable was created to fill the void between how we feel about our environment and what we do about it. We bring you the tools to take action. Our Carbon and Energy Portfolio Manager enables you to visualize and contextualize your individual impact. MMS’ sustainable solutions empower you to act upon your knowledge. We can help you to become a more environmentally conscious and efficient individual or business. MMS empowers you to spread the word and encourage friends, family, and co-workers to join the collective effort.”

    Your Next Steps

    So, with these resources, you can jump in, tune in, and begin to engage in a way that’s meaningful to Gen Y!

    Have you found any great places to connect with Gen Y?

    (Thanks to Dan Schawbel for the inspiration)

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman: With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant, and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @