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Let’s Get Some Likes! Strategies for Growing Your Audience Among Millennials

One of the perks of working in DC? Being able to walk to the SEIU offices for the June DMAW Lunch and Learn.

The first speaker was Millicent Gorham, PhD (Hon), MBA, FAAN, of the National Black Nurses Association. She described millennials as “young people coming of age in 2000, who are the largest, most diverse generation in America.” And she wants those millennials.

dmaw3(Dr. Millicent Gorham, National Black Nurses Association)

NBNA discovered their greatest challenge is to engage and retain millennial members under 40. They have dedicated older members, but they need to attract the future pillars of the organization.

The NBNA has data showing once they get a member to attend the conference, they don’t leave (87% retention rate). This year, 60% of their under-40 members are speakers at their conference…out of a total of 30% of members who are under 40!

What else has worked?

  • NBNA has 22 standing and ad-hoc committees, and younger members are on every one except the nominating committee
  • A Meet-and-Greet hosted by Capella University at conference
  • Emerging Leaders Forum for undergraduate students, which provides basic information about resume writing, interviewing, etc.
  • “40 and Under Forum” has speed dating with 10 seasoned nurses, so they get to move around and meet each of these leaders.
  • Career Fair. Any nurse, for free, even if they are not registered for the conference. And they get CEU for attending!

However, they need to effectively target this demographic by utilizing social media and personalized email. But they’ve started a more robust social media presence so there are great things to come in the future.

dmaw2(Jim Jacobs, PS Digital)

Jim Jacobs, VP of Digital Services for PS Digital, provided the second half of the presentation with some factoids on millennials:

  • They aren’t home much and barely use a landline
  • They spend a much larger % of income online than previous generations
  • They have an “online life” – smart phones, tablets, notebooks, web videos, photos, social, chat, etc.

If you’re trying to attract or interact with millennials, you have to think Mobile First – where you start with mobile marketing and the rest of your efforts follow:

  • Mobile video accounts for 30% of online videos played and grew 400% from 2012-2014
  • YouTube mobile users are up 80% over the previous year
  • Mobile email accounts for 60-70% of all email read

Where else should you be? Video is now king – the amount being consumed online is astronomical, either via YouTube or Facebook. They expect it to look authentic, and appreciate it even if shot on an iPhone.

Instagram is the predominant platform for sharing photos in a social dialogue, and has 300M users (bigger than Twitter!). Jim showed an example of the Rainforest Alliance, with rich images of nature but also the people who benefit from the work the org does. Tell a story. Make it personal.

78% of Snapchat’s users are older than 18 years old. You need to understand this platform if you are trying to target this demographic. UNICEF used Snapchat both to reach a younger audience and to highlight violence’s impact on children. The “story” was about women disappearing (bring back our girls) so Snapchat felt like a good fit because the stories disappear after people view them. The only drawback is the need to keep supplying content for the campaign.

Email is still essential, so make sure you’re using responsive design, location-based personalization, and subject lines that speak to your audience. Then segment and test.

Just remember, research, survey, test, test, and test again!


Ciara Durkan is the Director of Membership Marketing at the Endocrine Society. She can be reached at

#millennials #socialmedia #socialmarketing #marketingstrategy #DMAW #lunchandlearn