I think we all can agree that we have a love/hate relationship with social media. Of course it has its perks but more often than not I find myself wishing it weren’t such a huge part of everyday life these days.

When I first started using social media, especially Instagram, it was strictly for sharing photos with my followers (OK, and sometimes competing with friends over who had the best filter and got the most likes),but now I find myself validating and researching companies before I make a purchase. It’s like a final stamp of approval before clicking the “complete order” button. Following are few scenarios that I’ve been using Instagram for lately. Perhaps this sheds some light on the different ways companies can reach millennials.

The other day, my aunt was telling me about a company that manufactures end tables and coffee tables with speakers, wireless charging capabilities and the best part — refrigerated drawers for drinks. I thought this would be a great addition to my house, so when I got home, instead of going on Google, I found myself 20 minutes into an intense search on Instagram. I searched every hashtag under the moon that would relate to this coffee table. I was hoping I could find an influencer or someone else who had purchased this table so that I could see more details.

I finally found the company and immediately looked to see how many followers it had. “OK, great,” I thought to myself, “that’s a substantial amount so it must be a worthy enough company to keep browsing.”

Why is it now that follower’s counts are creating a sense of comfort and worthiness? It seems ridiculous. It’s as if followers have become the new Yelp review. And in the back of my mind, I know those numbers could be completely skewed since you can purchase followers but still, it eased my mind about continuing to browse the company’s offerings.

The social media presence that a business has hugely influences consumers’ purchasing behavior.

A brand may have difficulty attracting and hooking millennials if it has a lackluster social media presence— even if it’s a well-known brand. We want to see that Instagram interaction.

We need to see products showcased in real-life vignettes or validated by actual users before we become followers and then buyers.

Peer endorsements carry a lot of weight with millennials. According to Hubspot data, 71% of people are more likely to purchase online if a product is recommended by others.

This is why influencers and bloggers have become a huge commodity. I follow a ton of them; that’s where I find just about everything I have purchased lately — fashion, home décor, even beauty products.

If you don’t already have the app LikeToKnowIt, you may want to jump on that bandwagon. LikeToKnowIt allows users to swipe up or simply like a photo posted by an influencer to see the source of the item. It makes finding items much easier and offers a direct link in case you want to buy it.

One influencer I have loved following lately is Copycat Chic. The creator, Reichel Broussard, says she learned to scour the internet for sales, closeouts and bargains to decorate her San Francisco area home — inexpensively. She decide to share the deals and that’s how the blog was born.

She and her contributors post daily finds that include one trending home décor piece that’s pricier and an almost identical piece that’s a much lower price.

Recently, I’ve seen great pieces featuring rattan, animal prints, jewel tones and lots of gold — all the trending styles we’ve profiled in HAT.

The lower-priced pieces are a great option for those who still want the style but may not want to splurge on the designer price tag. And sometimes, the Copycat Chic bloggers even show you how the product looks in their homes.

Millennials have embraced social media for major life decisions, big purchases and as a source for news,but we’ve also shaped how it’s being used and how it’s evolving along the way. Therefore, it’s imperative that companies understand how critical engagement is in reaching millennials, not just promotion and advertising. We want to see influencers using the goods being advertised or we want interaction from actual buyers in the comments.

So to all the brands out there, show us what you’ve got.



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