June 4, 2014, 4:11 PM

Millennials connect to businesses on social networks

But many of those young consumers are connecting in order to obtain discounts or freebies, a new study finds.

Lead Photo

Retailers take note: Five out of six millennials say they connect with companies such as online retailers on social networks, according to a new report by digital technology vendor SDL.

But many millennials, defined in the report as consumers ages 18 to 35, want something in exchange for connecting with brands on social networks, according to the report, which is based on an online survey of 1,800 millennial consumers worldwide conducted between January and April. For example, 62% say they connect for discounts or coupon codes and 56% do so for “free perks.” 

Millennials also use social media to discover new products. 49% of respondents say they typically discover new and interesting things online via Facebook’s news feed and 33% cite Twitter’s timeline, which is the same percentage that cites search engines and e-mail recommendations. 

The survey respondents also say they are more likely to post on a social network than they are to write an e-mail. On a typical day, millennials share six pieces of content across an array of social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. That’s more than the five pieces of content consumers share via e-mail on a typical day.

That means online retailers and other companies wanting to connect with consumers should develop robust social media strategies, such as using technology to monitor social media platforms for brand mentions and inquiries, SDL says in an accompanying report.

“Social is the channel of first choice for millennials and that will have broad implications for marketing as brands seek to build trust and relationships with this important demographic,” says Paige O'Neill, SDL’s chief marketing officer.

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