ICYMI, Gen Y have their own way of communicating and sometimes us older folk get things lost in translation. It’s a bit like that game broken telephone. The message starts off with John wanting to “turnt up” and by the time it gets through the funnel, it is John ate a turnip.
We spend a lot of time talking about millennials, those born between 1982 and 2004. South Africa alone has over 14 million millennials, for instance, making up approximately 27% of the population. They are the most active generation on social media and they are the newest generation of consumer.
One of the best practices of social media marketing is to connect with your audience using the content and tone most likely to resonate with them. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of your own voice.
But how do you get on their level, without looking amateurish? Firstly, you need to know what the jargon means. Here are a few of the most commonly used phrases:
Turnt: Drunk/high/ready to party.
Goat: Acronym for Greatest of all time
Yassss: A very enthusiastic way of saying yes
Bae: Acronym for ‘Before Anyone Else,’ meaning your partner or significant other
Belfie: A selfie of your butt
.com: A suffix used to add emphasis
Icymi: An acronym for ‘in case you missed it’
All up in my grill: Which means to be in someone’s face
Ikr: Acronym for ‘I know, right?’
Fomo: Acronym for ‘fear of missing out’
Stan: To be obsessed with someone or something
Fresh to death: Really cool or looking very fashionable.
Throw shade: To trash talk or generally hate on someone.
Smh: Acronym for ‘shaking my head’
Titf: Acronym for ‘taking it too far’
MXM: Another way of saying this makes me so mad
On fleek: On point or looking fly.
Baller: A word meaning ‘really cool’, similar to ‘pimping’
Totes appropes: Abbreviated form of totally appropriate.
Cray Cray: Crazy or wild or gangster.
Tea: another word for gossip/dirt.
Real talk: a preface way of saying that what you’re about to say is true.
Shots fired: when someone says something to or about another person.
Lit: generally meaning it’s ‘popping’ or amazing, even fantastic.
Salty: When someone’s in a bad or irritated mood.
Thirsty: When someone looks desperate for attention
LOL: Lots of laughs
YOLO: You only live once
Now that we have a better understanding of the jargon, here’s how brands can incorporate millennial slang into their marketing messaging:
- Incorporate phrases into headlines to make them more interesting
- Include millennial lingo in your hashtags to improve the visibility of your posts
- If there is a particular millennial slang word that can be used to describe a key feature of your product or is a compatible homograph (spelt the same but having different meanings), use it
- Use slang as a source for new keywords for your pay per click campaigns. Just remember to optimise
If you don’t sell to the young population, don’t act like one. The key to successful use of slang is to keep things relevant. If you choose to implement more millennial lingo into your marketing campaigns, make sure that you don’t come off as mocking them.
Incorporating more millennial lingo on your social presence is one of the best ways to gain traction with this market. Just remember not to isolate your older customers who may not appreciate the change. Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are good platforms to start.
Now that I have given you the inside story, go forth and connect with your millennials.
Charis Apelgren-Coleman is the head of digital content at Kagiso Media. She has worked with small and large local organisations as well as large multinational organisations, while managing specialist content teams.
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