Getting The Story Right

With a mission to help others, social enterprises can tell more compelling stories to engage with Millennials.

digital marketing tips for small business

In an environment where there is a fierce competition for the attention of younger consumers, businesses have to become more creative in their use of digital media to reach their target audiences. However, marketers often feel unprepared to meet these challenges. This is especially so for social entrepreneurs who are less commercially oriented compared to their for-profit counterparts.

At the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Summit held on October 24th last year, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals shared their insights on how social entrepreneurs can leverage digital media to engage the youth audience and find ways to stand out in a crowded field by telling compelling and relevant stories.

Antonny Liem, CEO of advertising firm MCM Group, said that social media such as Facebook on mobile devices is the key platform to reach Millennials. "People no longer use Facebook and other social media to simply connect with others, but to influence, persuade, trade and transact."

Companies must also choose the right form of advertising to reach their desired audience. For instance, a survey conducted by MCM found that "humor, interesting stories and music are the main creative enhancers of receptivity to advertising among Gen Z".

Telling stories that resonate

Mr Lienn said that marketers must also deliver messages that are relevant to Millennials or risk being ignored. In this regard, however, social enterprises have an edge over their for-profit counterparts.

"As a social entrepreneur, you have real stories to deliver about impact you are creating compared to the commercial enterprise who is delivering stories as a marketing gimmick. Social Enterprises are doing business to support causes, solve problems, help the world – that’s a lot of good stories to tell," he said.

A key part of telling relevant stories is being able to communicate a strong vision, added Yoris Sebastian, Founder and Creative Thinker of OMG Consulting.

"If you are a social entrepreneur and your vision is not strong enough then maybe your customers and employees don’t buy into it. You need to step back and create a better vision, work on a stronger cause before you embark on social media and marketing," he said.

Social entrepreneur Peetachai Dejkraisak agreed, saying that a social enterprise must always be consistent with the vision it stands for. He is the Co-Founder of Siam Organic, which works with small-scale farmers to grow Jasberry Rice, a new variety of non-GMO whole grain rice that is dark purple in colour and high in antioxidants. The company was the Grand Prize Winner at DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia 2016.

"In our case, we always start with (the message) that 'Jasberry is the healthiest rice ever – it has three times the antioxidants of blueberries'. We don’t lead the consumer communication with the work we do with the farmers. People purchase the rice because it is delicious and the pricing is affordable," he said.

Adi Reza Nugroho CEO of food technology company Mycotech, said that social enterprises with a great story but who do not have the resources to produce great content should tap their network for assistance.

"Ask your friends to help you. Most of my early videos were made by my friends. Also involve your customers in the story – ask for their opinion. Just make it simple and understandable for your audience. No need to add any frills. Sometimes even a selfie with your product can be a story. If your product is good, people will certainly listen to you.”

Quick Tips

  1. Think mobile-first – Young consumers live out their digital lives on their mobile devices, which means you need to be there as well.
  2. Use social media to reach your audience – Social media has emerged as a key channel for brands to reach their Millennial audiences
  3. Make sure you have a strong, clearly articulated vision – Social enterprises need to have a strong vision before you embark on digital marketing
  4. Tell relevant stories that engage your audience – Marketers must deliver messages that are relevant to Millennials or risk being ignored

Read more on how to establish and run a successful social enterprise with our two-part series featuring insights from experts and practitioners at the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Summit.

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