Learning from the ‘digital natives’: 5 digital marketing skills millennials can teach

Marketers are becoming technologists, and as millennials enter the job market, they bring a familiarity with new media and digital engagement, making them ideal for digital marketing roles. Still, proven success in marketing will rely on more than number of Instagram followers – there are a number of specific traits and skills many young marketers of the ‘born digital’ generation are using to stand out professionally.

Fortunately for the rest of us looking to build our fluency in the language digital marketing, there are multiple resources available for developing these kinds of skills. Online content and apps can help you build a competitive skill set. Formstack released a new infographic that highlights the skills new marketers need to succeed. If you’re looking to grow as a marketer, keep these five tips in mind:

Don’t neglect the data

Marketing is a creative field. Dreaming up campaigns, visual content, and persuasive copy are all parts of the job. But don’t let those projects crowd out the important work of being a data-minded marketer.

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Whether you’re a closet math geek or you still count on your fingers, get educated about data. Google Analytics is industry standard. Any savvy marketer should be adept at understanding and leveraging these metrics. Expand your data knowledge with applications like Zuum or litmus. Zuum provides social media data on brand comparison, content performance, and niche influencers. Litmus lets you test and track email marketing deliverability. Developing data savvy adds value to your team.

Embrace your inner socialite

You can’t avoid social media, so discard any notions of going ‘off the grid.’ In fact, 92% of marketers believe social networks are important for their business. Millennials may have an advantage here, but it’s still important to keep pushing forward. Add strategy, consistency, and depth to your social media toolkit.

Buffer, HootSuite, and TweetDeck are all popular apps for managing social media content. Develop a working knowledge of these platforms and determine which one works best for your goals. Take your Twitter engagement to the next level with an app like RiteTag. It rates hashtags so you can boost your chance of discovery by potential leads.

Become visually astute

It’s no secret visual content is well-received and super shareable. Millennials can be experts in seeing life through the Instagram filter. Bring that skill to work! Be creative in ways to leverage data as eye candy.

Even if you’re not a designer, you can hone DIY skills to create engaging images. Play with free or low cost tools like PicMonkey, Canva, or shareasimage for microcontent or basic infographics. In the market for a professional designer? Check out sites like visual.ly or 99designs. Learn what they offer and familiarize yourself with their processes.

Monitor the pulse of pop culture

Some of the most engaging content plays on current events or trends. Pay attention to the news cycle and explore ways to connect your brand. Arby’s wildly popular Pharrell tweet during the Grammys engaged over 118K users.

> See also: Unlocking the potential of your marketing cloud

Be proactive in developing your newsjacking skills. Use a tool like feedly to curate news and topics in your field. Flipboard lets you create a custom magazine of relevant content. Leverage Twitter effectively by creating lists of influencers and hashtags to follow. TrendSpottr is an app that predicts emerging content online so your brand can take part earlier. And of course, don’t forgot to watch and engage popular live events, like awards shows or the Superbowl. It’s part of your job now!

Always be a team player

No matter how digital our world becomes, teamwork is still important. Job failure is related to poor attitude or behavior 9 out of 10 times. Don’t let that be you!

Make sure to take seriously the systems your company uses to manage teams. Does everyone share work on a project management application like Basecamp? Go the extra mile to learn the tools and use them effectively.

> See also: Gartner survey reveals the digital marketing landscape in 2014

Communication skills are always valuable. Every company has a unique culture for sharing information. If conference calls are common, suggest video chatting or GoToMeeting to take communication to the next level.

Millennials are in prime position to be successful in the world of digital marketing. The most important trait is that of a lifelong learner. The tools and trends will change, but those who continue to educate and adapt will find themselves at the top of their game.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...