As if texting, messaging, and emailing didn’t already discourage verbal communication among America’s youth. Now, with increase in popularity especially for Instagram and Snapchat, pictures are becoming the core of communication among millennials. That’s right, pictures.

Millennials are the 18-29 year olds of today’s world, and comprise 22% of America’s population. They value customization and prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than things.  They are independent, have disposable income, and celebrate their diversity. But Facebook and Twitter are becoming the social media of choice for the generation before them, while Instagram and Snapchat are gaining their favor.

For millennials, pictures are the focus of their message, and the caption simply supplements it. While Facebook still ranks the number one social media choice among millennials as a whole, the younger millennials, specifically those age 12-24, social media of choice is Instagram, placing just ahead of Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

Instagram is one of the fastest growing communication tools in history, supporting over 300 million users worldwide. So how do we market to this generation on their favorite social media outlet?

1) Be authentic. The Internet is filled with advertisements, and millennials overlook those that do not speak directly to them. For a brand on Instagram, authenticity is the key to engagement. Post images that communicate a message or an idea about your brand.

2) Show by telling. Remember back in Kindergarten when you brought something from home to Show and Tell? Instagram is similar to this, but the focus is on the showing. In other words, your image should show and tell the message you want to send. The caption should not take away from the image.

3) Give behind the scenes peeks. Nothing gives a more included, specialized feel than going behind the scenes with your brand. Special sneak peeks, teaser posts, and even funny moments will be received well by this crowd.

For millennials who value experiences over material things, what they do is more important than what they have. Instagram allows them to showcase what they experience, one picture at a time. Your brand should do the same.

In the picture at the top of this post, I was taking a picture of my cookie I was eating for breakfast. I wanted to capture and share my experience that morning. A co-worker wanted to share her experience watching me take forever to get the perfect shot. It’s all about perception. What will you share?