Every company wants to build a Millennial following on social media, yet few succeed. Successful businesses make interacting with their audiences look completely natural, leaving other business owners asking, "How is it so easy for them but so hard for me?"

The truth is, most of the mistakes that companies make on social media are both common and easily correctable. Understanding those mistakes is the first step toward creating a social-media strategy that actually works.

What You're Doing Wrong

Common mistakes business owners make in trying to reach Millennials through social media include:

Insensitivity. Millennials are a socially conscious and socially active generation. It's fine to poke fun at certain universal issues, but one mindless or callous post can quickly lead to trouble. This is a lesson IHOP learned the hard way after a successful campaign was derailed by one insensitive tweet.

Spokesperson Reliance. People listen to cultural icons not only because of who they are but also because of what they say. While celebrities might get a promotional message out there, a good Klout score does not necessarily lead to conversions. Fendi's ad campaign featuring Kendall Jenner failed to impress fashion fans, despite her celebrity and social engagement, because the message was not on point.

Trying Too Hard. Sometimes a tongue-in-cheek reference to Millennial slang works well, but shoehorning phrases like "FOMO" and "on fleek" into your posts out of context will only alienate your audience. For example, negative response to the PepsiMoji keyboard shows that Millennial love for emojis goes only so far.

Millennials can sense insincerity a mile away, so don't try to beat them at their own game. If it rings false for you, chances are it will for them, too.

What Actually Works

The surest way to get Millennials to look at your content is to make them laugh or get them excited. Once they get their eyes on it, make them chase you on social platforms instead of the other way around. Tease with header copy or curiosity-inspiring imagery, and don't disappoint when they engage with the call to action. If you satisfy their curiosity, you've gone a long way toward earning their loyalty.

Ensuring their satisfaction means making the content relatable. Millennials who see their personality quirks, niche interests, and common experiences reflected in content are bound to react by liking, retweeting, tagging, and sharing, spreading the influence of your content like wildfire.

Here are more methods to revamp your social-media strategy and get Millennials talking about your brand:

1. Invest in social analytics and content testing. Don't push forward with your strategy just because you have a "feel" for what Millennials love--get data to back up your campaigns. Perform dark testing on content to measure engagement while minimizing full impact, and stay up-to-date with what people are saying right now about your brand to avoid mistakes in your editorial calendar.

2. Let them be co-creators. Don't just show them--include them. Millennials appreciate personalization and the ability to actively enter the conversation. Studies show that people remember user-generated content 35 percent better than other content, and trust the information within it up to 50 percent more.

3. Give them a talking point. High follower counts mean nothing without generating conversations. Push content about topics Millennials are talking about, and build partnerships through that commonality to create advocates for your brand. Remember, you don't just want them to consume, you want them to influence their peers.

4. Serve the unexpected. Rather than throw the overused expressions of Millennials back at them, be authentic--even if that means putting a mirror to their experiences. Millennials almost demand to be inspired by brands, so give them something unusual through your experiences and content.

Remember that Millennials aren't aliens. Like any other demographic, they just want content that appeals to them. From a marketing standpoint, making that connection is up to you.

This article was co-written by Chloe Lopez, social media account manger at Gravity Media.

Published on: Feb 29, 2016