When it comes to social media there’s not a one rule fits all, and this is most definitely the case when you look at marketing to the different generations.
Knowing and understanding your target audience is key in social media, so understanding how the millennials, Generation X, the baby boomers and even the young Generation Z use social media is essential.
As you would expect, the psychology of each of these generations differs, being born and growing up in different decades and time periods, shapes people and indeed the world. Today’s fast moving pace of life and the advances in technology that we now take for granted actually differentiates how each generation use social media.
So what are these generations doing with social media and what does their behaviour tell us about marketing to them to get better results?
Millennials (Also Known As Generation Y)
The millennials, aged around 18-29 years, are one of the most talked about generations. Whilst they may be digitally savvy having grown up with the whole social media explosion, they are also often referred to as the ‘Peter Pan’ or ‘me’ generation. Whether they have been over indulged or may need to grow up, as one of the largest of the generations, millennials now possess more purchasing power than any of the others.
As the largest number of smartphone owners also, millennials are highly social online and extremely quick to soak up new technology and emerging social media channels.
This means the best way to reach millennials is through mobile, and marketing via a multi-platform strategy using the likes of Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. Video marketing captures their attention and they are brand loyal, especially liking lifestyle brands. The recent success of Pokémon Go is a prime example of millennial behaviour, with 49% of Pokémon users aged over 25 years.
Spending more of their income on pensions and life insurance, generation X, aged 30-49 years, also use technology in the form of smartphones and tablets but this is equal to their time spent on a desktop.
Being less susceptible to adverts, generation X tend to use social media to share their viewpoint about current events and trends, as well keeping informed.
Maybe it’s having a little more life experience, but generation X want to know more about a particular product or service before purchasing. Hence, informative content and videos capture their attention, with links to a website so they can continue to research and get the full picture.
Customer reviews are favoured by gen X too and seen as an informed perspective which can be trusted. If your target audience is generation X, start building the number of reviews on your website or social media networks to attract this generation.
The Baby Boomers
Aged 50+, some more mature baby boomers can struggle with technology, hence preferring the PC or laptop over mobile devices. They are the generation which watches the most TV and the biggest percentage of newspaper readers.
With much of their income being spent on health and services, their online purchases are minimal, and they have trust issues using the internet. Having said that, baby boomers are receptive to adverts, although their main use of social media is to keep in touch with family and friends, Facebook being their social media network of choice.
Not heard of generation Z yet, don’t worry you soon will. This generation born after the millennials are growing up fast! With the oldest only just out of college, these tweens and teens will hold the next most powerful purse strings and spending power.
Facebook is still the cornerstone of social media even for these young people, with Messenger and video content helping to make it this generation’s default social platform. When it comes to keeping in touch with your BFFs or close friends, generation Z turn to Snapchat and Instagram which are used frequently every day. With functions such as Snapchat’s Snap stream counter, gen Z are encouraged to maintain daily contact with friends.
Whilst many generation Z may still be in primary school, their ownership of and access to smartphones and tablets is almost unlimited – this generation could be one of the most important to social media marketing over the next few years.
Each generation uses social media differently, there is no right or wrong way and if you recognise the who, how and why, your next social media campaign can be created to target the right audience.
Do you recognise yourself in any of the above? Let us know your views on the different generations and how they use social media in the comments below or Tweet Us.