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Social Media Marketing

Marketing to Each Generation on Social Media

Who doesn’t use social media?

About 22 percent of Americans had zero social network profiles in 2016. That’s almost a complete flip compared to 2008, when only 24 percent had one.

Usage by adults of all ages has increased substantially in recent years, with 86 percent of those aged 18-29 years old having at least one social media profile.  Those 30-49 are right behind them: 80 percent are on social media. Even 34 percent of those aged 65 and older have at least one social media channel.

So a quick profile and generic message should work to grow brand awareness and recognition, right?

Maybe.

You may be able to get a quick hit and uptick in interest for a short while. Yet to see the real benefit of social media marketing, you need to understand how to reach specific audiences;  each generation tends to use social media in different ways, at different times of the day, on different channels, and at a different rate.

Take a look below for tips on how to better reach your ideal audience, whether it’s Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, or Baby Boomers.


  • Generation Z

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Generally considered to be those born after 1996, when it comes to this cohort of (now) young people, perhaps the most important thing you should remember is to ask them what they like and don’t like. In other words, start a conversation. Run contests on Instagram. Offer interactive polls on Twitter. Generation Z also wants convenience: consider, for example, using Facebook Messenger to provide customers with instant, seamless customer support.


  • Millennials

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This generation, born between approximately 1982 and 2004 (depending on who you ask) grew up with social media. Its younger members especially tend to express themselves through brands, as they believe it reflects “their style and personality.” Millennials also are friend-focused, want experiences rather than things, want to connect and share with their friends, and tend to be loyal to those who listen to and care about them.

This is why, therefore, Millennials won’t necessarily click on a Facebook ad that says “Best Cheap Colleges,” but will instead open a post that’s title links to “10 Best Affordable Colleges.”


  • Generation X

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This cohort of individuals (generally thought to have been born between 1965 and 1981) are at the peak of their careers – and spending power. Yet marketers traditionally have “ignored” them because they’re shoe-horned in between the massive millennial and boomer generations. Gen X-ers also came of age before the Internet yet were the first generation to embrace it wholeheartedly, so marketers say they need to be reached via a combination of old and new media.

Members of this generation also are looking for solid information as they juggle careers, child rearing and taking care of their parents. They also tend to work to live, rather than live to work, so don’t be shy about showing (via Instagram and Pinterest) how much fun your product or service could add to their lives.


  • Baby Boomers

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This generation (born between 1946 and 1964) were the last generation to embrace social media and they use it primarily as a means to connect with family and friends – and reconnect with old friends, “lost” pre-Internet. Facebook tends to be their favorite channel, although they use LinkedIn in as much as 18-39 year olds!

As for marketing to them on social media, your best bet may be to capture their attention via a paid ad on Facebook: 58 percent of boomers are likely to visit a company’s website after “encountering the brand on social media.”


Targeting mid-career Generation X adults interested in opening a franchise? You’re going to need a different social media marketing strategy than if you need to get Generation Z to attend your university next year.

Our Detroit-based digital marketing agency will help you craft a highly targeted marketing campaign, one that encompasses social media, content, paid ads, and more. Contact us today to learn more.

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