Generational change requires new social media marketing skills

Generational change requires new social media marketing skills

The kids are alright after all.* They simply aren’t talking to the rest of us.

Young consumers, ages 19 to 34, are cemented to the internet and social media more than ever.

Most of them really don’t think they could live without it. (1 in 10 of Gen Z users would rather wear the same pair of underwear three days in a row than go three days without refreshing their Twitter feed.) OK, we will agree that’s entirely guys, but all the surveys show that women crave their electronic fix, too.

At the same time, these masters of the small screen are getting sick of the incessant nattering and bullying on social media.

They have lost their fascination with the opinions of millions of people they don’t know. They are starting to retreat to a circle of friends they can get to know and trust.

That’s smart in many ways – and frustrating for marketers just getting the hang of communicating with younger consumers. Connecting with a coveted audience gets more difficult when you can’t put an offer in front of them whenever they scroll through the content on their phone.

If the majority of your customers are older, you can count on most of them surfing the web to find your product and to compare what you do against similar offerings.

Facebook ads will still reach some of them and your own posts on other social media channels continue to be effective.

It’s the younger potential customers who will be more difficult to find now because instead of making themselves available to the world, they are clustering with their friends and close acquaintances.

One survey said that two-thirds of consumers 30-years-old and younger are using apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate with their friends. Others are using multi-player games like Fortnite to meet and communicate. 

Most of us are not big enough to buy our way in to the feeds of Fortnite and other large networks with content and events.

That means you have to study members of your preferred audience that you find online and figure out who they are following and what how they behave.

There is still plenty of information to be found on public platforms like Reddit, for example, that you can use to form profiles.

The Harvard Business Review suggests doing granular research on the habits and preferences of consumers you want to attract:

“Get to know your audience intimately in ways that go way beyond simple demographics,” the Review wrote. “Specifically, work to understand their habits — especially how they consume content and communicate across multiple platforms — and use this to inform the channels on which you communicate with them. Think about how you can reach customers by mimicking their behavior.”

As we wrote previously about Facebook’s new algorithm, which gives more weight to posts from friends and family in the feed, original content still wins viewers. Interviews, demonstrations, give-aways, interesting photos, podcasts and videos that explain or entertain will all succeed in improving your audience.

The old days of creating an advertisement with a list of goods, or a website that gives some product background and a contact number, no longer work to attract new customers and potential customers. But even as users of social media continues to evolve, marketing to them will evolve and you will be able to reach the customers you desire.

*If you remember this song, you are not part of Gen Z.