Want to win hearts across all ages with your social media? Let’s unpack the art of making social media content that speaks to multiple generations — from Gen Z to Baby Boomers!
Different generations have unique needs and preferences when it comes to interactions with marketers. This can make matters relatively simple if your business is only targeting a single generation.
However, to widen your potential consumer base and achieve sustainable growth, it is likely that you’ll need to pitch your products or services to multiple generations.
This can certainly be a challenging prospect. Creating a separate strategy for each generation could be both complex and costly. Therefore, it’s vital to consider what tools are at your company’s disposal to reach a range of demographics in a relatively manageable way.
The good news is that social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and others continue to be invaluable in this regard. But how can we tap onto these channels for audiences of different ages?
In this article, we’ll dive deep into creating social media content to reach multiple generations of consumers.
Benefits of Social Media for Generational Marketing
Traditional and digital advertising utilize different channels and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Certainly, television and print techniques can be effective for location-specific campaigns. Not to mention that some consumers have a long-standing relationship with their TVs, radios, newspapers and magazines.
However, digital channels like social media can have a greater impact if you need to reach wider groups of audiences — like those across generational demographics.
Marketing to multiple generations can be a challenging task, as each generation has unique needs, preferences, and behavior patterns. However, all generations utilize some form of social media. This means you can bridge this gap by utilizing platforms that most effectively connect with their target audiences.
Different Social Media Channels for Different Demographics and Interests
To do so, consider the most prevalent audience groups in each social network.
For instance, Facebook is an excellent platform to market to baby boomers and Gen Xers. Instagram or TikTok, on the other hand, continue to be popular among millennials and Gen Zers, who prefer visual content and short-form videos.
YouTube cuts across virtually all demographics, with a greater skew towards the younger generations, while LinkedIn works better for a professional audience. As for Twitter, there are audiences of different generations, but they’ll usually keen on trending topics related to news, politics, sports, pop and celebrity culture.
The good thing about social media channels is that you can design your content to meet the content formats of multiple platforms, reaching various generations in a cost-effective way.
Perhaps most importantly, social media provides your company with almost instant data that is less accessible with traditional marketing. Platforms track user engagement for each post, which offers insights about each generational demographic’s interactions with the content. This allows your company to make more agile adjustments in real time that may impact your success.
Leverage Relevant Trends
Simply posting on social media isn’t necessarily likely to result in successful connections with multiple generations. As a marketer, you need to be intentional in your approach, developing tactics that are designed to reach your target generations. This should include leveraging relevant trends that resonate with each age group.
Begin by conducting research to understand the interests and preferences of different generations. This can be related to trending subject matters. For instance, millennials tend to lean toward trends that highlight innovation, either in lifestyle elements or technologies.
Alternatively, you can focus on trends that relate to how the platforms are being used. A good example here are Gen Zers’ preference for live-streaming services and consumer gaming content (Twitch anyone?).
By working with industry data, and consumer analytics, you can understand these preferences better, allowing you to create content that caters to the needs of each generation and platform.
Tap Cultural References
It’s also worth considering how you can leverage trends by tapping into popular cultural references that resonate across multiple generations.
A good example of this is the resurgence of 1980s and 1990s nostalgia. Content exploring the fashions, movies, and music of these eras is increasingly popular among younger generations who are just discovering and adopting them.
Older generations may also appreciate references to events and visuals of their formative years — thus, share content related to this. By incorporating such cultural references into social media content, you can appeal to multiple age groups with a single post, increasing your impact.
Focus on Community Content
It’s important to recognize that different generations aren’t always necessarily divided on their needs, interests, and priorities. Rather, one of the key features of the digital landscape is the prevalence of interest groups that encompass people from a wide variety of ages. You can, therefore, more effectively market to multiple generations by strategizing campaigns with content that is focused on communities.
Creating community-focused content involves making materials that are valuable to people who share specific interests or demographic elements. Examples of these niches include where they live, their cultural backgrounds, and pop-cultural fandoms, among others.
This is a particularly powerful approach as it demonstrates to audiences that you don’t just view them as an age bracket or other faceless metric. Rather, you recognize what’s important to them and are keen to meaningfully engage with them through this.
There are various approaches you can take to this on social media. Firstly, you can utilize user-generated content. This involves inviting community members or their influencers to create materials that resonate with their peers. A key advantage of this is that multiple generations may have greater trust in the content/marketing materials produced by a 3rd party.
You could also create educational content in communities’ specific areas of interest. This may include instructional videos that show how the products you’re promoting can be more practically or effectively used to meet their needs. This approach can not only be impactful to multiple generations but can also establish your business as an authority in subjects that matter to your audience.
Social media offers several benefits that can help businesses to effectively market to multiple generations. By leveraging the unique features of various social media platforms marketers can tailor their strategies to each generation’s unique needs and preferences. Tapping into relevant trends and creating community-focused content further empowers your company to appeal to a wide range of audiences with shared interests.
It’s important to recognize, though, that marketing with social media tends to have the most impact when there are meaningful interactions between brands and audiences. Alongside creating content, you need to also be cognizant of the preferences each generation has for the types of discussions they have with brands in the comments section of posts.
Get to know these and lean into them accordingly. With the right approach and tools, your company can successfully navigate the complex landscape of marketing to multiple generations in the digital age.
BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest in the United States. She enjoys writing about better living through education and technology. She is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.