Social media continues to be a common and prevalent aspect of our daily lives, so if you are a business owner and social media is not part of your marketing strategy, you might want to rethink your strategy.
A decade ago, companies might have (still doubtful) been able to write off social media as a marketing tool if they were marketing to an older crowd. That is no longer the case. While it is true that each generation uses social media differently and at different rates, it is also true that all of the generations are on social media. Another truth is millennials (born with technology in their hands) are now full-grown adults in their 30s, thus a significant portion of the market.
The Pew Research Center released a Fact Tank in September 2019 showing it is now even possible for social media marketing to reach the Silent Generation as their use has nearly doubled since 2012, from 22% to 37%. Again, making social media a vital part of a company's marketing strategy.
The Pew Research Center also reported some key statistical facts about social media use across generations.
86% of Millennials say they use social media. This has been unchanged since 2012
Gen X, Baby Boomers and Silents have all increased their social media use by at least 10% since 2012.
84% of Millennials use Facebook
74% of Gen Xers use Facebook
60% of Boomers use Facebook
37% of Silents use Facebook
In another Fact Tank from 2019, Pew found that Facebook and YouTube have the most use among adults, each with over 70% of adults saying they use these platforms. However, a look at the upcoming generation finds that Instagram and Snapchat are the platforms most used by Gen Z, people born between 1997 and 2010. If this remains the case as they age is to be determined.
All generations agree they most enjoy social media posts that include pictures. This can be important as companies develop their brands.
To create a social media marketing campaign that reaches each of these generations, companies must understand who they are, where they came from and what they believe.
Who are these generations?
The Silent Generation- born in 1928 -1945
No member of this generation ever served as president of the United States
Raised by parents that just survived the Great Depression. Experienced hard times while growing up which were followed by times of prosperity.
Core values: follow rules and conform
Baby Boomers- born in 1946-1964
Named because of the increase in births after WWII
In 1999, there were 78.8 million Boomers
Post War Babies who grew up to be radicals of the 70’s and yuppies of the 80’s. “The American Dream” was promised to them as children and they pursue it.
Core Values: Anti-government, personal growth, work and loyalty to their children
Gen X- born in 1965-1980
Only 36% of Gen Xers have more wealth than their parents, despite the majority making more than their parents, according to Pew
Between the ages of 23-35, 9% lived at home with parents
They grew up having to take care of themselves early and watching their politicians lie and their parents get laid off.
Core values: Diversity, fun, independence
Millennials- born in 1996-1981
¼ of the population is made up of Millennials
39% have a bachelor’s degree or higher
Those without degrees had lower earnings than those in previous generations
In 2018, 15% lived at home with parents
They grew up as children of divorce, hope to be the next great generation and to turn around all the “wrong” they see in the world today. They grew up more sheltered than any other generation as parents strived to protect them from the evils of the world.
Core values: Achievement, consumerism, education, and urgency
Gen Z- born in 1997-2010They
The oldest will finish college in 2020.
By 2026, they will be 82% of the consumer population
Most ethnically diverse generation
As this generation ages, their values and influences will become clearer
What is known now: they consume uniqueness and shop ethically
The are digital natives
They are communicators and want to interact face to face
All 6 of these generations are consumers or very soon to be consumers. Knowing them, their consumption habits and preferences, as well as their social media trends, will help any business stay relevant.