Reach Across the Generations with Social Media

Social media is not just for the Millenials. Bill Carmody shares how you can (& should) reach out to all the generations with one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. ~WizeOwl

It’s important for you to understand that “millennials”, “gen Xers” and “baby boomers” aren’t real. They just don’t exist. At least, they don’t exist in the way that they are depicted by major news outlets like CNN and Time Magazine. A generation is, after all, just a group of people. It used to be that generations were defined by their response to historical events.

So, what’s the secret to marketing to generations that are typically grouped by stereotypes? The secret is, of course, treating each generation as individuals. Treat them as if they were individual people with their own skill sets and viewpoints. That’s exactly what they are, after all. Today we’ll be looking at the three generations and show you how to reach them using social marketing.


The US alone has 75 million of these people, which is an awful lot to try and target. The New York Times tells us that around two-thirds of millennials would rather make $40,000 per year doing a job they loved over earning $100,000 per year doing something they didn’t like.

How can you apply this to social marketing? Millennials aren’t looking for more “fun and excitement” than any other generation when searching online. What they want to find is some meaning to it all.

This is the reason that social marketing and search engine optimization made the recent shift away from marketing like a robot and moving towards authenticity. Millennials are able to smell this fake content from miles away. They find fake things hollow and meaningless.

You need to show millennials your authenticity by creating a personality around it, or by giving your brand a narrator. A great example of this is Greg Shuey of Stryde. He regularly hosts Facebook Live broadcasts where he and his team show customers what they are working on. Authenticity is created when you post through social media like your brand is a person, rather than a faceless corporate construct.

Generation X

Did you know that 45th President of the United States Barrack Obama is a member of Generation X? What was the one thing that truly characterized his presidency from when he started campaigning to when he left office? His pragmatic hope of course.

Generation X was characterized as the “rebel generation” in the early 90s. These are the kids who grew up under Reagan and played grunge rock in order to drown out the world around them. At least, this is the stereotypical view of this generation. The reality of generation X is that it’s pretty easy to characterize them; generation Xers are the hopeful strategists of the generations, and most of them can spend up to 10 hours a week consuming content online. As such, there’s plenty of potential for social marketing with them.

Show generation X the value and practical uses of your product, but be genuine and authentic about it. Bestselling author Andrea Butje of Aromahead Institute came up with an ideal solution for authentically offering valuable and practical information about products. She did this by offering certification courses, allowing students to use the education they have in essential oils to create an aromatherapy career. Gen Xers are more likely to bite if you offer them something of value that could ultimately change their lives.

Baby Boomers

Many people consider baby boomers to be adults that don’t understand modern technology, but this isn’t a fair representation of the generation. This might come as a bit of a surprise, but the latest research from Pew Research Center confirms that, as of 2016, 64% of adults between 50 and 64 were on at least one social media site.

Baby boomers are the most ignored area of society in terms of social marketing. You should never forget that around half of all consumer expenditures come from baby boomers. This generation is also spending around $3.2 trillion annually. It’s a market you can’t afford to be missing out on.

Before you go all crazy and spamming baby boomers with social marketing, though, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. They don’t see social media as a marketplace, more so as a place that they can connect with their long lost friends.

Baby boomers also tend to be very loyal customers. That’s the whole purpose of the “Like” button on your Facebook page. The way to succeeding with social marketing for baby boomers is to get them to interact with the Facebook page and make them feel like loyal customers who can be engaged.

So, how is this done? By giving them great deals for interacting with your page. Give them the chance to try things for free. If you are in their local area, then promise that you’ll have a friendly chat with them if they stop by the store. They place a heavy value on face-to-face interaction, preferring it over digital communications.

The true issue that many social marketing campaigns have when campaigning to generations is to focus on stereotypes and not reality. This just makes you look like you’re trying too hard – such as when Sonic tweeted “bae” to their followers. If you want to win then you need to be treated followers like people, no matter their generation. They are people after all, and not a generation.