A Guide to Generational Social Media Behavior
Social media provides all-access communication to all ages of users, but the medium is different things to different people depending on their generation. With more and more marketers trying to reach and resonate with audiences via social media today, it’s vital for these marketers to understand the social media patterns and preferences of each generation so they can effectively engage with these users in ways that draw attention, drive action, and deliver authenticity. Fortunately, a new report from Fizziology details the social media tendencies and triggers of Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers to help digital marketers target and talk to these segments on their specific social levels. MediaPost.com outlined the results of the report to help marketers fine tune their targeting.
Born after 1981, Millennials were raised on digital technology. They tend to be politically and socially liberal, not very religious, and generally optimistic about the future. They are also the most ethnically diverse generation in history. Their extensive education has left many burdened with college debt, which may be why they are slow to marry and have children.
In terms of their social media habits, Millennials tweet an average of eight times per day, which is a little more than Generation Xers but a lot less than Baby Boomers. Millennials are also more likely to share news articles from new media sources than traditional outlets, with 21% of all the articles they share sourced from BuzzFeed.
Interestingly, Millennials use social media to voice their complaints nearly twice as much as Generation Xers and more than three times as much as Baby Boomers. Their social interactions are often nostalgic and they tend to post old photos and favorites from childhood, such as snippets about the TV shows, movies, and fashion trends of their youth.
This younger demographic is focused on pop culture, with many interacting with celebrities and talking about their favorite music groups and sports teams on social media. But while their conversations may be about famous faces and popular picks, they don’t name-drop brands as often as Generation Xers and Baby Boomers do. Millennials are also much more into music than other generations and like to reminisce over the hip-hop songs of their youth. And sports-savvy Millennials are the first to engage in social sports efforts like hashtag votes and live tweeting during games to experience the sports they love with like-minded fans.
Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980 and they are often referred to as Gen Xers. They are children of both the Reagan Revolution and the Divorce Revolution, so their political views are economically conservative but their social views are largely liberal.
In addition to being focused on fitness and health, this segment is 75% more likely to talk about the latest high-tech gadgets and gossip on social media than Millennials and Baby Boomers. Their posts frequently feature inspirational, aspirational, and motivational messages that express their optimistic outlook. Gen Xers also post more photos from their personal travels and everyday experiences than both Millennials and Baby Boomers.
On social media, Gen Xers tend to tweet an average of six times per day, which is a bit less than Millennials and much less than Baby Boomers. This tech-savvy segment is most likely to seek and share the latest news, especially in terms of technology, world events, op-ed articles, and public-interest stories. As a result, they are frequently followers of media outlets like NPR, Mashable, Slate, and AV Club. Their high-tech tendencies are reflected in their use of apps like Foursquare, Uber, and Spotify. They also use hashtags to have politically conservative conversations and stay current on timely topics.
Gen Xers are big on bonding with brands via social media. Given their optimistic attitudes, they appreciate brands that promote positive messages and maintain a strong social media presence.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. While this generation grew up with the socially liberal counterculture movement of the 1960s, more than half have become conservative with age as they approach their 60s.
Consumed with conspicuous consumption, this status-seeking segment is three times more likely to talk about shopping on social media than Gen Xers and Millennials. As a result, Baby Boomers are much more likely to use social media to engage in both brand promotions and giveaways than these younger groups. Many favor big brands with a bigger social presence like Michael’s, Kraft, and Frito-Lay because they post a media mix of DIY ideas, family recipes, contests, and chats.
Baby Boomers love lengthy Twitter chats under relevant hashtags and use these hashtags to jump into conversations and engage in brand promotions. They also enjoy arranging “tweetups” or in-person meet ups on Twitter. Surprisingly, Baby Boomers tend to tweet an average of 15 times per day, which is much more than Millennials and Gen Xers combined.
While Baby Boomers are more family focused than these younger groups, they post the fewest photos on social media.
Media tastes and trends have always defined this demographic, so many use social media to follow their favorites. Popular picks include TV shows like the reality-based Real Housewives hits and dramatic Scandal series. NASCAR is also big with Baby Boomers and they use social media to engage with fellow fans and follow the action.
The different demographics choose to use social media differently, but having this information and insight can help marketers maximize their social media efforts and effectively target their audience in the most socially successful ways.
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