Engaging Across Generations: Tailoring Social Media Strategies for Different Age Groups

There’s an adage that applies to any field that interacts with the public, including writing, filmmaking, and online marketing: Know your audience. You may know who you want to target your marketing to, but in a world where customers have a wide range of interests, do you know what social media channels your audience prefers, or if they are swayed by influencers and user-generated content, or whether they’re old school and don’t use social media and are more inclined to only visit your website?   

There are four main demographic groups, each with its own characteristics, ranging several decades:

  • Gen Z, born between 1995-2009
  • Millennials, born between 1981-1994
  • Gen X, born between 1965-1980
  • Baby boomers, born between 1946-1964

These groups are extremely diverse, as is the type of marketing that each will find appealing. For example, if you’re selling cars, it requires a different approach to appeal to a 25-year-old, who may be buying their first new car, than the approach that would be used to convince a 65-year-old to buy a Tesla after a lifetime of buying Fords.

Consequently, if your target audience is just one of those groups, it’s fairly easy to develop a strategy directed at that specific demographic and their individual interests and needs. To target several demographics, however, requires a variety of complex tactics.  

Not only do different demographics have different preferences and priorities, each group also visits different social media sites. If you’re trying to target a specific age group, then you need to determine where that group can be found online.

In 2021, Pew Research published the demographic breakdown, shown below, of 11 social media channels. While 71% of 18 to 29-year-olds are regular users of Instagram, only 13% of those age 65+ use Instagram, so it’s not difficult to locate where your audience hangs out. 

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Analytics Reporting

All social media channels have a means by which you can determine how your marketing strategy is performing through statistics on various demographics and info on page views, impressions, page likes, and video views.

Below is a page from a monthly marketing report that McFadden-Gavender does for its clients, showing statistics for just two social media channels, Facebook and TikTok:

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Information supplied by our marketing reports lets customers know what’s working, what isn’t, and whether the target audience is being reached and is responding.

Apart from engaging on social media, it’s crucial to remember to keep the content you have on your website up to date by using the latest SEO techniques, including use of keywords and metadata, which will ensure that your website shows up at the top of pay-per-click and organic searches.

Below is another page from a McFadden-Gavender monthly marketing report showing activity on a customer’s website:

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So, with all these variables that need your attention, what’s a good strategy if you want to appeal to a broad spectrum of users, from Gen Z to boomers and anything in between?

In general terms, here are some cross-generational strategies that will appeal to multiple age groups:

  • Content marketing: Create valuable and engaging content that is relevant to your target audience across different age groups. This can include blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and podcasts. Adapt your content to address various interests and use language that resonates with different age groups.
  • Social media marketing: Establish a presence on popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X, and LinkedIn. Customize your messaging and visuals to suit the preferences of each age group. Encourage user-generated content and engage with your followers through contests, polls, and interactive posts.
  • Influencer marketing: Collaborate with influencers who have a diverse following across age groups. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and can effectively promote your products or services to different demographic segments. Utilize their reach and credibility to connect with a broad range of potential customers.
  • Email marketing: Develop segmented email campaigns that cater to different age groups. Tailor your messaging, offers, and visuals based on the characteristics and preferences of each segment. Personalize your emails to create a more engaging and relevant experience.
  • Video marketing: Create video content that appeals to a wide audience. This can include tutorials, product demonstrations, customer testimonials, and entertaining videos. Optimize your videos for different platforms and consider using closed captions or subtitles to cater to those with hearing impairments.
  • Mobile optimization: Ensure that your website and marketing materials are mobile-friendly. Given the use of smartphones across all age groups, it’s vital to have a responsive design that provides a seamless browsing experience on smaller screens.

That may seem like a lot to deal with, especially when you probably have other job-related responsibilities and tasks to perform.

If you don’t have the time or resources to implement a whole new social media marketing strategy, we at McFadden/Gavender can help.

We’re experts, and we have a team that will do the research and data analysis to better understand and locate your target audience, enabling us to refine and optimize marketing strategies that will target multiple age groups and demographics. Contact us and we can show you how to take your brand further.