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Social Media Marketing: Each Generation’s Preferred Platform

When Kobe Bryant died, a friend told me his mom read the sad news on Facebook, he discovered it on Instagram, his eldest daughter on Snapchat, and his youngest son on TikTok. It really got me thinking about how each generation uses social media based on their interests, preferences, and demographics. So, I wrote this blog to explore the various social media platforms that each American generation prefers to use, and the purposes for which they use them.

Marketing to Baby Boomers 

Who are they? 

Adults born between 1946 and 1964, commonly known as Baby Boomers, account for 20% of America’s population. Baby Boomers are the largest generational group in American history and hold significant economic impact. Because of this, they are commonly the target of marketing and advertising campaigns, as they make a great deal of purchasing decisions. Remember, this generation is the most financially stable generation, the least influenced by their peers, and believe in brand loyalty.

What’s their platform of preference? 


While Baby Boomers’ are typically stereotyped as not tech-savvy, the truth is more than 90% of Baby Boomers use search engines, email, and online shopping sites. In fact, 75% of Baby Boomers use Facebook, and on average, spend nearly two hours a day on social media.

How you should market to Baby Boomers

Do: Videos. Incorporate video into your content curation and creation! 54% of Baby Boomers watch video online, and they are 19% more likely to share video content than any other demographic. Something to keep in mind about Boomers is that informative, slower-paced videos appeal best to them.

Don’t: Targeted ads. Less than 10% of Baby Boomers trust digital ads. This generation feels modern marketing practices intrude on their lives and are especially suspicious of targeted ads. One way to adjust this is by practicing transparency and directness in your marketing. For example, place price at the center stage of an ad.

How to Reach Gen X

Who are they?

People born between 1965-1979 are considered to be a part of Generation X. This generation grew up relatively “normally” and entered the workforce just as the Great Recession hit the U.S. in 2008. As a result, this demographic believes they can’t rely on Social Security after retirement and have a more conservative viewpoint when it comes to personal finances. Though they tend to be more financially responsible, Gen Xers are 52% more likely to be dealing with credit card debt than any other generation. Overall, this group gravitates towards brands and products that benefit society or the environment and gravitate away from the pull of trends and fads.

What’s their platform of preference? 

More than 80% of this generation are on Facebook and they frequently use email and search engines online, too. Gen Xers still consume traditional formats of media as well: about half of this generation still listen to the radio, 62% percent read print newspapers, and 85% percent still watch traditional television. Similarly, Gen X has fully adapted to digital shopping, but still enjoys a good old-fashioned trip to the store or flipping through a magazine.

How you should market to Gen X

Do: Online reviews: 68% of Gen Xers have made a purchase after reading product and business reviews. Remember, this generation values their independence and tends to make researched, informed buying decisions. Because many Gen Xers began their independent adulthood during the ‘08 recession, they are smart spenders and respond well to marketing that includes coupons and deals.

Don’t: Social ads: 56% of this generation say there are too many ads on social media platforms. Like Baby Boomers, Gen X primarily uses social media to stay connected with friends and to research businesses (only 24% have actually posted on social media).

Marketing to Millennials

Who are they?

Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 1995. This is the first generation to grow up using social media as the main avenue of communication with their peers. Many Millenials graduated from college during the economic crash, and because of it, they are the largest generation of entrepreneurs. This generation seeks meaningful opportunities; more than half of Millenials would rather earn a $40,000 salary at a job they feel passionately about than $100,000 at a boring job. Needless to say passion, purpose, and innovation are the key to Millenials' hearts.

What social media  platform do Millennials prefer? 

The majority of Millennials are primarily on Facebook and Instagram. They use these platforms for validation from their peers and are more prone to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). They also turn to social media for inspiration and communication as well. 

How you should market to Millennials?

Do: User Generated Content. 84% of Millennials have been influenced to make a purchase based on UGC. Because thisgeneration tends to trust peers, celebrities, and influencers over big companies and traditional advertisements, user-generated content is espeically appealing to them. 68% report they do not make a purchase until after reading through reviews and/or talking with someone they trust. Millennials salivate over innovation and trends, so don’t hold back when it comes to new product announcements and updates! 

Don’t: Traditional ads: Millennials prefer authentic, diverse, personable brands over content that’s trying to get them to make a purchase. Don’t skimp on content either; aesthetics and eye-pleasing imagery are key to this generation’s social media experience. 

Reaching Your Generation Z Audience

Who are they?

This generation is the youngest up-and-coming group, the oldest of which have just graduated from college and entered the workforce. Anyone born between 1995 and 2010 belongs to Generation Z.


What’s their platform of preference? 

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up fully immersed in technology and in social media. 97% of Gen Z uses at least one of seven platforms:Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Tumblr, or Reddit - with Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat taking the lead. When it comes to seducing this generation, you’ll need to go all in on everything visual in your content. 95% of Gen Z watches youtube, and are more likely to watch it than traditional television. Gen Z’s love of visuals also explains Snapchat and Instagram’s high popularity among their social media usage. This demographic is always plugged in, with 44% checking their social media feeds at least hourly.

How you should market to Gen Z

Do: Use YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat. Make video content a priority in your strategy across all social media platforms, not just YouTube and TikTok. Like Millenials before them, Gen Z looks for authenticity in brands. If you want to hook Gen Zers through social media, use micro-influencers as opposed to celebrity influencers. 

Don’t: Fall behind on your end of social media engagement. Yes, it takes two to raise your social media engagement metrics: your followers and YOU! Gen Z will watch your brand to see whether you’re answering tagged comments and responding to their Direct Messages. Don’t take too long to get to the point either; the attention span of the average Generation Z person is 8 seconds (Think: memes, GIFs, TikToks, and short-form copy).

Whatever product or service your company has to offer, you likely know your consumer persona like the back of your hand. Educating yourself on generational buyers is just another step you should take to understand your customers more fully. The better you know your potential buyers, the better you can attract them through marketing strategy.

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Topics: Buyer Personas, Social Media Marketing