Trying to bridge the gap between generations is a task that many take on and find themselves frustrated. No matter how hard we try, the stark differences between generations get in the way of real understanding. One area that seems destined to be seen through a generational lens is technology and, with it, content marketing. How can we reach everyone with our content if each generation is using technology and the Internet so differently? Do the generational stereotypes hold up online?
Where is your audience?
Just like it’s important to consider where your audience is geographically or where they physically consume the content — eg. a train commute, in their car as they listen to the radio or a podcast, at work or at home — it’s important to consider which platforms your audience hangs out on.
According to Sprout Social, Baby Boomers — born between 1946 and 1964 — prefer Facebook and Youtube (in that order) while both Gen X — born between 1965 and 1980 — and Millennials — born between 1981 and 1996 — favour Facebook and Instagram (in that order). When it comes to Gen Z — born between 1997 and 2014 —, however, social media habits are more action-specific, according to The Centre for Generational Kinetics. For personal actions, like communicating with friends, Gen Z prefers Snapchat. But for following brands, Instagram is the place to be while Facebook is the preferred way to check up on events.
Gen Z’s approach to social media is an interesting one. Despite Snapchat being such a popular platform, it’s unlikely that their generation will be consuming masses of branded content through that platform — it exists, especially with Snapchat’s Discover feature, but it is not the focus of the app for many of this generation. Just because a certain generation seems to prefer a certain platform, does not mean that your content will be best received there. It’s important to think about how these platforms are used.
No need to reinvent the wheel
Delving into the generational statistics would give anyone a headache. It seems impossible to figure out exactly where your audience is and how they’re using their social media platforms. Statistics are extremely important and helpful but you don’t need to be knee deep in them to reach your audience.
There are simple stats that can help you as you figure out which content to use. For instance, Millennials are not likely to share content — in fact, male Millennials are the least likely of all generations to share content (5% less) — but they are more 6% more likely to share memes than anyone else. Does your content work as a meme? Millennials like a good giggle, so give it to them! If you create a meme that resonates with them, you’ll see your content being shared and liked, even by the generation least likely to do so.
Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are 19% more likely than any other generation to share content. You don’t have to work as hard with them to create something they want to share with their friends and family, but you still need to know what they like. 15% less likely to share memes, if your audience is of the older generation, it’s best not to go down that route. 95% of them prefer email over any instant messaging, so a newsletter might just go down a treat.
You don’t have to radically change your content as you switch between platforms, or even between generations. Your tone of voice should always be the same — if your audience is made up entirely of one generation, you can afford to speak in a way that resonates with them directly, otherwise, keep it at a standard that your entire audience, regardless of age, can relate to — and the information you’re sharing shouldn’t differ extraordinarily. A video that works on Youtube or Facebook can also be turned into an article to be included in a newsletter or into shorter quotable images that can be shared easily on Twitter or Instagram. You can check out our blog post on content atomisation to find out more on how to do this.
Don’t fall into the stereotype trap
Every generation comes with its fair share of stereotypes. The important thing for anyone diving into content marketing is to consider the root cause of those stereotypes.
For instance, Gen Z has the reputation of having a short attention span but this is most likely because they are the first fully digital generation. The sheer volume of information they are exposed to — and have been exposed to their entire life — means they can’t afford to waste time on things that don’t capture their attention so they skip around until they find something that they love.
Baby Boomers are thought to be useless with technology but according to Dmn3, 82% of them belong to at least one social media site. The reasons for them belonging are as numerous as you can imagine but with most of this generation either retired or in the latter end of their working lives, free time is often rife. They want to be entertained and engaged so content creators should be taking note.
Unsure of how to get your audience engaged with your content? Incredible Communications can help. Email us at http://www.incrediblecommunications.com.au/#contact or call 0414 711 107.