Whether you are a creator of social media content or the intended audience, there appears to be a growing divide along generational lines.  I, myself, am guilty of perpetuating this simply from the original title of this blog.  When I created it, Social Media & the Middle Aged Woman was more of a personal expression of what I was encountering as the intended audience of social media marketing.  As I have learned and written over the past year, it has morphed into a more inclusive blog.  Changing the name without risking the loss of followers was a scary proposition; but as you can see I took the plunge.

As social media marketing has evolved, the content put out there definitely seems to have a more younger, hipper tone to it. Marketers are being advised by the “social media gurus” to target their audiences.  All well and good, except for the fact that the generational lines have clearly blurred on the various social media sites. What may be relevant to a younger demographic can possible be totally offensive to those in, say, their 50’s and 60’s.  What social media marketers tend to forget is that the older demographic, being more technologically savvy, are not as willing to be left out of the loop.  They are as much a part of the general mainstream audience as ever. Social Media should know no boundaries. It has an influence on all our lives; old or young, male or female, rich or poor, liberal or conservative.

There are two major recommendations I would like to suggest to all Social Media Marketers:

  1. While certain words and phrases may be commonplace in everyday conversations, they should not be used in your marketing campaigns.  The increased use of the “f-bomb” or “s-word” in marketing posts as an attempt to be hip and happening may actually backfire on you in the long run.  Sure, you will probably get the views you are looking for; but I doubt the share numbers will be to your liking.  Commonsense professionalism still needs to be considered when creating ad copy.  Just because it is being written for social media and not television or radio, should not give the marketer free license to forget the basics.
  2. These same basic marketing principles hold true for the imagery presented. Be on the lookout for unintentional pigeonholing.  When marketing via social media, bear in mind that the potential demographic is no longer clear with regard to age (or any other classification, for that matter).  As your marketing posts are liked and shared across the various social media sites, the potential audience increases exponentially.  Marketing can no longer be classified as a “MTV post” vs. a “60 Minutes post” as television commercials of the past have been.  Social media knows no “time slots”.

For the social media audience, do not be afraid to point out to a company, brand or organization anything that you may find offensive in their marketing. Simply scrolling past their posts does not help you or the marketer. We have a greater voice in how information is disseminated than ever before. In the past, if we disagreed with something, we would yell at the television screen or change the channel. Now, we have the unique opportunity to become a part of the process. The audience needs to be just as socially active in the process as the marketer; if not, it is no longer social.