Bridging a Social Media Marketing Generation Gap

Photo: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228029

Social media best practices is often the topic of my column which is syndicated by several news services and tweeted to millions of readers. I've written two eBooks on social media best practices, and companies large and small hire me to create complex social media strategies and execute their plans. My newest client - the 19-year-old founder of Campus Thrift, (www.campusthrift.com) a new, online thrift store where only college students can buy and sell used goods - isn't much impressed with any of this experience. 

Then again, she also happens to be my daughter...

Like it or not, there is a generational gap that exists in the social media world, and it only seems to be widening. You're always going to to roll your eyes at the generation before you who did not grow up with that new technology - bet it the horseless carriage or SnapChat.  According to a social media demographic study last year in Business Insider, the demographics of who's on what social network are shifting — older social networks are reaching maturity, while newer social messaging apps are gaining younger users quickly.

Not only have times changed, the time in which they've changed has accelerated ten-fold. Many of the "go to" places for advertising and promotion just don't apply to digital start ups - particularly when you're starting with a budget of zero. Don't quote me on the exact age is but if you're 40 or over you rely on Facebook. If you're 30 and younger, it's Instagram. Anti-social media and you're likely on Reddit. The list goes on. 

So then it would certainly makes sense that there's a Social Media Marketing Generation Gap. A chasm between the best ways to reach your target markets. It's why many companies give the job of social media management to the youngest person on staff, which I maintain is a mistake. Twitter has been a faux pas minefield for some corporations. But there's something to be said for the fact that each generations knows its own better than the rest. I mean, am I a dope to think the word cool still means cool? Or is it dope to say dope instead? Either way, I'm cool with it.

In many small businesses, owners seek out the advice of experienced friends and family. So when my daughter asked for my opinion on some digital marketing for her site launch we locked horns in a way that went beyond a messy room or a distaste for steamed vegetables. There were marketing strategies that I spend weeks on instructing older CEOs that she knew like the back of her iPhone. Her site created in applications I've never heard of. I prefer blueberry, but humble pie was on the menu.

What hasn't changed is the tried and true methods of business writing, marketing, advertising and public relations. For instance, who is likely to pick up your press release, when to send it, what to include are still standard but require knowledge and connections. And phrases like "Free," "50% Off Sale" and "Limited Time Only" work on buyers of all ages. So traditional standard procedures that never crossed her mind. Chalk one up for the "ancient" (over 40) team!

So like in my and my daughter's case, bridging the Social Media Marketing Generation gap requires a meeting of the minds and mutual respect for knowing your demographic versus knowing your job. Will her social sensibilities and pop cultural references resonate better than mine? Will me inbound marketing tactics engage them to stay? We shall see but the Magic 8-ball says "Outlook is Good."

But in full disclosure, aside from some big picture tactics, the most major contribution I made to Campus Thrift was co-founding its founder.

Follow Frank Bocchino, a digital marketing consultant who helps brands exceed their business goals utilizing the latest trends for  blogging marketing automation, SEO, and social media.

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