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The Edge 365

New Thinking that Drives Marketing Results

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  • Jon Rivers

Millennials Do NOT Have a Monopoly on Social Media

Figuring out how to use the various popular social media platforms available today is NOT rocket science. Nor is it as difficult (or as frustrating) as a Rubik's Cube.

Are there a generational differences in adoption rates? Sure there are. 20-something millennial's may have the highest scores, but smart 40-something, 50-something, even 60-something professionals are adapting and adopting social media in both their personal and professional lives, too. After all, it only takes around 10 minutes to set up a Twitter account.

There’s clearly a perception that social media is dominated by the young. This is a misconception. Unless they live in a cave off the grid, marketing professionals of all ages have embraced social media as a “must have” skill to do their jobs. The older sets have to know that to keep their current job or get a new one, they had better be able to speak knowledgeably about the critical role of social media in B2B and B2C marketing. Their experience in a pre-social media world is an asset not a detriment.

Let’s look at some examples and data.

In this recent report on a Generational Look at Social Media published by The Partner Channel, business leaders representing 4 generations, from 20-something millennial's to 50-something baby boomers, were interviewed regarding their use of social media.

40-something Amy Spencer, Director of Marketing at AKA Enterprise Solutions, has had a LinkedIn profile since 2004. 50-something Dave Wallen, Marketing Director at SBS Group, has been blogging since the late 1990's, before the term “blog” was even invented (circa 1999). So whoever said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, clearly didn’t know Amy or Dave, or the many professionals like Amy and Dave who moved quickly forward with the times. Willingly or unwillingly, it doesn’t matter.

A Pew Research Center study published in January 2017, Social Media Fact Sheet, reveals some fascinating statistical data based on surveys conducted between 2005 and 2016. Their study showed that in 2005, just 5% of American adults used at least one social media platform. By 2016, that number had soared to 69%. Their study was further broken down by age. The 18-29 age group peaked at 90% in 2015 while the 30-49 age group rose to 80% in 2016. The 50-64 age group stood at 64% in 2016 and even the 65+ age group had reached 35% in 2015.

Don’t discount those savvy senior citizens!

That’s that we mean when we say it’s a misconception to believe that social media is dominated by the young, when significant percentages of older populations use, enjoy and reap the benefits of a social media presence.  

That same perception or misconception was even apparent when we set out to choose an image to accompany this article. Searching Shutterstock for “social media” these were the kind of images that prevailed:

Young. Hip. Millennial.

Toss that notion aside right now. Because the numbers prove otherwise. And numbers don’t lie.



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