Marketing to Generation X on social media – 5 things to consider about this neglected group

By Erin Peitso on September 13th, 2016

Generational labels. Oh, they are everywhere. How often do we hear about aging Baby Boomers or Millennials who are taking over the world? Yeah, not so fast. There’s one more generation in there and that’s Generation X . The generation born between approximately 1961 and 1981 (this varies, depending on the source). We hardly ever talk about them. And, as marketers, that’s a mistake.

Full disclosure – I’m a Gen X’er. We’re not transformative. We don’t have historical impact. We just kinda “are.” We’re the smallest of these Big Three generations, but marketers tend to neglect us and forget how mighty we can be. Gen X is the only generation born in a traditional media-only era and grew into being tech-savvy. Gen X has tremendous financial influence as they often are taking care of aging parents and children at the same time. Gen X is starting to take over businesses, and even politics (ever heard of Barack Obama?), from the Boomers. Remember when Gen Xer’s were called “latchkey kids?” We’re often independent and slow to trust, but once we do, we show tremendous loyalty. We demonstrate those same traits when it comes to brands with 70% brand loyalty! We have a LOT of untapped influence.

There are a hundred different directions we could go in when talking about marketing to X’ers, but let’s focus on social media. Marketers tend to target Millennials with social media, but there’s missed opportunity by not speaking with Gen X. Between our social media usage, financial influence and brand loyalty, there is extensive marketing potential.

Here are five key things to consider about targeting Gen X with social media:

  1. We really use social media. We are on Facebook every day, and we share on Twitter over 70% more than Boomers. Nearly 70% have Facebook accounts, while approximately 50% have LinkedIn accounts. Generation X is a prime social media target.
  2. B2B marketers should also talk to Gen X. At our core, we’re still consumers and want to forge the same loyal relationships professionally and personally. Although we may read emails on mobile devices, we still do in-depth online research on laptops and PCs.  Use social media to push a Gen X audience to articles and similar long form content that they’ll use in online research.
  3. Let’s talk about content. Certain types appeal more to Gen Xer’s so make sure you’re using the content that we’ll want to engage with: blogs, images/infographics, eBooks and case studies. By the way, quizzes and webinars? Not our thing.
  4. According to eMarketer, Gen Xer’s love downloadable videos. Nearly 80% of us download or stream a video at least once a month so consider compelling video as another source of targeted content as well.
  5. While Millennials have grown up interacting on social media and use it as a format to talk about what’s going on in their own lives, Gen Xer’s use it less to talk about themselves and more to provide a point of view on current events or other things going on around them. Consider using a platform like LinkedIn to share articles about your industry and how your company impacts current events.

We all know social media is a lynchpin in every marketing strategy, but it is often underused when talking to Gen X, a generation that rewards loyalty with loyalty. Has your company considered a social media strategy that targets Gen X? You may be missing a chance to reap rewards for your brand and your business.

Read our whitepaper for best practices on leveraging social media in a B2B setting.

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