Generation X is not exactly social media savvy. They’re known to prefer traditional media channels such as TV, magazines, and newspapers, to social media apps. However, it’s wrong to assume that you can’t reach GenX on social media as the majority of Gen Xers are active there.
Reaching Gen Xers on social media is profitable as well. They have very high spending power and own nearly half of small businesses in the US.
In this article, we’ll talk about top ways you could reach generation X on social media and how you could engage them with your content.
Why targeting Gen X is important
Generation X adopted social media less effortlessly than Millennials and Gen Z, who were born into the age of rapid technological development. Yet over 80% of Gen Xers use social media at least once a day. This means investing in social media marketing that targets Gen Xers is essential, considering they constitute about 47% of US SMB owners in 2022.
When it comes to spending power, Gen Xers take the second place with $357B annual spending, following baby boomers. They’re often referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’, as they care for both their parents and children. Meaning, whether you’re selling B2B or B2C, Gen Xers are a primary target.
So, how do you reach Gen X using social media?
1- Give room to reviews to build trust
Marketing to Gen X calls for building trust over time, and they rely more on online reviews than friend, family, and peer-to-peer recommendations. This gives you the perfect starting point—generating positive reviews on your social channels. Reviews are the most authentic form of marketing content, since they come directly from the end user.
If you don’t have any reviews on your business, ask your existing customers to leave reviews on review platforms specific to your industry. Then post those reviews on your social channels regularly. You can also take advantage of content distribution software to use these reviews in different places in your content strategy. Review platforms add another level of authenticity to the matter since you can’t control what’s been said about your business on those platforms.
Equally important is encouraging user generated content and knowing how to promote it. Start branded hashtag challenges across social platforms that your audience will catch on. It’s understandable if you have concerns about coming up with appealing content. But all social media and networking platforms offer business analytics modules and regular reports that give insights into industry trends and audience behavior.
When done manually, these will take a considerable amount of time. The easiest way to go is to use a social media automation tool, where you can handle all what’s mentioned here from one dashboard.
2- Play on becoming a thought leader
Repeating what others say will only work for a while. To claim authority and thought leadership, which are the fundamentals of connecting with Gen Xers, you’ll have to create quality content that’s actually useful to the followers. Industrial giants like Honey brilliantly demonstrate authority in matters related to their industries with this type of content:
At our global HQ, we’re putting people first with solutions that streamline the workday. See our new space in Charlotte: https://t.co/w21q1F7zMS
— Honeywell (@honeywell) August 29, 2022
Naturally, your efforts will be, say, relatively less groundbreaking starting off. As a good first step, publish reports and infographics that bring visibility into trends in your industry. Make use of both public and internal data. Although public data is accessible to anyone, people often don’t bother looking for it. Customers and prospects will increasingly come to your social channels as a source of bite-sized, data-backed information. You may analyze these visitors’ engagement with a Traffic Analysis Tool. This will help you analyze your overall performance and fine-tune your marketing strategy over time.
Also, strategic partnerships contribute greatly to a business’ claim of authority and trust. Reach out to influencers and acclaimed professionals in your niche for collaboration opportunities. This can be an affiliate relationship, or a co-marketing project like a webinar series on how to thrive in your industry.
Reach out to potential collaborators in your niche and pitch your ideas to them. There are plenty of templates available online to help you craft a pitch through email. To ensure you stay under your budget while collaborating with influencers, send them the estimate to ensure you and them are on the same page. To find who’s influential in your niche, search the relevant keywords on social platforms. You’ll see that industry experts often are pretty active and visible.
3- Recognize the influence of younger people on Gen Xers
It’s often the case that children teach their parents how to effectively use technology, not vice versa. Younger generations are naturally faster in adopting technology, and Gen Xers go to them to benefit from their know-how. Millennials and Gen Z are the most active users of social media.
That’s why you have to analyze your audience’s behavior, instead of assuming they won’t be on TikTok to see your hashtag campaign. And keep in mind that technology also adapts itself to the consumer. So all social platforms are increasingly accessible to everyone regardless of their age. This means that we’ll see higher levels of tech adaptation from Gen Xers in the future.
One thing you can try is to survey customers about their social media preferences. Tons of research exist on this topic, but your audience is unique. Ask which platforms they get business or shopping ideas from, and spend a large amount of time on. The answers will tell you which platforms to invest in primarily, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
If your product was life insurance, as Gen X ages out of middle age into their senior years, pose them the question of what type of life insurance works best for them. Say, for instance, you’re selling electric bikes. E-bikes are increasingly popular among families living in suburbs. And look how Aventon, an electric bikes brand markets a good family ride:
@aventon Love a good family ride! #Aventon #Ebike #ElectricBike #Pizza #Family ♬ Gonna Be On Ya – Danny Dove / Richard Searle / Hannah Hocking / Robert Yeo
4- Put the element of nostalgia in your content
A Google & Ipsos Connect study found that 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos related to events and people from the past.
You can add nostalgic elements into your content that could appeal to your Gen X audience. Such as a reference to an old event that caught the public’s eye, or a legendary pioneer that led the industry to what it is today. A good example is when Spotify recreated the characters Falkor and Atreyu from the beloved 1984 fantasy film The NeverEnding Story for a campaign:
Or when Adobe commemorated Bob Ross in a Creative Cloud ad:
You can also share breaking points in history that reshaped your industry, and how those times inspired you to better your products and services. This will connect your roots to the past of the industry and create the feeling that you’ve always been connected to the industry’s history.
5- Stick with the video form
Gen Xers consume video from social media, TV, newspaper sites, networking sites, and so on.
It may return as a surprise that digital video is big among gen X marketing. Yes, more than social media sites. They constantly listen to the marketing and advertising messages from significant channels, absorbing them from televisions, radio, newspapers, social networking, cable, and mobile. And they mostly use streaming services to watch videos.
Alongside creating video posts for your social channels, you can start your own streaming channel where you’ll hold live streaming events that’ll help raise awareness around your products or services. Live streaming also gives you the chance to get to know your audience better, and allows them to interact with you. They can easily join the stream chat or shoot their questions during the Q&A sessions, and you can better understand their pain points.
Once you hold streaming sessions for a while, you’ll see that the number of regulars are growing, and they’re turning into brand advocates. Plus, you’ll gather invaluable customer intelligence that’ll refine your marketing message to best appeal to your audience.
History of social media gen x
Gen Xers are born around 1965 to 1980. They’re generally considered at the height of their career path and are typically characterized as economically independent and resourceful. Their active social role in the community and their financial stability make them ideal customers for many businesses. To reach them effectively on social media, you need to keep these tips in mind:
1- They’re typically more dependent on online reviews compared to other kinds of recommendations.
2- Original thought-leadership content is effective on Gen Xers.
3- Gen Z has a good influence on Gen Xers so consider a special place for them in your strategy.
4- Use nostalgia from Gen Xers’ childhood in your social media campaigns.
5- Video format is closest to the traditional TV-style content Gen Xers are most used to. So consider using them in your campaigns.