Companies feel immense pressure to create a digital presence. The benefits seem undeniable: easier access to affordable customer outreach platforms allows for more effective influence of potential clients, leading to increased sales. Although in theory it should be easier, why do so many companies struggle to advertise in the digital world? In the digital age, knowing your audience is more important than ever.
What renders “digital generation” marketing ineffective is the tendency to conveniently paint the broad demographic as a single, but powerful, target group. Companies often lack a clear focus in their social media marketing strategy. Social media is fundamentally a tool, only rendered effective by its user. Social media audience statistics are there to help companies micro target within the digital generation. Casting a general net will only result in wasted time, money, and effort.
What is defined as “young and hip” is increasingly versatile. With technology evolving and becoming integrated into our lives at an exponential rate, generational differences appear in smaller time frames. These micro generations grow up in progressively distinct environments, creating different marketing targets within a larger generation category. Although the gaps from Generation X and Y are characterized with spans of about 15 years, realize that within the digital generation there are those who saw the invention of the computer as an adult, those who saw the rise of computers in the classroom, and those who were virtually born with a tablet in hand. These generations are even self-aware of their differences, which I believe is best characterized by commoditized nostalgia, or “Remember This?” Media and entertainment that morphed with each technical device have divided the digital generation into smaller pockets of exclusivity and the identifying gadgets of their time period. Frequently cited examples are the rise of video game platforms, 90s kids phenomena, and the newer YouTube Kids TV issue.
So what does this mean for companies? Know which micro generation your audience belongs to. Research their habits, and be familiar with what technology environment they feel comfortable. Make sure your audience can effectively empathize with the format in which you are advertising. This will inform your social media marketing strategy in many ways: Is Facebook or Instagram a more effective platform? What content should I post and when? Should it be a video, an interactive piece, or endorsement? And the most overlooked question:
Is social media worth your time?
As technology continues to grow and change, micro generational differences will become more prevalent. Grouping the digital generation into a single entity lacks focus and will likely result in ineffective marketing.
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