The Age of Information is a rapidly evolving one, shaped both by, and in response to, its users. As each social platform changes, so does its community and the conversations it hosts.
But what does this mean for marketers?
A recent study from Environics Research delved into the varying social habits of Canadians to glean some valuable insights for how to effectively connect with our audiences, on which platforms, and how to stay afloat in a constantly changing landscape.
We already know how differently each generation interacts with social media, each favouring one or several platforms over the others. It’s as though each were a physical gathering space, frequented by the dominant demographic who shapes it. The spaces, in turn, adapt to their people, and adopt their corresponding communication styles.
Understanding the symbiotic nature of this relationship is crucial in knowing how, and where, to connect with your audience.
Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants
Coined by American writer and technologist Marc Prensky, the term digital native refers to anyone born into the Age of Information – essentially in the 90s or later (Millennials on the younger end of the spectrum, and Gen Z). Digital natives have grown up under the influence of ubiquitous information and modern technologies, and therefore navigate the digital world in a much more natural way than a digital immigrant – essentially the Boomer generation, who grew up in a world dominated by print and television, before the advent of the internet.
Many of us fall somewhere in between (Gen X and “Elder Millennials”) – having come of age in a sort of hybrid world, born into an analogue existence, and adapting to quickly emerging digital technology as we go.
All of this begins to make so much sense when we look at the actual social media habits of the varying generations.
Generational Social Habits
According to the research, 87% of Canadians are weekly users of social media. Environics Research also found that two-thirds of Canadians use the most popular platform, Facebook, at least weekly.
After Facebook, the next most often used platforms are YouTube and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, age and generational differences heavily influence who uses which platforms.
Among the youngest people surveyed, members of Gen Z are most likely to consume content on video-based platforms, TikTok and YouTube. So while Facebook is the most popular among other generations, it’s used significantly less among Gen Z.
Baby Boomers use Facebook far more than any other platform, and any other generation. This should also come as no surprise to anyone at all.
Why does any of this matter?
The connections you make with your customers make all the difference. As platforms make adjustments for their own business reasons, their user communities – and their behaviours – shift and evolve in kind. Content that might see results on one platform can ring hollow on another, as each has its own set of nuances and behaviours.
These factors make it all the more important for marketers to keep up. Raw data can only take you so far – it’s the human insights that will help take you beyond a surface-level transaction. Ultimately, as with interacting IRL, it’s the genuine connections we make that matter in the end.
Navigating a continuously changing landscape on each platform can be challenging, but it’s a challenge we welcome. At 10|20 Marketing, converting experiences into relationships is how we roll. Connect with us today and let’s chat.