Once the centre of the social media universe for younger people, with 94% of teenage social media users surveyed in 2012 reporting having a Facebook profile, it’s no secret that Facebook’s popularity with Gen Z has waned massively as of 2021.
According to Insider Magazine, teens are describing the platform as a “boomer social network” filled with people’s personal business, neighborhood rants and outdated memes that young people’s “parents, grandparents and great-grandparents… think are funny.” Ouch.
Citing issues such as “horrible political takes,” privacy concerns and content that is “too random,” it comes as no surprise that Gen Z are instead flocking to alternative social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, with just 27% of teenagers surveyed in 2021 saying that they were Facebook users. Yes, that’s right, in less than a decade, Facebook’s teenage usership has decreased by a massive 67%.
We’re all familiar with how helpful social media can be for marketing your business, but given the rapid change in the social media landscape over recent years, you may be asking yourself which platforms you should be using to target your chosen age demographics.
With the assurance that ‘everyone is on Facebook’ becoming less and less true, let’s take a look at which platforms can help ensure that you still market to all age groups relevant to you.
The coolest new kid on the social media block is undoubtedly TikTok, with 55% of teens in the US between 13 and 20 reportedly being TikTok users. This compares to 43% of those in their 20s and around 34% for people in their 30s.
TikTok is renowned for its quirky, humorous and fun short-form videos, with users uploading and watching everything from the likes of comedy sketches to viral dances. So where does marketing come in? You may be surprised to learn that some of the biggest brands in the world are also prominent on the TikTok scene.
Our Social Media Executive, Helena, says that the reason so many brands are doing well on this platform is because businesses can capitalise on its “huge growth potential.” Helena goes on to say that “The content published there has the potential to reach more users, which can secure more likes and followers than on any other platform.”
There’s also a high potential for content to go viral, considering TikTok is synonymous with trend-starting that spreads to other platforms. Take the success of the content surrounding products such as The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution or Amazons Seasum Leggings. Huge trends surrounding these products would have undoubtedly reflected on the annual revenue of the companies.
So if you’re looking to grab the attention of Gen Z with TikTok, you can try your hand at posting some cheeky and silly short videos to advertise the fun side of your brand. We’d recommend checking out big names like Ryanair, Nandos or Duolingo, which all serve as great examples of how humour can give your brand a relatable and down-to-earth feel. If we take this TikTok from Ryanair, we can see how they’ve cleverly responded to criticisms levelled against them by using lighthearted comedy, which is a refreshing take on the run-of-the-mill PR responses that can seem insincere at worst and boring at best. Whereas TikToks like this one from The Black Country Living Museum are a great example of how having a finger on the pulse of viral lip-syncing trends can pull in huge audiences.
As of July 2021, Instagram is most popular with a slightly older demographic than TikTok, with a majority of its global users (31%) being between the ages of 25 and 34, with two thirds of Instagram users being below the age of 35. Considering that in late 2020 Instagram had an advertising audience of over 1.16 billion users, with 90% of users following at least one business, having a presence on this social media giant is a must for any company wanting to connect with a Millennial or Gen Z audience.
For inspiration on how to best showcase the visual side of your business, we’d recommend taking a look at Etsy’s Insta page. You’ll find plenty of examples here of how small and big businesses alike can beautifully exhibit their products.
If your business doesn’t offer physical goods, take a look at how the lifestyle gurus at Girls’ Night In Club are using a natural colour palette to really set the tone for the calm lifestyle they are promoting, or check out how Brit and Co use bright, floral images peppered with humour to promote their online classes with their strong and unmistakable brand identity.
So how can you go about making the most of Instagram for your business? Helena advises that you set up the Instagram Shopping feature. “Companies can post pictures of their products in their Instagram feed, build Product Detailed Pages, and use product tags to highlight items from their catalogue directly in their images and videos. Users can then easily tap on them and view the products on the businesses’ site.”
You can also use the Instagram Shop tab. Here, people can identify products from companies that they don’t follow. Helena says “This enables companies to get their brand in front of more potential customers and generate more leads.”
Twitter is a great platform to use if your goal is to reach a Millennial audience specifically, with 38.5% of Twitter users globally being between the ages of 25 and 34. The second highest group for age is those between 35 and 49, with 20.7% of Twitter’s users fitting this demographic.
So, if you’re looking to connect with people a little older than Gen Z, Twitter may be the one for you. Given that Twitter was attracting 206 million daily users worldwide in the second quarter of 2021, it’s safe to say that ensuring your business is active on this platform could help you reach a huge audience.
One of the best ways to crack Twitter is to inject some originality and humour into your posts, Innocent Drinks is an excellent example of how you can engage the public with gentle humour and witty commentary on topical interests such as The Great British Bake Off. You can also take a look at brands like Greggs, or Old Spice if you’d like to see how some more of the pros use their iconic products and strong brand identity to produce some unforgettably original Twitter content.
But it’s not all about content. According to Helena, Twitter is also ideal for customer service. “It encourages customers to immediately contact a business without having to use traditional support channels when they have problems.” Take a look at the Tesco Twitter account to see this in action.
Okay, so we may have been a little unkind to Facebook earlier on. Don’t blame us though, we’re looking at you, Gen Z! Though Facebook may no longer be the best way to reach teenagers with your marketing message, if you want to connect with an older demographic, Facebook is still a great option. While less than 6% of users are between 13-17, which is a similar percentage to users over 65, there are a large number of users that fall somewhere between the younger and older ends of the spectrum.
Facebook is particularly popular with those between 25 and 34, with 31.3 percent of their usership fitting within this age bracket. This is followed by those aged between 18 and 24, at 23.2% and aged 35-44 at 17.4%. Just as with the other platforms mentioned, Facebook is a great tool with which to raise brand awareness, with 2.9 Billion users active monthly as of the third quarter of 2021.
One of the other major benefits of Facebook, is that users can directly sell and buy products through the platform. Helena recommends setting up a Facebook store, or using the Facebook Marketplace. “This has been extremely convenient for small businesses with a tight budget that didn’t have either a website or experience with digital marketing. Owning and maintaining a website is not a prerequisite to sell online anymore.”
Red Bull’s approach of motivational storytelling has proved a hit with the Facebook community, helping them achieve a huge following of 47 million. You can also check out these fantastic Facebook ad examples as well as pages like Cadbury’s or Gillette if you’re looking for some more inspiration.
Teens and Social Media Use, Pew research Center 2013 https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2013/05/21/part-1-teens-and-social-media-use/
Gen Z’s thoughts on Facebook, Insider Nov 2021 https://www.insider.com/facebook-gen-z-teens-boomer-social-network-leaks-2021-10
Social Media Use, Pew Research Center, 2021
‘Everyone is on Facebook,’ Slate Magazine, 2009
Gen Z and Millennial engagement with TikTok, YPulse, 2021
‘What is TikTok? Why is it so Popular?’ Brandtastic, 2021
Biggest Brands on TikTok, Econsultancy, 2021
Distribution of Instagram users worldwide as of July 2021, by age group, Statistica, 2021 https://www.statista.com/statistics/325587/instagram-global-age-group/
Instagram Marketing Tips, Hootsuite, 2021
Distribution of Twitter users worldwide as of April 2021, by age group. Statistica
Distribution of Facebook users worldwide as of July 2021, by age and gender. Statistica