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Social Media and the Importance of Generational Marketing for Financial Advisors
• Valerie Rivera • June 2, 2020
Does this scenario sound familiar? You’ve worked hard on your latest marketing piece, ensuring that the content is helpful, actionable, and visually appealing. After fine-tuning it one last time, you release it into the world and wait. And wait some more. But the results you were expecting never materialize and the ROI on your time and resources takes a nosedive.
This unfortunate result can happen in any channel you use to distribute your marketing, but it’s especially common on social media. More often than not, the culprit has nothing to do with your marketing content itself. It just wasn’t right for the target audience.
Every financial advisor knows that the typical 72-year-old retiree has vastly different financial planning goals from a 23-year-old who just graduated from college. Likewise, their social media usage is just as different, so advisors should consider these consumption preferences and nuances in their social media marketing.
It’s time to ditch the one-size-fits-all approach for a better understanding of where you’ll find your audiences, how they use social media, and what they want to hear from you as a financial advisor.
What’s in a Number?
If that number is someone’s age, there’s a lot of information behind it. Your prospects’ demographics affect how they find and consume your digital marketing content, as well as whether or not they’ll trust the advice and guidance it offers.
Generational marketing describes an approach used to target an audience that falls within a certain age range. While individual personality traits give every prospect their own set of nuances, the broad qualities shared by those from the same generation are hard to deny.
How the Generations Stack Up on Social Media
The following overview will give you a starting point for generational marketing with a few details on where you’re likely to find target audiences and what they want from your marketing.
Baby Boomers (Boomers)
- Age: Boomers were born in the mid-1940s to mid-1960s, which puts them between the ages of 55 and 75.
- Financial outlook: They have the highest net worth in the United States, but their lives are changing—or have changed—as they enter the distribution phase of the wealth management life cycle.
- What they want: Advice on how to maximize their retirement savings.
- Where to find them: Boomers still respond to traditional marketing methods, but many are social media savvy. Nine percent of Facebook’s 2 billion users are Baby Boomers1.
Generation X (Gen X)
- Age: Gen X was born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, which puts them between the ages of early-40s to mid-50s.
- Financial outlook: Gen Xers are accumulating wealth now and are at the middle-to-top of their career trajectories.
- What they want: Their planning needs can encompass a range of financial topics—from education savings to life insurance. Gen X is more skeptical of online marketing, so be ready to back up your claims with facts.
- Where to find them: They’re tech proficient but grew up without ubiquitous use of technology and smartphones, so they tend to stick to the channels they know; 86 percent of them use Facebook, 45 percent are on Instagram, 24 percent use Twitter, and 19 percent use Snapchat2.
Millennials (Gen Y)
- Age: Millennials were born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, which puts them between the ages of mid-20s to late-30s.
- Financial outlook: Many are still paying off student-loan debt and are setting the foundations for their future. They’re in the early-to-mid stages of their careers.
- What they want: Millennials are even more distrustful of marketing messages from brands than their Gen X counterparts3. They rely heavily on the people they trust for advice on purchases, so marketing messages must be personalized in order to resonate with them.
- Where to find them: Alongside Gen X in the same social media channels, but they also frequently use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp4.
Generation Z (Gen Z)
- Age: Gen Z was born between the mid-1990s and 2015, which puts them between the ages of their early-20s to…. Well, let’s focus on just them for now.
- Financial outlook: This group is just starting to enter the workforce. Like Millennials, the oldest of this generation are dealing with student-loan debt and planning for the future.
- What they want: They’re just getting started on their financial planning journey and most likely gathered what knowledge they have from their Gen X parents, presenting a perfect route to start familiarizing them with your services.
- Where to find them: Facebook doesn’t even crack the top three social media channels used by Gen Z, so look for them elsewhere, such as: Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
Generational marketing, while clearly important, is only one aspect of comprehensive social media marketing. Download our latest eBook, “The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Digital and Social Media Marketing,” for insights on digital marketing hurdles, how to build a plan and what tools will best support your goals.
1. Statista, “Facebook: distribution of global audiences 2020, by age and gender,” Feb. 14, 2020.
2. eMarketer, “The Three Ps of Gen X Tech Use: Plugged In, (Social) Platforms and Privacy,” Aug. 20, 2019
3. Marketing Insider Group, “A Guide to Content Marketing by Generation,” July 2, 2019.
4. Digital Marketing Community, “Facebook is the Most Used Social Network Platform by Millennials in 2018.”
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