The Four Generations FMs Should Know On Social

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on October 23, 2015

The four generations on social couldn’t be more different. Not only are they on different platforms, they use social differently than one another. So how can facilities managers reach their audience? By tailoring your posts to those you are trying to communicate with. Depending on who your facility serves, it’s a good idea to get to know the generation or generations that make up your building. Here’s a guide to effectively reaching the four different generations on social media. 

Baby Boomers  (1946-1964)

Personality: This group has witnessed some of this centuries greatest accomplishments. The 51 to 65 year-olds have lived through the social and economical changes much of the country has only heard about. Unlike their parents, this group views technology and innovation as a platform to learn and grow, but separate it from other Baby boomer social media parts of their lives. A very populous group, they make up 25% of the current population, only being slightly overtaken by Millennials. The Baby Boomers are beginning to retire, but known for their strong work ethic, they see it as a way to continue working at one’s leisure rather than stopping altogether.

Where They Are: Nearly 70% of this group have an active Facebook account they access at least once a week, 35% use LinkedIn and 31% use Twitter. Baby Boomers are action based, and will seek out more information about companies they find interesting on social.

How to Reach Them: By using social to continue helping them learn and grow online. If you’re using social to reach potential and current customers, when targeting the Baby Boomer generation – remember that learning is a high priority of theirs. Teach them relevant lessons about your company or industry, but in an educational and non-promotional way. You’ll appeal to their sense of using the internet to better themselves. They also are quick to judge, so be cautious of social interactions you have with your audience. Respond to all comments, negative or positive, and try to be as helpful as possible.

Generation X  (1965-1980)

Personality: The individualists on the list, this group of 35-50 year-olds grew up with either very driven parents where both worked, or in a strong one-parent home, leaving many of them to find independence early on. This Generation X social mediagroup grew up during a time of emerging technology followed by political incompetence (Watergate, Iranian hostage) and can be skeptical. Many in this group are married or divorced with young and middle-age children. Highly productive and adaptable, Generation X could be the most difficult to reach through social media.

Where They Are: In the middle and height of their careers, this group makes up almost a quarter of LinkedIn users. They also spend an ample amount of time on Facebook, even more so than Millennials or Baby Boomers. They use Pinterest to gather purchasing information and mobile devices to connect with friends and post about their families.

How to Reach Them: With no-nonsense information on LinkedIn, followed by fun content on Facebook and Pinterest. They have a very strong filter, and appreciate a transparent approach to social media, especially from businesses. They also are busy, with careers and kids, so easy-to-read, condensed information is received well. When communicating to this group, it is important to remember they are difficult to obtain loyalty from, but will be more likely to seek your business out if they find your information consistently valuable and honest.

The Millennials  (1980-1998)

Personality: Currently in their 15 minutes of fame, those aged 17 to 34 are all anyone can talk about at the moment. Millennials have a keen understanding of the digital space, while also maintaining an ease with face-to-face communication. This group values their work, and must feel connected to it in some way to it to perform Reaching Millennials on social mediawell. However, they are set on having a life outside of the office, and make that clear to their superiors. Slightly entitled, this bracket values instant gratification and gathering information quickly. They currently make up the largest portion of the population, at 26%.

Where They Are: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are all popular among this group, but for different reasons. Facebook is the clear winner, with almost 90% of Millennials owning an account, however activity is slowing. More than 48% are on Instagram and 35% are networking on LinkedIn. Many use Twitter to stay on top of current information and news.

How to Reach Them: By providing valuable and timely information, mixed in with entertaining posts. Young professionals are using social for gathering news, staying in touch and gathering news. 88% of this group has reported accessing social media for gathering current event information. Active on many networks, it’s not difficult to find this bracket, but to engage with them. Quick to dismiss posts that aren’t relevant, when trying to reach a Millennial it’s best to be open and honest by providing timely news and interesting updates. 95% of Millennials expect brands and companies to have a social media presence, so they are looking to hear from you!

Generation Z  (1999-present)

Personality: Only just turning 16, the youngest group on our list will be entering the workforce at the end of this decade. Master multi-taskers, these entrepreneurial spirits are driven and masters at communicating through technology. Social and personal interactions are equal in their eyes, and both remain important. While Millennials Reaching generation z on social mediause an average of three screens a day, this group uses five. Due to their access to immediate information at all times, their attention spans aren’t as strong as those before them. Although still in their youth, this group will account for 40% of consumers by the year 2020. You may not be communicating with them right now, but you will very soon.

Where They Are: They prefer image and video centered sites like SnapChat, Tumblr and Instagram, with over 60% of this group active on the three sits. Of this group ages 13 to 17, 25% have left Facebook this year, and that number doesn’t seem to be slowing down. These digital nomads rarely access social sites from a desktop, and use their mobile devices for most social interactions.

How to Reach Them: By providing mostly fun topics that are image-centered. The youngest generation are digital nomads, it’s all they’ve ever known. From their first days they’ve experience life adjacent to a screen. It’s going to be difficult to attract their attention, so short text with lively imagery will help engage them with your page. However, let them know you take them seriously. Although young, this group is driven and knowledgeable, especially when it comes to topics that interest them.

As a FMs reaching out potential customers or tenants on social media, it’s important you remember no net should be cast too wide. The above categories are simply averages and most certainly do not apply to every and all in that respective group. If you need more help, check out our blog, 8 Tips to Communicate With 4 Different Generations in the Modern Workplace. It’s best to have these thoughts in mind when reaching out to your tenants on social, but keep in mind everyone is an individual. 





Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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