Social Media

Connecting with Every Generation on Social Media

Victoria Harkes
14 Minutes

Social media is becoming an ever-increasing part of our daily lives.

Father and daughter on tablet

There are different factors that contribute to social media with each generation. Each plays a role in how successful the content becomes. Connecting with every generation will depend on the channel. What might work for Generation Z might not work for Generation X and vice versa. Additionally, the use of mediums such as desktops and mobile will vary based on the age of the audience. There are generational differences between platforms, messaging and engagement. Lastly, metrics will also need to be considered and what to do with the data once you collect it.

Channels and Platforms

The social media landscape extends far beyond just Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Other platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat are popular but not among all generations. That being said, different social media platforms attract different generations with their types of content. Below you will find some social media channels and an outline of the types of content that is found on each, the typical audience, how you set up your account and where you can go for training and further information.

Facebook

Setting Up Your Facebook Account

Facebook is the most used social media channel with over 2 billion users worldwide. That being said it is probably wise that your school/district has an account. Facebook allows schools to reach their audience by interacting with their current students, their family and friends. This platform is useful for sharing information quickly, especially with the ability to comment. A Facebook page gives a school the opportunity to post about upcoming events and directly converse with parents and students. It also has a publishing tool to post content at the right time. Facebook is convenient and easy to use and send direct messages amongst users. People feel comfortable having discussions with other people on various topics.

Types of Content
  • News updates
  • Weather
  • Event reminders
  • Program changes
  • Feel-good stories
  • Brand and Culture Videos
Typical Audience

Audience members include parents and students. However recently, the popularity among younger generations is declining. Only 36% of Generation Z uses Facebook compared to 87% of Millennials.

Setting Up Your Account (Your Page, But Also Facebook Business)

Setting up your personal account is pretty simple. As long as you have an email address, you are able to input your information such as name and date of birth. On the other hand, creating a Facebook page for school is slightly different. First, you need a personal account to begin a page. The category of the page should be selected as education with the name of the page being the school. To make it more visually appealing, it is recommended that you upload the logo of the school as the profile picture and the cover photo can represent the latest activity at school. You want to be able to build that brand with your audience. And voila, you are good to post content straight away. Alternatively, you can create a Facebook Business Page. With a business page,you have the options of additional components that you otherwise wouldn’t have. These components include:

  • Call to Action: An opportunity to download the school app
  • Pinned Posts: Pinned posts will appear at the top of the Facebook Page – capture the attention of parents and students
  • Multiple Pages: With any Facebook account, you can create multiple Facebook Business Pages. A suggestion would be to create a page for each department in the school.
  • Facebook Ads: With the button, you can create different ads. You can then boost the post for a fee.

To convert your page to a Facebook Business account, go to business.facebook.com and create an account. Once you have an account, add your existing Facebook Page, Ad Account, and other people to help manage things!

Check out this great article to get a deeper dive into Facebook Business Manager.

Where To Go for Training
Where to go for training

As far as training goes, when you first create an account you are guided through the step-by-step setup of your account. If you have trouble with anything, you can contact tech support. You can also directly enroll in courses through Facebook Training for Media. These online courses give you the opportunity to build a more effective presence on Facebook. Courses include:

  • Connecting and engaging with your audience using Facebook Live
  • Using Facebook groups to engage with your audience

Twitter

Twitter Feed

Twitter is a powerful platform that is so much more than a place to share updates, it is a community-building tool. With Twitter, you can engage with your audience and distribute important information. With its simplicity, you can quickly learn how to use it.

Types of Content

Content that typically gets shared through Twitter, include timely updates on school-related matters, such as registration days, exam periods, graduation, parent-teacher interviews, open house, weather alerts and emergency notifications.

Typical Audience

Nearly 40% of adult users are between the ages of 18 and 29 use Twitter, 26% are between the ages of 30 and 49.

Setting Up Your Account

Similar to Facebook, you must choose an email address, typically the name of the school. It will then prompt you to select a username. The username is how people will mention you and tweet at you on twitter. The Twitter handle will begin with the symbol “@” followed by the name of the school. Given that you only have a limit of 140 characters when writing a tweet, you should keep the name short. After you create this, you are ready to begin tweeting.

To turn on Twitter Analytics for your account, go to analytics.twittter.com and log in with your username and password. After that anytime you visit analytics.twitter.com you’ll be able to access your analytics. With these tools, you can track shared content. Your account home provides you with information such as the visits to your profile, the number of tweets that mention you, and total tweet impressions. Additionally, the Tweet activity dashboard lets you find metrics to identify how many posts were retweeted, liked and replied to.

YouTube

YouTube

YouTube is the center of internet traffic using videos, the ideal platform to share any length of videos.

Types of Content

Content used in this platform are strictly videos but you are able to engage with your audience through comment sections. The audience can also share videos to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter

Typical Audience

YouTube's main audience is Millennials and Generation Z. According to Hootsuite, 81% of YouTube users are between the ages of 14 and 25 years old.

Setting Up Your Account

To set up the account, you need a Gmail account, which is linked to a Google account. With this address, you can create your YouTube channel. You are then given the option to select activities you want active on your account such as liking a video, commenting on the video, subscribing to a channel, and favoriting videos. You are also able to track watch time, audience retention, playback locations, and the number of views through the analytics option of the creator studio dashboard which can be found under the profile icon on the top right or by visiting youtube.com/analytics.

Where To Go For Training

Training can be found on YouTube through videos. You can also google tutorials and it will take you through the steps of how to upload videos. By typing in: “YouTube Video Creation” or “YouTube Analytics”, it will prompt you to click on sites and videos that will help guide you to optimize your channel. You can also check out the YouTube Creator Academy for free online courses and our step-by-step guide for success using video.

Tiktok

Tiktok

Tiktok is known for users creating short, entertaining videos that are set to music or the creator’s own voice. It can bring a diverse group together. For example, in the past people have engaged and spread awareness on the platform for issues such as climate change and bus cancellations. It effectively can reach anyone anywhere.

Types of Content

Videos are shared and accompanied by music trends, dance routines, parodies, cute animals, cosplay, and how-to videos. This content should remain fun and depict the culture and brand of the school. Videos can involve students and staff whenever possible.  

Typical Audience

80% of TikTok users are younger than 34 years old. The typical generations include Millennials and Generation Z.

Setting Up Your Account

To set up your account, you must first download the app. You are able to sign up using a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Google account. You can also sign up with a phone number or email address. You are then sent a verification code that you must use to verify the information is correct and you can proceed. You should switch to TikTok Pro account to access analytics. Through your privacy and settings, tap on Join TikTok Testers, confirm your application and the option to switch to a pro account will be available under your Privacy and Settings Tab. With analytics you can see content insights, follower insights and profile overview.

Where To Go For Training

Although there is less training available right now, you can find information on blogs such as FlexClip and HubSpot. Training can also be provided through Google search as well as YouTube tutorials.

Others

Other Social Networks

Other channels include Quora, Pinterest, and Reddit. These channels can be created through a google account. With these channels, you can manage your brand, promote your school and answer questions that parents and students may have. Training can be found through sites such as Hootsuite Academy.

Mediums (Desktop vs. Mobile)

Mediums - Father and Son on Tablet

Each generation uses different mediums to source information pertaining to their school and school districts. A desktop may be preferred for older generations such as Baby Boomers. On the other hand, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z spend a great deal of their time on their mobile devices. According to emarketer, adults will spend almost 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. For apps such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, mobile devices are the only way in which audience members can access that platform. Mobile devices are ideal for those that are living a busy lifestyle and want to remain in touch with the school at all times. It all depends on the channel and the generation accessing the information.

Generational Differences

Generational differences on social media

Usage Between Platforms

Platforms Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials Gen Z
YouTube 73% 84% 88% 89%
Facebook 69% 77% 83% 77%
Instagram 28% 45% 67% 74%
Twitter 27% 38% 49% 48%
Percentage of users by generation and social media platform. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-social-media-use-by-generation/

Messaging

Baby boomers grew up with less technology than younger generations did. Millennials, on the other hand, grew up in a time where the internet really took off; a time when wireless phones and personal computers were introduced.

Engagement

Gen X will spend more time than Boomers on social media but less than Millennials and Generation Z. Ultimately, Gen Z does not know a time where the internet didn’t exist. They surpass the other generations with the most time spent on social media. They typically favor multimedia sites such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Messaging

Crafting good posts/tweets, etc.

Social Media

Crafting good messages is important, especially when trying to attract an audience and have them fully engaged. Each platform can be used to craft messages differently. For example, Snapchat and TikTok are the preferred social media sites among young generations, while Facebook and Twitter are preferred for older generations such as Gen X. It all comes back to “What are you writing about” and “to whom are you writing the message for”.

Snapchat
  • Use emojis and filters
  • Add background music
TikTok
  • Add hashtags to video clips
  • Upload any songs that fit with the message
Facebook
  • Keep the post short
  • Add hashtags and @namemention
Instagram
  • Add hashtags
  • Add shoutouts with an @namemention

When to share, shelf-life to grow

When it comes to posting information, timing is of the essence. According to Frederator, the ideal time to publish social media content is Monday through Wednesday between 2 PM and 4 PM, and between 12 PM and 3 PM on Thursday and Friday. However, on weekends a post-time between 9 AM and 11 AM is ideal. What’s even more interesting is that each social media channel has a so-called expiration date for content. According to IT company Mamsys:

  • YouTube videos last 20+ days
  • Instagram posts will last 21 hours
  • Facebook posts will last 5 hours
  • A tweet will last 18 minutes
  • Pinterest posts can last more than 4 months

This is an indicator of how frequently you should be posting on each platform. For example, it is recommended to post something new on Instagram each day given the shelf life of 21 hours. Students are typically scrolling at least once in a 24-hour period. For things that have a shorter lifetime, you should be spending less time perfecting content.  

Tools

Tools that can be used to manage your social media content include but are not limited to:

SchoolBundle

With SchoolBundle, you can create and schedule social media posts at the same time as you share out content to other channels as part of our Single-Source Publishing, allowing you to create once and publish everywhere.

Trello

This visual collaboration too can be used to facilitate on-going projects such as content for blog posts, social media, etc. With this platform, you can set deadlines, add notes to specific tabs and add as many team members as you would like.

Hootsuite

With Hootsuite, you can schedule, manage and report on social media content much easier. For example, you can schedule all automatic social media posts at once.

Measurement

Measuring your social media

Importance

Using social media metrics are important because you can measure the success of your content and platform. By having consistent social media metrics, it can lead to improving your overall social media team, your access to resources, and certainly your overall social media presence.

Vanity vs. Relationship Journey

Vanity metrics includes data like the number of followers, page views, subscribers and comments on posts you have. Using these metrics is one of the simple ways to measure the success of your content. However, you should not rely only on this form of metric. Understanding the relationship journey is equally important. Measuring the relationship journey is about understanding your audience, their beliefs and values. It begins with the awareness stage; grabbing the viewers attention with a relevant post. You want to interact with the viewers such that they remain engaged by replying to online conversations. The web page will act as the doorway for audience members to visit and be accommodated. To establish your viewer’s affinity, you want to give them what they want, focus on quality content and create content that sets you apart from others.

Tools for measurement

There are great social media monitoring tools that can give you the data to analyze how to create content to attain maximum engagement. The following tools can be considered:

The following are social media networks and their respective analytics tools:

Training

It’s important to use analytics to measure the success of content on your social platforms to understand where and how to improve. There are courses readily available that you can take to gain insight on the fundamentals involved in social media analytics.

Coursera Introduction to Social Media Analytics:

This course provides with information on analytical methods that can be used to convert social media data to marketing insights. This course will also provide information on the benefits and limitations of social media data and traditional methods of measuring.

Google Analytics Academy Google Analytics for Beginners:

This course provides you with information how Google analytics works, how to set it up and, navigating and understanding the data.

Quintly Free Social Media Analytics Course:

This course covers the the basics of analytical fundamentals, including; explaining the different metrics, possible actions to meet goals and automating reports.

Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

As mentioned previously, we use social media on a daily basis.  But there are differences in the platforms that are used and the content that is viewed among the generations. Contents should appeal to different generations on different platforms. What might work for one generation might not work for another. The types of mediums that are being used, including desktops and mobile and will vary based on the age of the audience.

There are generational differences between the types of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Conversing and engaging with each generation is critical in today’s world. Knowing what metrics to use and what to do with the data is crucial to developing and meeting new goals and the needs of your community.  There are several training courses available to help guide you to reaching success with your social media content.

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