Marketing to Different Generations on Social Media During a Crisis

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives on May 5, 2020. 

With the coronavirus outbreak, being present on social media is critical for advisors. When used correctly, it is a great tool for impactful connections with current and prospective clients and establishing yourself as a thought leader within your niche. That being said, you may not need to be active on every social media platform. It depends on the niche you target.  First, identify which platforms your target audience uses and what content they want to see to effectively connect with them and make a lasting impact. 

How do baby boomers spend time on social media?
Data from study done by Animoto surveying 1,000 US Adults who have social media accounts and have watched videos online. Graphic from Social Media Today

Where Do Different Generations Spend Time Online? 

Facebook is by far the platform that has the highest percentage of US adults who have an account on their platform, across all generations. However, their has been a trend in younger generations (who have a Facebook account) not logging in and using it much – as they are drawn to newer platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Tik Tok.

Facebook use has grown tremendously over the last 5 years with Baby Boomers, and the Pew Research Center found that 40% of US Adults 65+ and over now use at least ONE social media site, up from just 3% in 2005.

where do different generations spend their time online?
The Pew Research Center studied the use of Social Media by Generation from 2012 – 2019. The bottom row shows the % of US adults who use each platform as of Feb 7, 2019. Those numbers have increased since then.

What Kinds of Content Should You Generate To Appeal To Your Niche On Social Media? 


If Millennials are your niche, you’re in luck. Millennials are the generation with the highest use of social media. In fact, 90.4% of Millennials are active on social media. To successfully market to Millennials on social media, incorporate eye-catching graphics and imagery. Share third-party articles and content that would be of interest to show that you are like-minded. Additionally, 75% of Millennials watch video content daily, so leveraging video on social media is a great way to appeal to them. (P.S., check out my other article on how to record professional videos right on your smartphone).

Generation X

When it comes to marketing to Generation X, the most effective thing you can do is focus on creating content that is authentic and consistent. If you’re wondering what platform would be best to reach this target audience on social media, Facebook is the answer. In fact, 88.6% of Gen Xers use Facebook as their main social media platform. With a statistic like that, having a Facebook business page and being present there is a no brainer.

Baby Boomers/Retirees

Despite the fact that this generation grew up without technology and the internet, they definitely accept it and want to learn more about it. In fact, 64% of people aged 50-64 have at least one social media profile, with Facebook being the most popular platform for baby boomers. Baby boomers place emphasis on in-depth news pieces and analysis with an abundance of concrete information/. When sharing on social media, cater your content to meet their values.

Source: Pew Research Center, Survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2019.

What Does Your Niche Want to See On Social Media During a Crisis? 

Social media is uncharted territory for many advisors. Throw in a global pandemic and it is downright confusing. How can you market your firm effectively on social media amid COVID-19?

That’s a tough question. Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage due to COVID-19, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in one week. Your followers are spending more time online than ever before, so social media presents businesses with a unique opportunity to deepen relationships and position yourself as a thought leader increasing your brand affinity.

Show Empathy

Being empathic on social media doesn’t mean you have to mention COVID-19 explicitly in every post. But take into consideration the tone of your captions and how it could be interpreted by those who may be facing a different and potentially challenging reality.

Provide Value & Educate

Traditionally, I think of social media as a vehicle to drive traffic to your website, blog, YouTube channel, etc. During a crisis, your primary objective needs to shift to becoming a valuable resource to your audience.

How to post on social media during COVID-19

Think about what your clients, prospects and audience on social media are going through right now. What are they struggling with? What is keeping them up at night? What are they googling? Your focus should be on providing helpful content that is full of tangible take-aways and valuable information that your followers can use right now. I love this example from The Financial Gym about how hard it can be to resist online shopping for this very reason – it is relatable, yet provides great tips on how to overcome the urge to spend. When it comes to what type of content to share – think outside the box. Don’t just rely on editorial blog posts-  create videos, webinars, live streams, podcasts, slide decks, etc that are more engaging and informative. Since people have more time at home, they also are spending more time online – so long-form content is getting more views. 

Be Human

While we might not all be in the same boat, we are battling the same storm. It’s normal to be human on social media. In fact, people want to see more of that, especially during a crisis situation. 

Share how you’re coping with stress or anxiety, how you’re transitioning to working from home and what hobbies you enjoy. Showing this human side of your firm gives clients and prospects a glimpse into the “real you.” Showing that you too are a normal everyday person is a welcoming feeling for those who may not know you yet on a personal level and gives them something they can relate to.

Final Thoughts 

Whatever your niche, generating content that is of interest and meets them where they are is incredibly important to building a loyal following and growing your business. You have to know your audience, so uncover what your audience wants to learn. If you’re not sure where to start, begin by brainstorming every question your audience has and plan your content to meet those needs.

Your content marketing strategy should be ever-evolving. You don’t need to be perfect immediately. 

Content builds relationships – relationships are built on trust – trust drives revenue. 

Use this time to your advantage by growing your brand instead of your bottom line. Create that Facebook business page you’ve been putting off, or run a new educational campaign on social media. 

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About the author

Samantha Russell 

As the Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer for Twenty Over Ten Samantha’s focus is on helping business owners and others in financial services understand the value of their online presence and connecting them with the marketing tools and digital solutions they need to effectively manage their brand.