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2018 Marketing Trends Article Written by Pat Ringland, Digital Analyst for Armada Marketing

It’s only Millennials, right? Or is it Generation Z? What age do people use social media the most? What do they use it for? Does every age use the same social media platforms?

Let’s be real, most of us think about social media as this thing that only younger generations use. When we think of potential 2018 social media influencers, we are probably not thinking of someone’s grandma. The marketing trends of social media tend to definitely be geared towards the under 35 crowd.

The fact is that while it is true younger generations tend to use social media the most, middle-age and older generations use it a lot as well. Sometimes marketers will overlook these non-millennial generations on social media and try to market to them on non-social media platforms. This represents a significant amount of lost revenue solely due to the fact that these marketers have played into the stereotype that social media is just for the younger generation.

If you’re still not convinced, here are some stats for you courtesy of Statista.com:

Percentage of Facebook Users per Age Group

This graph shows that while the demographic that has the highest percentage of Facebook users is the 18-34 group, the percentage of Facebook users per demographic never really drops too far below 50 percent until we get up to the 65+ group.

These numbers are from 2015, but there is no real reason to foresee that these numbers in older demographics will decrease. In fact, as newer social media platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram, really start to solidify and become more popular, it will be the younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z that will likely switch and get rid of their Facebook accounts, but the older generations will stick with Facebook.

The reality of the situation is that social media is now starting to fully mature. It has a long way to go before we see the extent of what social media can offer digital marketers, but in 2018 we are at least seeing it become an accepted marketing platform for all age groups.

Now social media for business is not a recent development. Advertisements have been going on for some years now. However, it is really only in the past two years that we have seen other industries like politics, healthcare, law enforcement, and many others truly adapt and accept social media as a way to reach the masses, regardless of age group.

We see social media being used to deliver and start conversations on major pieces of legislation, on major events, to make serious allegations, and most importantly to marketing professionals, it is used to help formulate major business decisions and marketing strategies.

In order to help you establish your marketing plan for the coming year, we will give you 7 tips on how to properly target different demographics on your social media advertising based on 2018 marketing trends.

1.       Produce Valuable Content

Part of the reason why marketers see social media as a place for younger demographics is that content that is good for social media tends to be fun, light, easily shareable, and easy to read. The problem though is that marketers are confusing these characteristics with content that is not valuable. Content that is fun and easy to read can also be extremely valuable to the reader.

When targeting different demographics on social media, make sure that if you want to target a more mature audience that you are producing more mature content that this audience will find engaging and useful. 2018 will see a trend in marketing where people use social media to make decisions on issues that truly impact their lives.

For example, on Facebook, you can now get a recommendation on what nursing home to put your aging parents in. Someone on social media for this purpose is not taking these considerations lightly, so content directed at them should be thoughtful and informative as opposed to simply “fun”.

Facebook recommendations were only introduced towards the end of 2016 and early 2017. The true value of Facebook recommendations will be an important trend in 2018, so use them to your advantage in your marketing efforts over the next year.

2.       Don’t just have a call to action…Inform!

Mature generations are not going to be moved to action simply because of a standard CTA. They will move if they are given enough information on the subject. The things that matter to these individuals are topics such as family, career, health, financial stability, home ownership, etc.

If you really want to get these individuals click through on your ad, you need to really provide valuable insight on these serious topics, while still staying within the confines of a social media platform. You can do this by focusing on producing valuable content that will inform them and let them see your brand as a valuable and reliable resource in an important subject area.

In 2018 marketing trends, expect to see content, copy, and advertisements that really inform and inspire on important topics that will truly impact people’s lives.

3.       Focus on influencers of all different demographics

People will often only listen to someone around the same age or older than they are. Therefore, if you want to target older generations with influencer marketing, make sure that you are reaching out to someone who is in the demographic range that you want to target. The fact remains that a 45-year-old will probably not care what a 21-year-old has to say, especially on important subjects. So, be open-minded about who you reach out to as an influencer and don’t discount influencer marketing as something that only “millennials do”.

It’s pretty obvious to see that guys like Gary Vaynerchuk are not millennials, and there is a reason that people listen to him for real business and investing advice. He is an established business professional who has built and invested in extremely profitable organizations. People listen to him because he has done it before, where if he was a young 20-year-old, he would not have the same experience and his influence in the business world would be less powerful.

Mature influencer marketing is going to be a serious marketing trend in 2018

4.       If you want to target career-minded business professionals, use LinkedIn…Properly

I see this time and time again on LinkedIn. People write content and share it on LinkedIn without really considering why people use LinkedIn in the first place. LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals. Everything that LinkedIn does is geared towards employment and career advancement. Therefore, if you are looking to create content for LinkedIn, make it relevant to someone’s career or working life. LinkedIn is not the place to be creating fun content that people will share and peruse on their off days.

If you want to create content for LinkedIn that will be successful in 2018, try focusing on tying it in with some online learning information, informative e-book, fact sheets, career meetups, or anything else that could help advance someone’s skill set and career development.

Anything that will help someone’s career development will gain traction on this platform. The click-through-rate on advertisements for career development related material will be the highest on LinkedIn versus any other social media platform.

5.       Instagram is king when it comes to rich media, but Facebook is king for information

Now a lot of people think that Instagram is the new Facebook in terms of being the King of social media. This is not true! What Instagram does is it has taken over the rich media aspect that Facebook used to control, and it does a better job in this area than Facebook did.

Instead of looking at this as taking away from Facebook, we should merely see it as a way for Facebook to mature into a true social networking community where people can share and interact with large groups of other users for serious discussions on important topics.

Obviously, we are not saying that you cannot advertise on Instagram, far from it! However, advertising on Instagram should focus on good presentation and appearance, where Facebook advertising can be more informative and more serious since it can be targeted at Facebook groups where users share specific interests and want to gather to share information with each other.

It should also be noted that Instagram is more popular amongst younger audiences than Facebook. This is likely due to the fact that Facebook has matured beyond its playful origins. Therefore, for your 2018 marketing plan, make sure that your social media marketing efforts reflect the difference in demographics and the difference in usage on these platforms.

However, Facebook started out being popular with younger generations and then gained traction with older generations. There is no reason to believe that this will not be the case with Instagram. Look for Instagram gaining traction amongst older individuals to be a 2018 marketing trend as well.

6.       Snapchat is good to target younger generations…as long as you can frequently put out new content

Similar to Instagram, Snapchat is very popular with younger audiences. However, this platform is more conducive to short video clips as opposed to actual conversations between users. Therefore, if you want to gain traction here in 2018, make sure that you are putting out new content at least once a day and preferably multiple times a day. The videos are not long, so in order to gain traction, you have to make up for it in the frequency of the content being produced.

Snapchat advertisers that do not post frequently will get lost in the shuffle of the abundance of other videos being created.

Also, beware that a redesign of Snapchat’s user interface is apparently coming, so before you solidify your Snapchat marketing efforts for 2018, take this change into consideration and be prepared for what the change will bring to the platform. It has been rumoured that this redesign has a goal of appealing to older generations by making it easier to use, so before the end of 2018, we could see the demographics of Snapchat also shift towards older age groups as well.

7.       Personalization and marketing automation are necessities

If you do not already, you need to start using a marketing automation software ASAP. Marketing automation software will allow your 2018 marketing plan to be as effective as possible.

By automating your marketing workflows and other marketing tasks, you can allow for personalization in your marketing efforts, without taking on the gargantuan task of contacting all of your leads and customers individually.

Marketing automation allows you to target leads, nurture leads, and manage leads all without having to really keep track of who these users are. This will allow you to successfully market to different demographics based on their interests, buying behavior, interaction with your brand, and any other freely available information.

Personalization is going to be seen as a necessity in 2018 marketing trends, and without it, your marketing approach will be seen as ineffective and stale. Also, marketing automation will allow you to strategically show specific content to potential customers based on where they are in the buying cycle and based on their interaction with your brand. This will help you close more sales, and it will prevent unnecessary work from both your marketing and sales teams, which can help you optimize your budget.

If your marketing plan takes these tips into consideration, your 2018 will be right on track to take advantage of the biggest marketing trends of 2018 in your effort to market to different demographics.