Sales & Marketing

How to handle the parents that have hijacked social media

4 min read

24 April 2015

In a strange twist of epic social media proportions, parents are more likely to use social media to engage with businesses than their "digitally native" children. Does this mean changing the way you interact with consumers? Gnatta suggests sticking to the personalisation guns.

According to a survey, conducted by social media software company Gnatta, those aged 35-44 are the most likely to engage with companies on social channels, with 14.7 per cent using social media as their preferred way to communicate with businesses. 

In comparison, 11.4 per cent of 25-34 year-olds, and only 11 per cent of 18-24 year-olds, stated that social media was their preferred method.

These results may come as a surprise, as the digitally native younger generation have stalked and staked their claim on social media. However, with these statistics proving otherwise, it is time businesses re-thought how they engaged with the older generation of consumer.

The new rules

According to Gnatta, the first rule of marketing is “know your audience” and this should not be forgotten when businesses use social media. With cyberspace becoming increasingly saturated by brands desperate to make their voices heard, the best way to cut through the noise is to engage with those who will be the most receptive.

In this case, not only are those within the 35-44 age bracket more active than businesses may have previously assumed, one in ten over the age of 65 prefer to use online social channels as a way of making their consumer voice heard.

The trends have been pointing to older generations jumping on Facebook for a while. In fact, the latest numbers from Pew suggested that over half of internet users over 65 use Facebook.

This may suggest that brands need to stop being “hip and trendy”. The majority of social media addicts, if you like, are really after practicality and personal communication.

However, partly as a direct consequence of their increasing reliance on such platforms, “parents”, as Gnatta class them, also use social media to voice their complaints. And the tricky part revolves around the expectation that complaints should be answered in under 24 hours. 

This means that businesses need to concoct new ways of responding as quickly as possible.

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One of the most valuable nuggets of wisdom that Gnatta has to offer is that the most successful brand leaders are those which make their customers feel special. It may take a while, but responding to each individual personally and by acknowledging the complaint or answering their question, you will make your customers feel valued.

Failure to maintain good customer relations chime a death knoll for your business.

Online communities now have a louder voice than ever before and one bad customer experience can very soon become the brush which tars your brand. Therefore, for success to be maintained, it is vital that every customer experience is a good one.

If your businesses in growing this will seem like a mammoth task, but with the wrath of the “mummy blogger” posing a very real threat to your reputation, it is vital you take the necessary steps to effectively monitor your online presence. 

So what is the solution? According to Gnatta, there are platforms out there which allow you to automate Twitter and automatic email responses have been around for a while, but if you really want to transform the customer experience it will take more than a robotic response. 

In a society where the personal touch is increasingly being lost, the apparent secret sauce to the “parent” generation is demonstrating a knowledge of your audience and providing a one-to-one relationship which will put your businesses on the path to success.

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