How to Explain Social Media Marketing to Staff Baby Boomers

It’s easy for marketers at the supervisory level of an organization to let buzzwords, platform strategies and data matrices carry them away from reality. Meanwhile, their store managers at the customer level are left to wander blindly through tasks without fully understanding even the most basic principles of what they’re being asked to do. When the higher-ups can’t convey their goals, processes, methods and measurements to their teams on the ground, everything falls apart, and nothing reaches its full potential.

If your marketing strategy relies on more than newspaper ads and radio commercials, which it hopefully does, you’ll probably utilize a few different social media platforms. This is the point where you cross over into the new realm of modern marketing, and that scares the Baby Boomer generation of workers. It’s okay, they’re strong and they can overcome their fears. At least, that’s what I learned when I gave a presentation on social media marketing to an audience of about thirty store managers of the Baby Boomer variety and the CEO of their company.

Everyone was friendly, well-fed and happy. So, that helped. Still, the subject matter is touchy. Social media marketing is touchy especially for this generation of workers because it requires different activities than their mandated marketing efforts of the past. Before, driving around and passing out business cards was enough. Now, they might have to tweet things, post pictures and respond to comments. Heaven forbid you ask them for staff-generated content.

At the bottom of it all, the conflict is simple. We’re just not speaking the same language. What follows is a glossary of terms and translations that you can use during your next presentation on social media marketing, especially if your audience is having trouble grasping the subject.

  • Social: something, anything, which involves more than one person.
  • Media: pieces of information, for example- writing, imagery, sound or video.
  • Social Media: many people sharing many pieces of information, online normally through a platform
  • Social Media Platforms: companies that give people places to share media through profiles
  • Online Audience: people who pay attention to the media you publish through the platforms

Once your Baby Boomers understand these terms, you can introduce them to the different popular social media platforms you may use in your campaigns. Here is an incredible comparison for making this process as painless as possible.

Social Media is like a giant house, and everyone’s invited to the party we’re hosting!

social media house
Forgive the content strategist who is not a graphic designer, and use this pic as an illustration of the point. It’s an actual slide from my presentation that I gave to my audience of Baby Boomers.

Google+ is like a perfectly carved address marker that maybe holds up your custom made mailbox. It normally shows up first in search results, integrates directly with Google Maps and offers many of the same media features other platforms do. It lets people know exactly where you are, so they know they’re in the right place.

Facebook is like your formal living room. Everything has its perfect place and is purposefully put there to present the best face of you or your company. It says everything about a brand and gives a visitor an excellent overview of the culture.

Twitter is like the old house phone. You use it to communicate short bursts of information and to participate in the conversation with others. It’s how everyone found out about the party in the first place!

LinkedIn is very much your home office. It’s where you keep all things related to your professional life, including that Rolodex (…?) that might still sit on your desk. LinkedIn is where you connect as an individual in the professional world.

Pinterest is every piece of décor you’ve chosen for your house. It’s the art on your walls, the knick knacks on your shelves and the color of your bathroom rug. Each piece represents a story, just like each image pinned in the Pinterest world can link to an article telling your audience about that new product line you’re launching!

When you explain social media to your Baby Boomers in these terms, you’ll start to see the light bulbs illuminate the room you all occupy. Once they see that social media isn’t that difficult, they’ll be more open to learning how their participation can generate more revenue for the organization. Hopefully, their understanding will lead to a little bit of excitement, and you can stoke that flame into a marketing inferno.

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Adrienne is a professional content strategist and a business media expert in Northern Arizona. She specializes in cross-channel marketing that helps small businesses achieve stellar results through effective communication with their target market.

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