Are You Obsolete? 3 Soothing Thoughts for Boomers and Social Media Marketing

Burgess Meredith as The Obsolete Man

The age of technology disruption may have many a USAmerican boomer feeling like a foreigner in their own culture. When it comes to Boomers and Social Media Marketing, as client Lauren Chesley of The Stuff of Life Blog says, “we may not have grown up with it, but we won’t grow old without it.”

I read something this morning that has me in a tizzy, from Gian LaVecchia in Adweek (yeah, duly noted that this is from the 11/9 print edition that I sat in my “to do” pile and just read yesterday) “We’ve all become quite comfortable acknowledging what’s now a widely adopted common truth–the velocity of change in modern media culture is so fundamentally disruptive that adapting to the shift is no longer a matter of choice but an absolute necessity for marketers’ long-term sustainability and survival.”  (Is your Media Agency Operating at the Speed of Culture?)

Who is this “we” who has become quite comfortable? Because for me, it is freaking me out! As someone who regularly gives talks on “The Why’s and How’s of Social Media for Business,” I am still talking to people in an older demographic about basics of social media and how it can super-charge what they are doing in ‘real-life.’ And then, in the same issue of Adweek is an article about using SnapChat for recruitment and pitching new business.

Being the mom of a teenager…I get it. Modes of communication as driven by new generations are meant to outsmart the adults. Facebook was sneaky and cool until your parents friended you; so then you move to a channel that only works on a cell phone or mobile device; but then 40-60 year old women love the visual photos and the kids move again–Snapchat….either their parents/adults won’t remember where they saw something, or by the time they find their reading glasses, the message will be gone!

If I can calm my nerves for a minute about fear of becoming obsolete before 5 pm today, there are 3 thoughts designed to be reassuring:

  1. Strategy Comes First…

    The old just because you can (or in this case, maybe can’t just yet) doesn’t you should. There’s only so much time in the day, and not all platforms are appropriate for your real life business.

  2. Go Where Your Client Is…

    Each of the social media platforms has its own demographics for popularity by age, gender, etc. And, sometimes your client might be down the street from you, and targeted in “real life.” The more clearly you can define your target client (if you say you can serve everyone…you will end up serving no one). Here’s Pew Research’s 2015 social media demographics study to help.

  3. Don’t be afraid to be a “late adopter.”

    If you are a huge company with a big budget, you do want to be on the cutting edge–with your promotions driving new technology. But if you are a local small business, you may want to wait and see how others are using the new communication modes–while you continue to implement and measure what you are doing. Yes, you will be entering the game later than others, but with good advisers and partners (e.g. you don’t have to do it on your own) you can catch up and make it work for you. There’s always a sense of urgency that you have to jump on the train right away, but careful watching means you will understand the benefits and values, learn from others’ mistakes, and be planful about your approach.

And when all else fails, call your mother. She’ll either make you feel like the most important person in the world, or call you a genius for everything you do know about technology and social media, or perhaps she’ll just annoy you so much you’ll forget about the other things that were annoying you.

Still nervous? Go back to work and do what you do best. Produce great work, fulfill a need, help someone else and take good care of your clients. And, if that’s “old-fashioned,” sign me up.