4 min read
Man holding smart phone that says OK BOOMER

Updating Your B2B Social Media Voice for Younger Generations

Listen up Fam. Your B-2-B social media boujee marketing targeted mostly to Boomers might not be so dank to Gen Z and Millennials. Maybe it’s time your social media campaigns glow-up. amirite.

Okay, depending on what generation you are … this lead either baffled you or made you cringe … and if it made you do both then you might be that rare Boomer with an active TikTok account!

Why risk having all our interns (and offspring!) block our social media posts with this lead?

Hopefully, to prove the point that workforce demographics are shifting as more Baby Boomers retire and greater numbers of Millennials and Gen Z enter – and take control! – of the workplace.

The times are changing and your marketing better change along with it.

Why the Old Marketing Playbook Won’t Cut It Anymore

The traditional "corporate" voice and tactics that may have worked for Boomers will fall flat with Millennials and Gen Z, who have different expectations for how brands should communicate with them on social media.

As a recent article from HubSpot notes, "To create content that resonates with younger audiences, you need to lean into cultural moments, and put your audience at the heart of everything you create."

Why should you care about these younger audiences?

Consider that Gen Z is expected to overtake Boomers in the workforce this year, and Millennials already make up the largest generation in the full-time workforce at 49.5 million workers.

This means your B2B social media marketing should take an audience-first approach, understanding the online culture and communities your target audience is a part of, and authentically participating in a way that provides value and entertainment.

Here are some key strategies to help evolve your B2B social media marketing to be more relevant to Millennial and Gen Z buyers:

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

Before creating any social media content, HubSpot recommends asking yourself:

  • Who is this for?
  • What's my unique angle?
  • How can I connect it to culture?

When shifting your B2B voice to reach younger generations you don’t want to overreach with inauthentic and awkward attempts to “speak Gen Z” – see our lead above as an example of “what not to do”!

HubSpot’s global director of social media Bryna Corcoran explained HubSpot’s shift: “In the beginning, there was a little bit of the 'let's try everything’ method because it was uncharted. So we decided to test a lot: Does our audience gravitate to a Barbie meme? Are we rubbing people the wrong way if we lean into grammatical errors because that’s how Gen Z types?”

This is where HubSpot utilized the three questions above to help focus any new social media posts.

Deeply understanding your specific target audience, developing a distinct brand voice and perspective, and tying your content to trending cultural moments, memes, and topics are key to creating posts that will resonate.

Take an Audience-First, Culturally Relevant Approach

Rather than leading with promoting your products or services, put your audience's interests, challenges, and online culture at the center of your social strategy.

Immerse yourself in the digital communities they are a part of. Listen to their conversations. Observe the content they create and share.

Then look for authentic ways to craft content that fits naturally into their world, using their language, humor, references, and memes.

Your goal should be to build real connections by providing entertaining or helpful content, not to directly sell.

“Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, giving your company an online personality, and humanizing your business – all very powerful factors when it comes to marketing and connecting with potential customers,” advises HubSpot. “While your social media accounts might not convert as frequently as your content or email marketing, they’re just as important. In this case, followers are just as valuable – you never know then they might convert to leads or customers.”

You Gotta Meme Business

Memes have become a major way people, especially younger generations, communicate and bond online.

As HubSpot puts it: "Memes are the language of the internet, and brands need to be fluent if they want to create successful social campaigns."

But diving into using memes can be daunting for B2B brands used to more traditional marketing. The keys are to:

  • Intimately understand the meme and how it's used. Never force a meme where it doesn't fit.
  • Act quickly, before the meme becomes stale and overused. Timeliness is crucial.
  • Give your unique twist to the meme to make it distinct and memorable.
  • Be authentic to your brand voice and values. Don't use memes that don't align.

When used well, memes can help your brand show your sense of humor, be part of cultural moments, and make your content infinitely more shareable, helping you reach new audiences.

Test, Test, Test

Finding the right evolved voice for your B2B brand on social media will require lots of testing, learning, and optimization.

HubSpot advises:

  • Post a variety of content types (memes, tweets, videos, etc.). See what gets the best response.
  • Test different tones, from professional to playful. Find what fits your brand and audience.
  • Track key metrics like shares, comments, and profile views. Learn what content gets the most engagement.
  • Ask for feedback from your audience on what they want to see more of.

Over time, you'll dial in on the right formula for your specific brand and target buyers. But keep testing new things and adapting to new trends to stay relevant.

Time It Right

Timing really is everything and when you post is nearly as important as what you post.

HubSpot and other studies have found the best times to post on social media for engagement are:

  • 9 am - 12 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
  • 11 am - 2 pm on weekends

The worst times are usually:

  • 10 pm - 4 am every day
  • Sunday evening

Of course, if you follow the advice in the above section – test, test, test – then you should test and assess the different times and days you post content and find a posting schedule that best reaches your target audience.

Shares Show You Care

While likes and comments are great, shares are one of the most important metrics to track social media success.

Shares expose your content to a whole new audience. And they show that your content was engaging and valuable enough that the viewer wants others to see it too.

HubSpot notes that younger generations especially value the opinions of their peers and online network.

The more your content gets shared, the more trust and thought leadership your brand can build with your audience.

Don't Play It Safe

Reaching Millennials and Gen Z on social media requires a new playbook. The dry, professional, inoffensive corporate voice most B2B brands default to won't cut it.

You must be willing to show more personality, have an opinion, take a stand for your values, be entertaining, and even be a little edgy or risqué sometimes - in an authentic way, of course.

Heck, you might even try a “cray cray” lead when posting about B2B social media marketing (but we promise to stop as our intern just threatened to lock us out of our social media accounts).

Bottom line: playing it safe is a losing strategy.

Taking a more audience-first approach, participating in cultural trends and memes, showcasing your humanity and sense of humor are key to evolving your B2B brand to resonate with younger buyers on social media.

It will take testing and practice to strike the right chord. But the B2B brands willing to adapt and get creative will be the ones that win the hearts, minds,  and wallets of Millennial and Gen Z buyers.

And come think of it, switching our social media passwords from “ABC123” was a good idea.