Business Blog

How Generations Follow Brands on Social


About 1 in 2 Millennials and Gen Xers follow a brand on social media, according to a January 2017 survey of 1,000 Internet users conducted by Sprout Social. The social software firm learned 48.8% of Gen Xers (ages 35 to 54) and 48.6% of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) currently follow brands on social; by comparison, only 24.5% of Baby Boomers (ages 55 and older) reported using social media to follow brands.


Realtree B2B | Generations follow Brands on Social

Facebook is the preferred social network across the three generations, with 43.6% identifying it as the social vehicle of choice. Gen Xers and Baby Boomers chose YouTube as their second favorite social platform, while Instagram was the second favorite platform for Millennials and the favorite platform for those in the 18- to 24-year-old group.


Each generation looks to brands on social for different reasons. Sprout learned Millennials generally do so for entertainment value and information, Gen Xers often look for contests, deals and promotions, while Baby Boomers follow for deals and promotions and information.


Gen Xers and Millennials have the highest engagement with brands they follow, with 32% and 30%, respectively, engaging with a brand at least monthly. Only 14% of Baby Boomers are likely to do so.


Regardless of demographic, once a person follows a brand on social they're likely to make a purchase. Gen Xers are most apt to do so, with 67% of respondents indicating they would be likely to purchase a product from a brand they follow on social media. Sixty-percent of Millennials and 51% of baby boomers also responded positively.



All three generations were more likely to make a purchase after positive social interaction with a brand, with a 14% increase in likelihood across all age groups. The biggest jump occurred with Millennials, who are “6% more likely than any other generation to spend with a brand they have a positive exchange with on social,” according to Sprout Social.


Sprout's Q2 Social Index found that brand personality on social is important, but consumers expect brands to be real above all. Honest, friendly and helpful were the most desired behaviors that consumers want from brands on social.