Social Media Through Generations


When Facebook started to gain real traction and become largely used, undoubtedly there were countless households that had parents not understanding the appeal of the social media platform.  Older generations typically do not adapt to new technology or social media platforms as quickly or easily as younger generations. However, that does not mean that these older generations do not participate in social media.

Eighty percent of Millennials use Facebook, according to Spectrem Group’s recent report “Investor Behavior and Digital Technology”. This is not surprising as Millennials are typically the first to embrace new technology and social media platforms, which they clearly did in the mid-2000’s with Facebook. This younger generation is in the midst of their career development, so it is logical that 61 percent of Millennials use LinkedIn. This social media platform is typically used for professional networking and career connections. The same percentage of Millennials also use YouTube. This platform is also very commonly used by Millennials slightly older counterpart, Gen X.

Gen X investors can remember times before social media and prolific cell phone use, so although these investors are quick to adapt to various technology and social media platforms, they still do not use the platforms as commonly as Millennials. Nearly two-thirds of Gen X investors use Facebook, while 45 percent are on LinkedIn, and 48 percent are using YouTube. This generation is where the broad acceptance and adaptation of various social media platforms stops, however.

Facebook is used by half of Baby Boomers and 45 percent of WWII investors. These investors are using these social media platforms to connect with old friends or to keep in touch with friends and family. The other social media platforms have not been adapted by this age group, with less than a quarter of Baby Boomers and WWII investors using LinkedIn or YouTube. The newer platforms have even fewer Baby Boomers and WWII investors participating.

Pinterest is used by nearly a quarter of Millennials, while less than 10 percent of Baby Boomers and WWII investors use that platform. Instagram is even more popular among younger investors, with half of Millennials and a third of Gen X investors using this platform, while only 11 percent of Baby Boomers and 7 percent of WWII investors use Instagram. Reddit, Snapchat, and TikTok are still in the developing phase, with 18 percent of Millennials using Reddit and TikTok, while 15 percent use Snapchat. The percentage of Baby Boomers and WWII investors using these platforms is nearly zero.

Are any of these platforms used by wealthy investors to communicate with their financial advisor? Twenty percent of Millennials use Facebook messenger to communicate with their advisor, while 16 percent use LinkedIn, and 12 percent use Twitter. Eight percent of Gen X investors use Facebook messenger and LinkedIn to communicate with their financial advisor.

It is clear that the usage of social media for financial communication is still not very common, even among those investors who regularly utilize these platforms. Investors of all ages will continue to adapt and evolve, as the development of new and advancing social media platforms will continue.