Can you age out of social media?

MarketingProfs shared this data, noting the LinkedIn isn’t cool with the kids. And while this information is interesting, any concern over LinkedIn’s “aged” user-base ignores  some very basic marketing principles.Your audience isn’t everyone. And if it is, you need some marketing help immediately.

In this BuzzFeed post, Charlie Warzel suggests there’s some “migration” of younger users to other social networks. What we don’t have here is some kind of mysterious social phenomenon. The simple reality is this: companies don’t really use LinkedIn to hire new grads. The benefit of LinkedIn is search: targeting people based on their experience and skills. The fewer skills and experience required, the less effective LinkedIn is for recruiting. So this thing? Where the younger people aren’t flocking to LinkedIn to look for career opportunities? It’s because the employers aren’t looking for them there either. It’s because these smart job-seekers are focusing their attention where they can build relationships with companies to differentiate themselves from the bajillion other new grads at any moment.

Reddit and LinkedIn simply aren’t competing for the same eyeballs. You have to take into account factors like usage scenarios and tone. For example, people use LinkedIn for job-hunting and business development, so of course the target audiences are older. People use Facebook for sharing pictures of their dinner and cyberstalking high school classmates (and who doesn’t want to do that?).

So my point is this: don’t accept data like this as a simple indicator of “coolness” among age groups, as if there’s something wrong if the twenty-somethings don’t think ur kewl lolz. Age is a relatively minor component in the understanding of your target audiences. More important, when selecting the appropriate social media channel for your marketing, are the behaviors and needs of your target audience (which may or may not be influenced by age). It’s why you don’t see companies selling office supplies on Facebook, and why hardly anyone is LOLzing over on LinkedIn.