From the, “it’s so crazy it must be true” file, we have a survey from Live Your Message about whether or not social media “grammar” should be taught in schools. Their findings? 1 in 4 Baby Boomers support teaching proper hashtag usage in schools.
#Whatthe . . .?
Marisa Murgatroyd, the founder of Live Your Message speculates that the reason so many Boomers think hashtags should be taught in school is because they, themselves, don’t understand its proper usage.
She goes on to say;
“Using hashtags requires education. Companies who market to Boomers and use hashtags (and other forms of social media grammar and punctuation) in their marketing should consider educating their market on what these symbols mean. [But] because marketing departments are often staffed with 20-something professionals, hashtag understanding is assumed, and as a result this type of consumer education is often overlooked.”
But wait. . . I say. If we teach it in school’s now, it’s still too late to reach the Baby Boomers who don’t get it. Basically, we’d be preaching to the hashtag, text speak loving choir. What am I missing here?
Let’s move on.
Apparently, it’s not just age that is an issue. The survey also found that 80% of urban / suburban respondents knew what a hashtag was but 1 in 3 rural dwellers didn’t have a clue.
The survey uncovered a similar divide across income lines: Respondents earning less than $75,000 per year are 3 times less likely to know what a hashtag is, when compared to those earning $75,000 or more.
“The message is clear. For companies who market to rural consumers, consumers who earn less than $75,000 per year, or Baby Boomers – it’s not safe to assume your market understands what a hashtag means. And when you confuse your market, you also risk alienating your customer base.”
Or, here’s another take on this information. Baby Boomers, impoverished people and rural dwellers with limited access to the internet aren’t following brands on Twitter in the first place. So, it really doesn’t matter if they understand hashtags or not because they aren’t exposed to them on a daily basis.
Marketers, it’s your job to customize your message to suit the needs of your customer. If you’re selling medical supplies to senior citizens, then maybe you shouldn’t be using Twitter hashtags at all. If you’re selling skateboards to tweens, they’ll get your message, even if you don’t put #luvtoskate on every post.