Middle Age meets the Digital Age at Resch Strategies

What are you kids looking at?

We have fresh talent at the Resch Strategies office. Young and savvy, they bring oodles of new ideas and tactics to our work, so we’re sure to deliver for our clients.

But GOSH they make me feel old sometimes.

For the record, I’m not all that old. Sure, I have vivid memories of the ‘76 bicentennial and of the cool bouffant hairdo my mom wore. And maybe I did play with lawn darts and other sharp, often rusty metal toys that made tetanus and/or impalement the primary health concerns of my childhood.    

But old? Not so much.

I think a lot of us get to feeling this way, though, especially when it comes to social media. We tend to think of digital communication tools as belonging to hipsters and teens, rather than as a critical tool for corporate messaging, outreach and PR.

We need to get over that. It’s okay to be a middle-aged person who happens to enjoy a strong social media presence—and to be comfortable building a healthy digital presence for our professional organizations.

Too often, I’ll be meeting with someone who tells me, “We don’t need to worry about social media because our primary audience is over 35.” Really? Do people over 35 not like to have fun connecting online? As far as I’m concerned, anything that doesn’t involve a trip to the ER or a tetanus shot (“better safe than sorry, Steph”) is a rollicking good time.

And the data are with me on this one. Business Insider reports that more and more of us “old folks” than ever are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest. Especially Facebook: comScore says less than two-fifths of Facebook's adult user base in the U.S. is aged 18 to 34. And nearly half of all adults aged 65 or better are on Facebook, according to Pew Research.

Many people know of my own love/hate relationship with Facebook. I loudly quit the app in 2013—I made a huge stink, actually, telling everyone how I preferred ACTUAL interaction to that of the digital variety—only to rejoin in 2015 when personal and professional circumstances made it necessary (so much for bringing Edwardian social norms back into vogue).  Since then, I have begun to embrace new technologies like Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine and more.

As I do, a world of new communications opportunities continues to unfold before my eyes. It’s amazing to envision how Resch clients can begin to leverage all these different tools to support their messaging. Here’s middle-aged me, scratching at the very tip of the iceberg:

·         Snapchat

All you have to do is follow a single news outlet on Snapchat’s storytelling channel to see how short blurbs and videos can be strung together. It’s immediate, dynamic and readily produced, making it a hugely entertaining way of reaching audiences. While it’s still identified with younger demographics, I think that’s going to change as we old fogeys realize its creative power.

·         Instagram

You don’t have to be a Kardashian to be on Instagram (trust me on this one). But you can take a page from the family’s playbook and use the channel to show your best…er….assets.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and, when it comes to your brand identity, they’re right. You have plenty to photograph—your people, your work, your facilities, your results. Even if it’s just a smiling client, it’s worth sharing.

·         GIF Keyboard

Okay, so this isn’t exactly social media, but it’s a whopping load of fun. You can add a GIF keyboard to your phone and make your text messages infinitely more entertaining. The entire Resch team now communicates in heavy GIF mode, and it’s made our work much more fun! After all, what’s more interesting: “Nice Work!” or this:

See how easy it is? And how creative?

I should mention at this point there is a 16-year-old living in my house. He is actually more of a Luddite than I am—and he thinks my constant online play is humiliating. As I’m making faces at my Snapchat screen and lip-syncing along with 80s music on Dubsmash, he is wishing the floor would open up and swallow him whole.

But yep, I’ve long since become that embarrassing mom who doesn’t really care. I don’t think I’m prepared to give up digital fun in exchange for “acting my age,” and I’m definitely not going to give up finding new ways of helping our clients tell their stories.

After all, it’s fun, it’s free, and there’s absolutely zero risk of impalement.

-Stephanie Van Koevering