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Almost 10 years ago, the internet stopped what it was doing and watched the Wendy’s corporate Twitter account roast everyone from Burger King to complete strangers. This unexpected yet hilarious behavior from a major corporation sparked the great debate: can brands be fun online?

The results were mixed. There were two main schools of thinking: your company could either be traditionally professional on social media, or you could be fun and get attention for your brand. The path you picked depended on a number of factors, such as a company’s purpose and mission, a company’s tolerance for risk and, maybe most importantly, who was behind the keyboard at a company’s marketing department. Today, that debate seems to have finally concluded, because this week, the New York Times announced that brands trying too hard is now officially cringe – the kiss of death for any customer under 30.

FGIA never bought into the ~vibes only~ trend with our social media presence, but this generational change does have me wondering – if younger customers no longer want humor and relatability from their brands, what do they want instead? The article suggests that companies will have a better time reaching younger generations by promoting their ethical business practices and fair wages than they will with memes. Companies in the industry might consider this level of importance, and not just with promoting themselves online. A company’s online presence is becoming more and more important in recruitment and hiring efforts.

The good news is companies can do both at the same time. If your company is doing good works in your community, make sure word gets out on social media. Share photos from food drives and staff volunteer events to show your company culture and what you value. If you are hiring, consider sharing salary information while being transparent about benefits packages to recruit younger workers online. FGIA recently brought back its employee spotlight feature on social media, helping members (and followers) put a face to the names of FGIA staff in their inboxes, giving FGIA more life as an Association.

Vibes are great, but the real way to tap into a market of Millennials and Zoomers is to show you care about being a fair and equitable workplace. Consider this as you make a plan for your company’s social media presence going forward.