A recent report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 32% of people aged 50 to 64 use at least one social networking site on a regular basis. We are seeing a big increase in these numbers from only one year ago, and the numbers are increasing every day.
The first piece of advice I give to companies and organizations marketing to seniors, boomers and caregivers is: Don’t underestimate the older generation – they are online too!
How are Baby Booomers using social media, and for what reasons?
- To stay connected. Baby Boomers use social media to connect with the things and the people they are interested in. This includes family, friends and colleagues; political issues; organizations they support; hobbies; travel; you name it.
- To conduct a job search. In 2012, retirement is not a reality for everyone. People are not assured a comfortable standard of living anymore when they reach 65. Baby Boomers use social media sites to help find jobs, to seek referrals, to post resumes and to conduct research on potential employers.
- For entertainment. It’s not all looking up photos of the grandkids – Baby Boomers go on YouTube and watch funny videos just like you do!
- For support and for fun. ActiveEmptyNesters.com, a social networking website designed specifically for the baby boomer generation, launched in 2011. Ronald Mercier, the site’s creator and founder, has made it his mission “to help his generation stay involved in, and educated on, the rapidly changing technology of today’s modern world.” Baby Boomers want to be connected to other Baby Boomers, and they are finding ways to do so.
- To stay current. Baby Boomers don’t want to get left in the dust. They want to be relevant, to know what’s going on in the world, and to experience news and events in real time.
How to reach Baby Boomers online?
- Get on social media. Join LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups and Facebook pages that include large concentrations of your target market.
- Create relevant content. The best bets for getting boomers and caregivers interested in your content is to create blogs or videos that relate to their life or work-style. Publish a white paper that people can only access by signing up for your email newsletter or by liking your page on Facebook. Create an infographic that can be shared across social networks. Be creative.
- Encourage interaction. if you’re looking for feedback and contributions from the Boomers themselves – like comments or criticisms – make that process extremely simple. Do not introduce overly complex sign up forms or opt-in processes. Instead, encourage low-effort contributions such as star ratings, the Facebook like button and easy to find social media sharing buttons.
- Use niche social networks. Marketers can also look into reaching boomers through social networks now – specifically those favored by this generation like Classmates Online, Eons, BOOMj.com, TeeBeeDee, and even the AARP’s online community.
My advice? Ignore the Baby Boomers at your own peril. Any savvy digital marketing plan should build in ways to connect with older generations, not just the young.
NOTE: This originally appeared as a guest blog on the MDS blog.
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