The rise of older demographics on social media and how to effectively reach them
Baby Boomers and Gex Xers may have the most disposable income, but they are often overlooked on social media since younger generations have all of the flash.
Social media for older generations / Gerd Altmann/Pixabay
Social media has pretty much taken over the universe, making it difficult to ignore even for older generations. In fact, seven out of ten adults use some form of social media. Aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas have all ventured onto social channels and have become pretty savvy, if they do say so themselves.
For some it’s a way to connect with family, but for others it’s a lifeline into the world outside of their homes. A way to follow along, and yes find out about products they may want or need. Social media is indeed a buyer’s paradise, but not so much for sellers if they can’t reach the demographics that are vital to their bottom line. According to a 2022 survey, 27% of social media users are 50 to 64 years old, while 20% are ages 40 to 49. That’s a huge chunk of users that tend to get passed by when it comes to marketing on social channels.
It’s important to remember that young people have a unique way of using social media, so marketing to older people with the same tactics you use for younger people misses the mark in a big way. Let’s go over five techniques to help you connect with the older demographics in the world of social.
Pick the right channel
We’ve all seen a grandma or two dancing their way around TikTok, but this isn’t actually where they like to hang out. Facebook seems to be the best social media platform for older demographics. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers both command a whopping percentage of Facebook users, with 62% of internet users ages 65 and older utilizing Facebook, and 72% of 50 to 64-year-olds also residing on the channel. Those are big numbers, so channeling marketing dollars to Facebook might not be a bad idea.
Speak their language
‘Word’ on the street isn’t always ‘word’ on social media, especially for older generations. If the lingo you use in your content doesn’t sit well with them, they will abandon you altogether. Using slang, curse words, and trending lingo, can turn them off and cause whatever trust they have in you to falter. Keep things simple, straightforward, and clean. Speak directly to their needs and treat them with the respect they deserve. In turn, they will think more highly of your brand and possibly follow through with a purchase.
Give them time to think
Choose visuals that attract your audience and don’t fly by them at the speed of light. If you’re creating video or audio content for your advertising, make sure to slow it down a bit for older viewers. Not that they can’t understand what you are telling them, most of them are sharp as finely pointed tacks. But Boomers in particular, are known as ‘thinkers’. They don’t assume what you are telling them is true, they need to think their options through and weigh the good and bad. Let your advertising give them time to do that. Even better, have follow-up options for them to do more research. The better they know your brand or product the higher chances of them opting to purchase.
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Create shareable content
We all have a relative that loves to share everything we post. No matter how mundane, or how little you may actually see them, they share our content to their hearts content. As a brand, it’s up to you to also create content that older demographics want to share. Emotions are key here. Make sure your content gives people the ‘feels’, and tugs at heartstrings in a multitude of ways. Remember, Boomers, and Gen Xers may not see their families as often as they would like, so content that helps them feel included or loved is highly shareable.
All generations have their share of ups and downs, but older demographics particularly have rough histories to contend with. World War II, The Depression, racial inequity and violence, and natural disasters are just a small sample of what they may have endured during their lives. How you market to them can have an unintended impact if you aren’t sensitive to such things. The main thing is to treat them with respect and allow them to preserve their dignity. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely valuable members of society. It’s when advertisers forget this fact that these generations turn away from them.
While social media channels don’t typically cater to older generations, they are important avenues to reach them so don’t miss out. Create content that speaks to their needs and desires, and you will find an entire legion of people who want to sing your brand’s praises and share them with the world.
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