Facebook is not just for kids anymore, nor is LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or the many other popular social media platforms and services. As today's Pew Research Center study entitled "Older Adults and Social Media" concludes, "Social networking use among those ages 50 and older nearly doubled over the past year." In fact, the fastest growing demographic of social networking users consists of Baby Boomers ages 50 to 64. Nearly half (47 percent) of internet users ages 50-64 and about one in four (26 percent) users age 65 and older now use social networking sites, according to the study.
If your business or marketing department has dismissed Facebook and other social networking venues or social media platforms as digital playgrounds for indolent teenagers and twenty-somethings, this Pew Research Center study should be the blaring wake-up call to get you thinking otherwise.
More and more older adults are spending increasing amounts of time on the internet and on social media sites in particular. As you might suspect, they are connecting with old friends, keeping in touch with family members, building personal and professional networks to help find jobs and advance careers, and managing their daily communications. And wherever your company's targeted demographic or secondary market is spending increasing amounts of time, you should be shifting increasing focus on your marketing efforts.
Even if you have a well-established social media presence, this recent study serves to increase awareness of the potential demographic you're reaching via social media. As a result, you may want to revisit your messaging, so it resonates beyond the younger set and has more of cross-generational appeal. In other words, language like "Hey, check this out" or "You guys are gonna love this" might not be your best play.
Assuming you have a business-aligned communication strategy that supports your consumer-related goals, you should already have a strategy for reaching your demographic. If that demographic includes consumers 50 years of age and older, make sure your strategy applies to your social media marketing and consumer-relations efforts as well.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.