Recently I was an guest on a local radio station. While we touched upon a lot of key points during my interview, there was a consistent focus that seemed to weave itself throughout our conversation: understanding the role of online users over the age of 45. While there are some organizations that market to this generation (and beyond) effectively, all too often, so many businesses mass categorize their more mature customers as simply being, well, okay, I’ll say it out-loud…old!
This mindset has somehow carried on into the social media marketing arena. Entrepreneurs in almost any industry are quick to (wrongfully) assume that anyone outside of the 18-45 year old demographic will not have the Internet savvy needed to connect with their personal networks and embrace all the benefits that social media can offer to them. Instead, these business leaders chose to focus their social media marketing campaigns on younger generations and ignore older online users altogether.
The Numbers Do Not Lie: Some Important Facts About Social Media Users Over Age 45
The belief that users over age 45 are not interested in social media could not be further from reality. Did you know that:
• 55% of Americans between the ages of 45 and 55 have at least one profile on a social media site
• The biggest social media growth of any age group in 2012 was the 45-55 year old demographic
• 81% of baby boomers are now going online (as well as 76% of users in generations older than the boomers!)
What do these statistics mean for your business? If you are not maintaining a steady focus on consumers over the age of 45, you could be missing out on some MAJOR social media marketing opportunities.
Engaging With Online Users Ages 45+ In A Meaningful Way
Of course, simply broadening the scope of your social media marketing campaign is not enough; in order to optimize your marketing ROI, you have to connect with more mature online users in a meaningful way. Rule #1: Never deliver a marketing message that can seem condescending to their age. We have all seen the commercials where Mom and Dad (as well as Grandma and Grandpa) are on the receiving end of an eye-rolling (or two) from their children as they try to teach them the latest gadget or technology. Not only is this approach patronizing, but it is simply not accurate. In order to best connect with older generations, it is important to approach them as the educated, savvy and worldly demographic that they are.
Additionally, when using social media marketing strategies to reach individuals over the age of 45, it is important to connect with them based on their current lifestyle priorities such as family, convenience and privacy. When creating your marketing initiative, ask yourself: Does your business offer a way for older generations to find common ground with their children or grandchildren? Do you provide delivery on your services for optimal convenience and product access? How do you manage the personal information you receive from your online customers? Addressing these factors as part of your core marketing message can help your company engage with older online users in the most positive way possible.