Social Media & Seniors - The Rules Are Changing

First off, let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I abhor the term “Senior” in the context of someone over the age of 65. I realise it is a tried, true and accepted term but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

A senior is someone in their last year of high school or college, or someone who has achieved a senior status i.e. Senior Copywriter, etc., but not someone who just happens to be of a certain age. 


Anyway, I wanted to share some interesting findings courtesy of the Pew Internet & American Life Project:

  • One in three online seniors uses social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn
  • From April 2009 to May 2011, social networking site use among internet users ages 65 and older grew 150%, from 13% in 2009 to 33% in 2011 
  • Half of adults ages 65 and older are online

These are all very telling numbers for sure. 

If this age group, 65+ is in your target demo it may be time to revisit your strategy for if you’re not including an online/social/digital aspect to your overall strategy you could very well be missing a wealth of opportnities.

Lower the “Boom”

Now before you start running off at the mouth with “But Steve, unless you’re selling medicare health insurance, funeral plots or Efferdent, why would anyone have 65+ in their target demo?” I have two things to say.

1. You’re an idiot.

2. You’re a huge idiot. 

In case you haven’t noticed people are living a lot longer than they used to and while this doesn’t necessarily translate into more disposable income as someone gets older, it does mean you should at the very least consider the fact that more and more 65+ folks are online and using social media just like a lot of others who are younger. 

The other factor in all of this are the Baby Boomers. 

Last year the first of the Boomers turned 65 and given what we know about Boomers and how much net worth they have – they control 70% of the total net worth of American households – $7 trillion of wealth, it’s probably a good idea for marketers and advertisers to look at those in the 65, 66 demo a little different – let alone ALL those in the 65+ group.

So, to recap… you have more and more 65+ people in general using social media and going online than ever before plus you have the initial influx of Baby Boomers who are surely going to be even more active online and socially then those slightly older. 

If you’re a marketer or advertiser, are you targeting 65+?

Are you targeting Baby Boomers?

Will any of the above info change the way you look at your marketing and advertising strategies?

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,TwitterLinkedIn or his website.

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