October 25, 2010 Leave a Comment
As a follow-up to our post discussing the statistics behind seniors and social networking, we wanted to explore the logical next step, which is what these statistics mean and how companies should explore utilizing this medium.
The numbers are clear. The percentage of swing generation, big boomer and little boomer members that are on social networks have been trending upwards for years. But, not only are they on social networks, they are participating as well. Therefore, companies that are looking for new methods to increase brand awareness amongst seniors should be utilizing social media as a component of their communications plan.
Companies that are starting to use social media should consider partnering with experts in order to do it properly. In general, the basics are simple. Create profile pages on different sites, do opposition research, create a message calendar, etc. However, the difficulty lies in the procedure, appropriate messaging and the level of investment, all of which needs to be customized based on company goals and industry focus.
For example, one suggestion we have for those just getting into social media is targeting demographically-specific sites. There are an array of social networks that have been developed specifically for seniors. About55.com and Eons.com (founded by Jeff Taylor, creator of Monster.com) are examples of online communities aimed at connecting seniors in the same way the mainstream social media channels do. Additionally, there are sites like seniorpeoplemeet.com that exist to connect seniors romantically, as well as blogs like AARP’s ShAARP. These sites are unique ways to reach this demographic and can help perfect a methodology for how your organization should use social media. They also have the added benefit of being cost-feasible.
However, the downside to senior-specific sites is that there is a shelf life. While all of social media will be consistently evolving, sites like these – which piggy-backed on mainstream social networking sites to target seniors to help with their initial foray into the medium – may not have a long-term future because targeting age in social media is different that targeting other traits. Unlike traits like industry expertise or heritage, there is less of a chance of migration of users. For example, if a person changes careers, there is a great chance they will change their social media bookmarks to suit their new career. However, when non-seniors eventually become seniors, the chance of them switching to age-specific social media channels is unlikely. They will likely stick with the sites they know and have gotten used to.
Studies have indicated that the current generation of baby boomers is worth over $2 trillion. But, despite this number, there has been a limited number of new, viable methods to market to this demographic. Social media is now one and companies need to partner with industry experts to determine the proper strategy for tapping this market.
Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.