Senior Citizens: The Fastest Rising Demographic on Social Media

Facebook for seniorsDid you know that 43% of senior citizens are currently using at least one social media network? In fact, senior citizens have become the fastest rising group to adopt the use of social media. While they still lag behind other age groups, 43% is a huge leap from the mere 1% who were present on social media in 2008. With seniors joining Facebook and Twitter in increasing numbers, people are beginning to recognize them as a new target group for advertising. While only a few brands have been successful so far, social media marketing geared toward senior citizens has great potential.

The Stats on Seniors

So, how are senior citizens using social media? Along with being the group that is most quickly growing on social media networks, they also have an average net worth 47 times greater than that of households with adults who are between ages 35-65. Right now, 39 million senior citizens are using Twitter, Skype, and Facebook. They represent 11% of all users on Facebook, and 13% of adults over age 50 are also on Twitter.

Understandably, senior citizens largely use social media to connect with their family as well as old friends. This represents 40% of senior users. 30% use social media to share photos, while 20% participate in social gaming and 10% enjoy games and contests. In particular, senior citizens have discovered Twitter as a good source of news and health information.

Two Successful Brands

Two brands have reportedly seen success in marketing campaigns targeted toward senior citizens on social media: AARP and Merrill Gardens. AARP is a logical non-profit to see success in this area, as they provide various benefits to senior citizens. AARP has over 1 million Facebook likes as well as 62,000 followers on Twitter, and they have proven much more successful at connecting with senior citizens than other brands.

Merrill Gardens is also geared toward senior citizens, as they are a leader in assisted living facilities. The company has over 50 communities that house over 7,000 senior citizen residents. Merrill Gardens has seen success in connecting with both senior citizens and their children. They utilize social media to enable senior citizens to be involved in various events and to provide their families with updates.

Targeting Tips

What exactly makes for a successful marketing campaign directed at senior citizens? Studies have shown that as a demographic, senior citizens respond well to images as well as stories. They do not connect as well with promotions for various services. This means that good social media marketing for senior citizens should shy away form direct self-promotion and instead lean toward interactive content that provides a simple message through images. In addition, marketers should utilize stories that end with a call to action.

How do you plan on marketing toward senior citizens?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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