Social Media and the Baby Boomer Generation

A key question should come up during your marketing meetings when planning out your digital strategy. The question you should be asking is, “Should we market to the baby boomer generation?” Is someone’s grandmother really on Facebook looking to be persuaded into buying an item or trying to select a specific service they need? Perhaps 5 years ago the answer would be no. Or maybe even as recently as 2 or 3 years ago. However, right now there are more baby boomers on social media than ever before. To fail to market to this generation would be to automatically hurt your business. You’re missing out on a gigantic demographic.

The Silver Surfers

The aptly named “Silver Surfers” are flocking to social media in tremendous numbers. In fact, according to DMN3, 82.3% of baby boomers belong to at least one social media platform. The dominant platform so far has been Facebook. However, this might lead you to believe that the older generation had just created their own profile and left it as is. That is not the case. One Colorado University study has proven that baby boomers spend about 27 hours online a week. Oddly enough, this is two more hours than those who are between the age of 16 and 34. This generation has certainly adopted social media much like the generations before them. It just took a little more time for them to do so.

That being said, there are certain platforms that just don’t appeal to baby boomers. Social channels such as Twitter and Instagram don’t get used as much as Facebook and Pinterest. The answer might lie in the presentation of information. For Facebook and Pinterest, it’s much more organized. When the older generation goes online, a lot of their action is focused on finding more information, according to DMN3. The top two actions following a baby boomer’s use of social media are “Visited company website” and “Continued search on search engine.” It’s much easier to continue researching a topic or story or even a project on Facebook or Pinterest.

On the other hand, Twitter and Instagram are just a wall noise. It’s cluttered and can take you on a wild goose chase of images and stories before you find what you’re looking for. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its place and purpose. If your company is capable of pumping out interesting articles or eye-popping photography or content, you’re going to stand out amongst all the rest. However, if you’re trying to to specifically market to a specific generation, like the baby boomers, your message may fall on deaf ears.

Key Takeaways

The main piece of advice you should heed is that baby boomers are certainly on social media. There’s no reasons to NOT include them in your marketing messages. In doing so, you’re alienating a gigantic chunk of potential customers. However, it’s also important to note what channels you’re using to push your message. Some are more effective than others. Digital marketing is much more meticulous than running an ad in the paper or creating a direct mail piece. You can use each one to your advantage, as opposed to simply hoping a lot of people see it. With social media, you can acquire a large audience on your own. You just need to carefully craft your message and make sure it’s sent to the right audience!