There is a general acceptance that the older generations are not digital natives. They are not to be found easily online, and marketing strategies tend to bias more traditional routes to this market. It is not overly presumptuous to believe that those unfamiliar with newer technologies are unlikely to be found for hours on end on their smart devices. However, COVID-19 changed everything in many ways, and seniors developed a greater reliance on technology as traditional support networks of shops, restaurants, and social gathering spaces closed.
For those smart to the changing trends, this shift in behaviour presents an opportunity for targeting the over-60s, and their disposable income, via social media. The fashion and food sectors have led the way, understanding that these essentials were still required even in lockdown. What can we learn from these successes, and how can we maximise this new digital market?
Marketers are most likely to find this senior generation on Facebook. Pew found that 62% of internet users over 65 used the social media platform, and 72% of those in the 50 to 64-year-old bracket. Most of these users tend to share posts from others rather than post original content themselves. Many were drawn to the new local strategy of small community groups on Facebook.
Local businesses could easily use these trends, posting news stories about their products that their target market could share. Also, attention could be garnered by posting opinion pieces encouraging engagement from this older market.
Choosing the right platform for the right content is crucial for your more senior audience. LinkedIn is significantly more successful for sharing business-related items and for becoming influential in your field for this target market. While this is less relevant for those over 65, the 50-plus age group tend to look to this space much more than younger markets.
Beware when using LinkedIn as a marketing tool that you use it in the way that the senior audience feel is appropriate. LinkedIn has a reputation for high-quality content that drives forward-thinking. Anything frivolous will be counter-productive and likely damage the value of a brand.
Twitter and Pinterest
It is interesting how demographic groups find their place and how Twitter has become a place to engage with Gen X and Baby Boomers. While Twitter is a poor-performing social media platform compared to many others, companies have successfully engaged older audiences in chats on this site. The trick here is to spark interest in something contentious, where the audience will have something to say, and it is an issue authentically related to your brand.
For those looking to sell clothing or homeware to the older generations, Pinterest is the place to begin, especially if women are a core demographic. When buying online, many look through images on Pinterest to find the item that resonates with them before going to the store and buying. Use it well, and Pinterest could easily be your shop window.
Getting your posts right
Once you have found the right place for your post, it is time to compose your message carefully. Like any demographic, you need to target them with good tactics, sound language choices and powerful motivators.
Some of the basics here are obvious. Your Baby Boomer generation will not appreciate crude or suggestive language, and you need to avoid current jargon or slang. Simple descriptions with clear suggestions of benefits are the best way to go.
You need to be clearer with your call to action to this older generation, making the next steps in the sales funnel self-evident. This generation may also be more suspicious of offers or new products, so a free trial or other freebies will be effective.
In terms of tactics, steer clear of fear, as it will be met with cynicism and maybe even anger by this demographic. And be sure to use video to support your original post. YouTube videos offering demonstrations and how-to tips will be beneficial when targeting a senior demographic. They are more likely to want to see how it works before purchasing other groups who may be more likely to impulse buy.
There is an opportunity to target seniors online, and social platforms should not be ignored in this process. Adapt your tactics and messaging to your demographic, and you will find more success than you imagine on social media.