A significant percentage of marketing campaigns have a tendency to focus on the younger and middle-aged markets, judging by the advertisements across different channels.
Yet, businesses have good reason to reach out to seniors as well. Seniors constitute a significant and growing percentage of the population, and they have significant spending power because of retirement funds.
Social media is thus a crucial channel for many businesses to target appropriately, as seniors are active on these platforms, even though one might assume otherwise.
Here, we look at why just about any company should have a strategy to connect with seniors through social media platforms, and offer some tips on how to successfully target this demographic.
Seniors and social media.
One of the most compelling reasons organizations should look into social media engagement with seniors is because seniors are active on these platforms. But just how active are they?
In the US, 51% of adults aged 51-64 and 16% of adults aged 65+ said they use at least one social media site. And according to Synthesio, 41% of Facebook users are 65+. In the UK, 73% of 55-64 year olds and 59% of 65-74 year olds surveyed said they had their own social network profile in 2020.
Share of respondents who had their own social network profile in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2015 to 2020, by age*. See yellow colored line is for 65+ age.
In Australia, seniors who use social media spend an average of 12 hours a week on these platforms, totalling 3.3 billion hours each week. 80% or four out of five seniors use social media platforms.
The majority of seniors on social media agree these platforms are beneficial in various ways.
Whether it’s for staying connected, lessening isolation, or staying up-to-date with news, today’s over-50s are embracing social media and seeing its value.
87% say it helps them keep in touch with family and friends. 62% believe using social media reduces their feelings of isolation, and 66% agree it supports them in staying informed about news and current affairs.
Why seniors are an important demographic?
Seniors are a crucial demographic for social media targeting (and targeting across different channels) for a few reasons. First, with the aging population, they’re a major and growing segment. For example, as of 2020, 16.1% of the Australian population is 65 years of age or older, which is a consumer market more than four million strong.
Second, they tend to have more wealth than other age groups and therefore potentially more spending power. Baby Boomers, for example, tend to own more property than other age groups. Moreover, about 61% of older adults receive a full-rate pension. Also consider the fact they have no work-related expenses, have finished raising their children, and are likely to have paid off their mortgage.
Third, seniors are enthusiastic about a wide variety of things and have plenty of time to pursue different hobbies. They’re interested in home renovations, cars, clothing, gadgets, travelling, dining out, health and fitness, and other pursuits. As such, they might be avid consumers and much closer to making a decision to buy than younger demographics.
Fourth, seniors could be an untapped or forgotten demographic comprising a less crowded niche. Some companies and marketers may be overly focused on millennials and Gen Z, ignoring the older age groups, especially the over-50s.
By targeting seniors, businesses could tap into a less competitive segment with their products and services.
Strategies for targeting seniors on social media.
How should organizations go about reaching out to seniors through social media? Start by meeting them where they are by choosing the right platforms, and make sure you interact meaningfully with this demographic.
- Platforms: You can’t reach out to seniors without finding them on their platforms of choice. Facebook is the most popular social media platform for seniors by far, though YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram are also widely used by older Aussies. Facebook is probably the best channel to focus on in any campaign targeting older Australians.
- Interactions and authentic reviews: Older consumers love personalized replies and seeing good reviews from other posters on social media. These can build trust in your brand. Where possible, interact directly on your social media platforms with comments, feedback, and likes. Encourage your audience to post reviews of your products and services. You can even invite users to post videos or photos of them using your products and services. These interactions and content can boost transparency and build trust in your products and brand.
- Product features: Rather than trying to create a viral campaign, emphasize the practical aspects like benefits of certain product features. Older demographics tend to be more interested in usability rather than hype or cultivating a certain image. Focusing on functionality and usefulness will likely make your marketing messages more appealing to older audiences.
- Shareability: Seniors might prefer to share media from another source rather than posting content about themselves. They like to share articles, photos, and videos related to their interests. Brands can take advantage of this by posting shareable content of this nature, such as news stories about products and services.
- Video content: Video content might make for winning campaigns with seniors, as it’s a fast, effective, and memorable medium for seniors, especially when it comes to product or service demonstrations. Video content is a wonderful way to delve into more complicated concepts and products and to build trust. Invest in quality video production. You can also encourage users to submit their own videos where they’re using your product or service, and then share these on social media or on your website. Other ideas for video content include customer testimonials, along with staff interviews that help convey your company culture and values.
- Language and tone: Keep in mind seniors might not be as in touch with the latest memes, slang, and language millennials and younger generations are familiar with. Use accessible language, but avoid a patronizing tone when crafting content for seniors. If you’re unsure about using appropriate language and tone for seniors, invest in professional copywriting services. Additionally, ask for feedback from your most loyal customers about your choice of language, and adjust your language and tone accordingly.
- Educate: The older demographic might be more inclined to buy if you share educational content. This could mean going beyond highlighting product features to explanation, more guidance, and proactive assistance with more complex services and products, such as online banking or software. You can develop helpful educational content by considering your target audience’s pain points and sharing content that demonstrates how your product or service resolves these. Also, review the feedback and questions you receive from your target market and focus your instructional content on answering these most frequently asked questions.
Don’t ignore this key demographic any longer.
The senior consumer is an important one to tap into and likely to become even more significant as the population continues to age. As they’re active on social media, your business should have a well-considered plan for engaging with older citizens.
Facebook and YouTube are probably the best platforms to focus on in this area, in any campaign focused on senior’s engagement. In terms of content and approach, offering personalized interactions, ensuring shareability, and sharing videos are likely to be effective for boosting your brand connection. In addition, posting educational and newsworthy content could ensure better engagement with this segment.