Social Experiment

The Science of Social Media

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Where Do Seniors Fit in Your Social Media Strategy?

It wasn’t that long ago that Facebook was mainly filled with young adults, under 30. And getting a friend request from someone as old as fifty was a rarity.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.19.14 AMSo when the age demographic on Facebook began to creep upwards, we were convinced “they” had found us, we’d now have to exit Facebook and find a new platform. But that’s all in the past, people of all ages can be found on nearly every social media channel, providing a more authentic experience for all of us.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “the 74-plus demographic is the fastest growing demographic migrating onto social networks.” There are over 39 million people aged 65 and older using Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. The Pew Research also found that 13% of adults 50 years and older are already using Twitter and estimate this figure will continue to rise.

Seniors Are Social

An All Assisted Living Homes report found that senior citizens are turning to Facebook primarily to connect with others.

  • 40% connect with family and old friends
  • 30% share photos
  • 20% take part in social gaming
  • 10% enter contests and sweepstakes

Facebook allows seniors the ability to keep in touch with friends and family; especially with grandchildren who are extremely tech-savvy. Seniors have the same desire to stay informed on their children and grandchildren, as well as reconnect with lost friends.

As for Twitter, seniors are finding it an easily accessible resource for following streams of information, like news stations, health websites and literary publications.

So why is it important to keep seniors top of mind in your social media campaigns?

They’re Here and Have Money To Spend

  • The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1, 2011.
  • An American turns 50 every 7 seconds—that’s more than 12,500 people every day (U.S. Census).
  • By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (AARP).
  • The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth (ICSC).
  • Boomers and seniors have seen a decrease in their median family net worth, however, they still have a net worth 3 times that of younger generations (Economic Policy Institute).
  • Boomers’ median household income is 55% greater than post-Boomers and 61% more than pre-Boomers. They have an average annual disposable income of $24,000 (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).

Seniors Online HabitsScreen Shot 2015-03-09 at 8.39.18 AM

  • Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew).
  • In 2012, baby boomers (47-65) spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week than Millennials (16-34) at 25 hours per week (WSL/Strategic Retail).
  • 89% of seniors 65+ have a personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
  • 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their device (Pew).
  • Adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users (comScore TabLens).
  • 4 million people age 55 and over engaged in social networking with nearly 19 million of those people using Facebook (comScore).
  • Adults 50+ spend an average of $7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).
  • The Internet is the most important source of information for Baby Boomers when they make major market purchases, such as automobiles or appliances (Zoomerang).
  • 42% of all travel industry purchases happen online, and adults 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
  • 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, baby boomers increased their usage of social media by 60% (WSL/Strategic Retail).

If this data proves anything, it’s that digital marketing can and DOES reach the older generation. In fact, Baby Boomers are the most tech-savvy senior generation that’s ever existed. It’s time business adds seniors to their social media strategy.

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