- When using social media marketing, it is important to cast a wide net to reach a large audience. However, Gen Xers and baby boomers often are not included in marketing tactics.
- Older generations are on every social media channel.
- When targeting older demographics, be sure to use a different approach. The trends and tactics that are important for younger generations, like Gen Z and millennials, will not work for older generations.
Today's marketers often place a great deal of focus on reaching Generation Z and millennials via social channels. But what about Gen Xers and baby boomers? If you're trying to reach an older demographic, it might be difficult to pinpoint which social platform is best for engaging with your audience – but don't make the mistake of thinking they're not on there at all.
The Pew Research Center has been researching and recording social media usage for more than a decade. Business News Daily studied Pew's research to learn more about older demographics' use of social platforms and reached out to marketing professionals to see the kind of success they've had in engaging with older audiences on social media.
Many of the marketers we spoke with reported that Facebook was the most useful platform for reaching an older demographic. According to Pew, 62% of internet users ages 65 and older use Facebook, and 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds use it. Facebook has the highest number of users in these age ranges.
Jake Tully, head of the creative department at TruckDrivingJobs.com, pointed out that many of these users prefer to share media from another source instead of posting something themselves.
"Rather than taking selfies or giving out information regarded as personal, these older users enjoy filling up their timelines sharing articles, photos and videos relating to their interests, and do so quite frequently," Tully said. "With this in mind, we try to cultivate an online presence with news stories that may bring the opinionated people out of the shadows."
Andrew D'Amours, co-founder of Flytrippers, said Facebook is the best platform because it gives businesses more credibility with older audiences as they see their younger friends and relatives interacting with posts.
To learn more about creating engaging posts on Facebook, read our Facebook for Business Guide.
Kevin Huhn, growth strategist and consultant at Hopes, Wishes and Dreams, said it's not enough to know where your audience is; you should also consider the type of product you're promoting when you choose which social channel to use. While Facebook is a good platform for promoting personal products, LinkedIn is more successful for advertising business offers, he said.
LinkedIn is more popular with 30- to 49-year-olds than with the 50-and-older demographic, according to Pew; 33% of internet users ages 30 to 49 use LinkedIn, compared with 24% of 50- to 64-year-olds and 20% of those 65 and older.
Some companies find success in reaching older audiences on Twitter. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, said her company connects with Gen Xers and baby boomers frequently, especially through relevant Twitter chats. According to Pew, fewer internet users are on Twitter than on some other social platforms, so you might not find as much success here as you would on Facebook, depending on your audience. Check out our Twitter for Business Guide for more tips on using this platform.
Pinterest might be a good social media platform to focus on if women are part of your core buying demographic, said Laura Simis, inbound specialist at Coalmarch Productions. Pinterest also helps connect you with communities that share interests, Simis said. This platform is entirely visual, so think about what types of photos or videos your business could post if you decide to look into Pinterest. Visit our Pinterest for Business Guide for more tips.
An important part of any marketing campaign is knowing your audience. If you're looking to market to baby boomers or Gen X, Facebook is your best bet. Depending on your audience, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest might be viable options as well.
Tips for marketing to seniors
If you're looking to market specifically to seniors and other older demographics, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:
Use appropriate language. Besides avoiding crude or suggestive language, make sure to use words and phrasing that will be understood by a large audience. When specifically targeting older demographics, avoid using jargon or slang that would be understood only by millennials or Gen Z. Rather, use simple descriptions of your products and services, and clearly outline their benefits.
Market on multiple channels. Do not limit your marketing to one platform; use all possible channels to reach as many people as you can. In many situations, older demographics use different channels. Some use only one, and some might use all of them. In either situation, it is important to tailor your message to each channel. Use eye-catching images on all channels, but write different marketing copy for each channel.