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 going to be 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 their research to learn more about older demographics on social platforms, and reached out to marketing professionals to see what kinds of success they've had 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 percent of internet users ages 65 and older use Facebook, and 72 percent of 50 to 64-year-olds use Facebook as well. Facebook has the highest number of users in these age ranges.
Jake Tully, head of the creative department at TruckDrivingJobs.com, points 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 says. "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, says that 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 guide for businesses.
Kevin Huhn, growth strategist and consultant at Hopes, Wishes and Dreams, says that it's not enough to know where your audience is. You should also consider the type of product you're promoting when you choose what social channel to use. He says that while Facebook is a good medium if you're promoting a personal product, business offers will see more success on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is more popular with 30 to 49-year-olds than with the 50-and-older demographic, according to Pew. Thirty-three percent of internet users 30-49-years old use LinkedIn, while numbers drop to 24 percent for persons 50 to 64-years old, and just 20 percent for 65 years and older.
Some companies find success reaching older audiences on Twitter. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, says her company connects with Gen X 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, says Laura Simis, inbound specialist of Coalmarch Productions. Pinterest also helps connect you with communities that share interests, Simis says. 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.