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Can Social Media be Used to Reach Seniors?

Most people will tell you that the younger generations are getting their information online and through social media these days, and that teens and college students dominate Facebook and Twitter. But what about the older generations? As it turns out, social media is now a popular platform for everyone.

According to an AARP study, an increasing number of adults 50+ are active on social networks with Facebook being the most popular. As these generation’s children get busier with their own lives and their own children, grandparents look for a way to keep in touch and keep tabs on the day-to-day lives of their families. They use Facebook to keep in touch with their families, friends and old co-workers, and most of them are active in conversations and groups. On Facebook alone in 2009, the fastest growing demographic was females aged 55-65.

But social networks aren’t the only way to use the internet for information gathering and distribution. Because retired boomers and seniors have a large amount of free time, they actively search for information in forums and product reviews in addition to their social networks. Opinions are traded, problems are mentioned, and peers engage one another in conversation about products, services, news and information. Although the internet is a vast landscape of individuals, businesses and information, communities have formed around common interests.

Gone are the days of linear communication, where organizations pushed a message to the public and awaited a response. We are now in a time where conversation and information-on-demand are the norm, and consumers expect to be engaged. The goal for any organization in this digital age should be to be a part of a community with their customers to actively participate with them, and there are many ways to accomplish this.

With seniors now active in online communities, this is the perfect time to build trust, share information and establish a friendly and helpful relationship with that generation. Seniors are just as important on social networks as the younger groups that companies are quick to connect with. With the retired community growing, many seniors now have more time to peruse the internet and become active in these communities, and any organization hoping to connect with this increasingly active group should build their online presence.

Are you, your parents, or grandparents active in social networks? Let us know how.