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Of Seniors and Social Media
By: Abdul Fattah Ismail
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Effective digital marketers understand the powerful influence of the baby boomer and senior generations. Why? They have money. According to a JWT BoomerEyes/C&R Research study, baby boomers spend about $2 trillion annually. Not only that, but 2010 was to be the first year adults 45+ out-spent younger adults by $1 trillion.

Although there are a variety of definitions when it comes to defining each generation, I like how it’s summarized by the Pew Center: 

Generation Chart

According to the Pew “Generations 2.0” study, older generations dominate in visiting government sites and seeking financial info online, but the age gap is closing between other generations for other activities:

Heat Chart

One category to keep in mind is the significant increase in social media usage: 

Social Media

So, how are these older generations connecting to social networking sites? In a June 2010 report, AARP reported that of adults 50+ who use social media:
62% were connected to their children
36% were connected to their grandchildren
73% were connected to relatives other than their children
63% were introduced to social media by their children

Businesses are benefiting from the increased digital presence of retirement communities. Social media allows residents to remain connected with their friends, family, and fellow community members. Facebook and Twitter have given older Americans an easier way to plan community events and seek out online forums for people who share common interests.   
Although social networking isn’t new, it is being adopted by older generations at a rapid pace and social media management services are taking note. For example, the right strategy can help a corporate team generate leads, find vendors, and hire qualified employees. Social media is proving its ROI through measurable results.
In a recent New York Times article, Paula Rice put it best when she referenced Eons.com, a popular online community for the Boomer generation, “I was dying of boredom. Eons[.com], all by its lonesome, gave me a reason to keep on going.” I would definitely consider this endorsement as a measurable result.

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About the Author

Abdul Fattah Ismail lives in New York and is an MBA candidate with St. John's University, majoring in Marketing Management.  He also writes blog articles on the interactive marketing sector for Blueliner Marketing, LLC , a New York interactive marketing agency with offices in India and Bangladesh. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in the philanthropy and fashion industries as a database administrator and press assistant. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog

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