55% of Americans aged 45-54 have a profile on a social networking site.
There is still some perception that social media is purely recreational, and even the assumption that social networking is the domain of youth. While it is certainly true that social media is entertaining, the “serious” side of social media continues to grow. And it is important to recognize this in light of the growing numbers of older adults participating in social media.
The biggest growth of any age cohort from 2011 to 2012 was 45-54 year olds; 55% of this age group in America have a profile on a social networking site [Convince and Convert June 2012].
Many older adults are making big decisions. They are in leadership positions in business. They hire, fire and affect policy. They are investing, spending their retirements and mentoring others. More and more of this demographic is turning to social media to gather information to use in this decision making.
So what does this mean to your business?
1. If you have an older target audience, don’t discount using social media marketing.
You might not target consumers considered a “youth market.” Even established businesses with stable and consistent bases want to grow their business. Consider that your demographic is changing they way they make buying decisions. Reaching out to your audience where they are is good, common sense marketing savvy.
2. Older adults are more brand loyal.
Studies show that older adults are more likely to stick with a brand they have a positive experience with the first time. Brand loyalty is the holy grail of marketing and you have an audience waiting to be won over. More resistant to the passing trends, this market segment develops a trust in a brand that will keep them coming back. They are less likely to be distracted by the new and shiny.
3. Regardless of age, more social network users are engaging with brands every year.
All indications point in the direction of a steady increase in brand engagement, with no signs of stopping. Social media gives a business the chance to engage leads and customer outside of the hard-sell. You get to listen as well as talk in social media, answering questions about your product or service that you might never even hear otherwise. You can demonstrate that you know the context in which your customers buy your product, engaging them in the peripheral areas of your established relationship.
As the variety of devices available to access social media grows, the overall usage across age groups is likely to grow. Are you meeting your customers where they are?