Social Media Habits of Baby Boomers
- September 22, 2016
- Branding, Marketing, Social Media, Technology
Don’t use the label ‘old’ on these users.
An age group sorely overlooked by marketers on social media, Baby Boomers are not the stereotypical rocking-chair owning, newspaper reading, ageing generation you think they are.
Born between 1946 to 1964, most of these individuals (aged 52 – 70 in 2016) may be approaching retirement, but their outlook on technology is anything but over. About 45 – 54% are actively using some form of social media, and they spend more time online than on television.
In addition, almost 83% of Baby Boomers cited the Internet as their top source of information, above word-of-mouth and even print media. So yes, your uncle and aunties aren’t living under a rock – they can work Facebook just as well as you. In fact, if there’s anything that these over-50s dislike the most, its being reminded that they are ‘out of touch’.
Move over, over-hyped Millennials and Generation Z-ers. It’s time that brands start paying attention to this age group; After all, this is the demographic that accounts for 50% of all consumer expenditures.
How can your social media strategy engage this underrated generation? This blog post will give you a better picture of the characteristics and social network habits of Baby Boomers.
What Are Some General Characteristics of Baby Boomers?
In a time of peace and prosperity just after WW2, the Baby Boomers lived and grew in comfort; Better finances and standards of living meant that these individuals had little worries about survival, unlike their predecessors.
As a result, this freedom paved the way for individuals to become more focused on humanitarian and societal welfare issues; As youths, it was the Baby Boomers in the 60s who championed non-violent protests, free love and equal rights.
It is also because of this comfortable upbringing that Baby Boomers are known as the ‘Me’ generation. Idealistic, image-conscious and aching to break the mould from the ‘dull’ lives their parents lived, they are big spenders, ready to invest in the latest technologies and the trendiest products. (Such as the ‘brick phones’ of the 80s)
Screencap of ‘The Bucket List’. Source: NY Times/Warner Bros
In fact, not much has changed over the years. While this generation has definitely aged physically, many of them are still young at heart. Baby Boomers are increasingly trying to improve themselves, living healthier, and keeping up with the times in technology.
Constant improvement is what defines their lives and the way they treat social media; Platforms like Facebook or Twitter are thus grounds for learning in their books, and their way of staying relevant and connected to their loved ones.
Which Social Media Platforms Do Baby Boomers Prefer?
Despite their desire to stay updated, this generation lags behind younger users in terms of the types of social platforms used. Facebook still dominates user activity, with 84% of this age group in the US having an account; Meanwhile, Pinterest and LinkedIn trail next, in second and third place.
Furthermore, they are also slow in adopting newer, visual-based platforms. Only 15% of Baby Boomers have an account on Instagram, and a measly 2% are on Snapchat.
Here are 2 tips on how their choice of social media affects the way content is absorbed:
- Baby Boomers prefer well established platforms over newfangled ones; Focus content on Facebook or Twitter. Also, text-based information appeals more than visuals or interactive graphics for this demographic.
- Their choice of social media reflects their needs; This generation takes a practical approach to social networking. (E.g. Pinterest helps them in their research for hobbies, LinkedIn helps them connect professionally, for their careers.) Thus, content produced has to have value, and be able to teach or benefit Baby Boomers in some way.
What Do Baby Boomers Do On Social Media?
As we have learnt, Baby Boomers can be an idealistic, yet pragmatic bunch. As a result, their social media activity and the content they seek are closely related to their needs and concerns.
For most Baby Boomers, social media is a place to catch up and interact with friends and family. This group is more likely than others to post content about their everyday lives or family-related matters. In addition, a bulk of their activities revolve around communicating with others, such as tagging, commenting or mentioning posts.
Another activity that Baby Boomers enjoy doing is following or joining pages, organisations and groups. Perhaps due to their ‘advocate’ nature, this generation is especially loyal to what they believe in; They tend to openly show their support for various welfare causes.
Likewise, while Baby Boomers may be big consumers, they buy selectively; They prefer settling for certain brands they like and stick to it. This age group is thus most likely to take action after engaging with social media content. Almost 57% of Baby Boomers would visit a company site after going on their social media page, while another 54% would search for it on search engines.
What Social Media Content Engages Baby Boomers?
In summary, this demographic is not your typical retiree generation; Their golden years are a time of revival, a chance for them to engage in the things they enjoy. While the reality of age does hit them, don’t call them ‘old’ – they want to be seen as savvy individuals who are able to hold their own against younger counterparts.
Thus, what can marketers do to their social media content to engage a Baby Boomer?
Screenshot of AARP, an organisation for retirees in America.
- Be Supportive – Don’t remind them of their age, but be aware that they are aging. Make small visual tweaks to your content, such as having clean and simple graphics, or use big fonts to aid their eyesight. In addition, develop a solid support system on social media that actively reaches out and addresses their concerns.
- Respect Their Privacy – Baby Boomers are more cautious about online security than Millennials; They are also less likely to give away private information on social networks. Respect their need for personal space, and refrain from asking them for too much personal info in your outreach programmes or contests.
- Show Them Possibilities – The ‘Me’ Generation is all about ‘themselves’. What can your content do to improve their lives? How can it inspire them to get out and take action? Your strategy should include lifestyle content geared towards helping Baby Boomers live out their ‘dreams’ and ‘goals’. Similarly, focus your content on topics that they are interested in, such as health and wellness.
Written by: (www.script.com.sg)
Edited & Illustrated by: Script Consultants Pte Ltd
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