Last week I was browsing the Mac store, when I bumped into an elderly person dazing emptily at his iPad. “Do you know how to turn this thing on?” he said. I looked around the table noticing at least a dozen other baby boomers raising their hand, seemingly just as perplexed, trying to get the attention of a frazzled Apple associate.
It seemed as though I had walked in on an iPad101 class. All of its students were over the age of 60.
These classes seem to be on the rise as more and more seniors are joining the digital world. With this rise comes a growing need for education. In fact, schools like Howard Community College’s Gateway Campus launched introductory courses in Facebook and Twitter for those over age 60 in September, and added a new course this past winter called “Blogging 101.”
From 2010 to 2011, the social network use among internet users over the age of 50 nearly doubled to 42%. Nearly 16 million Americans over the age of 55 now have a Facebook page…that’s a lot of Nanas on Facebook.
According to a study conducted by iStrategyLabs, a social media marketing firm, there were 15.5 million Facebook users over the age of 55, an increase of nearly 60% from the year before where the number of users over the age of 55 was at 9.7 million.
Not only are baby boomers using social media, but they are beginning to use it regularly as part of their daily routine. According to data collected by Pew Research Center only 20% of baby boomers in 2010 used social media on a daily basis. By the same time the next year, that number had risen to 32% representing a 60% increase.
A Nielsen statistic revealed that the over 55 age bracket spends a total of 85 minutes each day browsing the internet. Not only are they using it to keep in touch with their children and grandchildren, but they are also buying products within the online marketplace. Though this is significantly lower than that of the younger generation, it is important to consider the fact that this older bracket controls the majority of the economy, with a combined spending worth of more than $1.8 trillion.
As a marketer, one cannot ignore the potential that this demographic has for creating market growth. Accounting for nearly 58% of the U.S. population, the Baby Boomers make up more than half of the American population. We can capitalize on this shift in technology use by using targeted Google or Facebook advertising to this age bracket. Specific industry verticals like pharmaceuticals, doctors, or lawyers, can take advantage of this demographic by searching for people who are in need of their services. Doing a simple Google search or twitter hash tag search will help you to find people who may be complaining about the price of their prescriptions, or who are looking to settle an estate or will dispute.
So hide your incriminating photos kids, Grandmas and Grandpas on Facebook are here to stay.
For those of you who have yet to get into the Foursquare game—it’s a bit different than our grammar school recess memories of Foursquare—it’s actually yet another way to let everyone and their mothers know where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing. At first I was weary of the social media application that allows the user to “check-in” to pretty much anywhere in the world, but after closer investigation, it actually can be a really great business tool.
According to realtimemarketer.com, the average American web user spends nearly 85% of their online time on social networking platforms. With that being said, why not get your business involved in the Foursquare application that can be easily downloaded onto your smartphone devices? Those who usually get the most out of this program are businesses that have a tangible product for sale where the customer can go in, and make a physical purchase, though any business can have great success and gain awareness for their brand using the app.
Companies are using Foursquare to attract more business by setting incentives for those who check-in to their business. For example, if someone becomes the mayor of your company, meaning they have the most check-ins, they can be sent an exclusive coupon, or given a free product. Word of mouth travels fast, and if you give your customers have something buzz-worthy to talk about, more people are sure to visit. Also, be sure to maximize your exposure by linking your Foursquare to other social media platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.
One of Foursquare’s greatest features is its ease of use. Consumers can now be automatically checked into any location. Another great feature is the built in GPS which helps you to locate gas stations, restaurants or other businesses of interest if you are traveling and unfamiliar with your surroundings.
For more information, or to download the app, visit foursquare.com!