3 Things You Should Know About Seniors Using Facebook


Social Media Week

Among individuals over 55 years old, Facebook is one of the fastest growing social networks. The combination of publishers creating better content, and more 55+ year olds better understanding how Facebook works, and we’ll soon see a completely different Facebook ecosystem within the next decade. Not to mention all the Gen Z’ers fleeing Facebook.

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Ask any social media professional what the largest growing demographic on Facebook is, and you’ll learn that it’s individuals over the age of 55. Just look at Facebook’s 2014 demographics report. While the social network giant hemorrhaged teen users, declining 25.3% over a three year period, adult users exploded with 80.4% growth in people over the age of 55 during that same period.

To compliment these statistics, Pew’s 2014 Social Media update showed that 52% of online adults use multiple social media sites, and Facebook remains their “home base” and is the most popular site among adults who only engage via one social media application.

But, what does this mean for social media professionals? Simply, it depends on your brand. If your target market is young adults who are looking for the next trend, then Facebook is not the best place to put your effort or advertising dollars. However, if your product appeals to older adults, particularly young retirees, then Facebook is your new sweet spot.

Take, for instance, the retirement industry. If you are trying to market retirement living accommodations and lifestyle choices, there is no better place to be than Facebook. In my professional life, I manage the online presence for the Masonic Villages of Pennsylvania, a large multi-campus retirement community.

We offer retirement living accommodations, as well as many other health related services to the community at large. Since day one, our biggest and most engaging group has been women over the age 45. They continue to be the ones most likely to share our posts, comment on our content, and expose us to potential new customers.

Through this process I’ve learned three key things that will increase engagement with this age group.

1. Tell them what you want them to do

While teens and young people often share items without thinking about it, those in this demographic don’t find it as appealing. If you want someone to like, share, or comment on your content, tell them that! Phrases such as “Please share this with your friends and family” can go a long way towards increasing engagement.

2. Use clear pictures

While younger audiences want interesting and artistic takes on images, I have found that seniors prefer clear and easily understood imagery. That’s not to say they don’t appreciate interesting visual effects, but I’ve found they quickly grow tired of images that have been filtered into oblivion.

3. Offer value in your content

Older adults don’t just share things because they are told to. They share things they consider to have value. Images that fit into their self-image (such as being proud of church or civic group membership) often do the best. Links to blogs with tangible benefits, such as recipes or health tips, also do well. Provide some value with your content and older adults will provide you with plenty of engagement.

While the coveted young adult market may be fleeing Facebook, now is the time to capitalize on the next trend. Engage older adults and your brand can grow in ways that you may not have expected.



Seth Anthony

Communucations Manager, Varsity

sethcanthony

Seth works for Varsity, a boutique advertising agency dedicated to products and services for seniors and the mature market. He holds degrees in psychology, human resources and organizational management, giving him a unique perspective on how people communicate and interact. He specializes in telling brand stories to niche audiences.



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