Corporate Eye

Social Networking for Senior Citizens?

The demographics of frequent internet surfers vary from region to region and are assumed to be young, college-educated, middle class, suburban living individuals. However, this perceived demographic description fails to address a sect of the population who make a significant impact on online media and social networking. They are fondly referred to as baby-boomers or empty-nesters. The impact that they have on how corporate media and social networks interact with their age group is something well worth taking note of. They are the generation who can make a substantial difference in a company’s bottom line.

Senior citizens are classified as the age group that covers individuals generally from 65-up. The impact of seniors on the media is somewhat significant, but does not get the amount of attention that is justly deserved. Internet usage is at a higher percentage than it was over five years ago. According to SeniorJournal, “the fastest growth in Internet use is being driven by the older age groups, starting at 55.” Senior Journal also performed a study and found information that reports, “in the 80 plus metropolitan markets surveyed regularly by The Media Audit, 61.2 percent of all adults visit the Internet regularly.” (emphasis added)

What sites are these senior citizens visiting? What types of interests do these senior citizens have? What are online companies doing to cater to this type of niche market?

Social Sites for Senior Citizens

Online social networking sites for baby boomers are also steadily increasing and becoming available to these boomers more frequently. Networking sites are taking note of this increase in internet traffic and are offering this niche market a place for information sharing, networking and personal interests. These networks that cater to the market are not catering to them because of who they are but rather what they represent, and that, a significant market share of retail dollars and a consistent resource.

One popular social networking site for senior citizens is the site called Eons.com. They offer pertinent information and sharing for that age group as well as other topics of interest for niche markets. Sites like Eons.com understand what the niche market seeks and take the necessary steps to make the welcome extended to the market. What could other online networks like Facebook or MySpace do to make the baby boomers feel more comfortable? Should they even try? Is there enough of an interest to warrant more sites? According to this article from TGdaily.com, Eons founder, Jeff Taylor doesn’t seem to think that it’s right for the older sect:

Taylor wants Eons to be a practical and friendly place for older people and you won’t see any Myspace-like videos and juvenile commentary.

Does that mean that MySpace isn’t for the mature crowd? There may be a mistake in dismissing the senior citizen crowd when it comes to the online world. They can offer a significant size of marketing dollars as well as significant traffic and their input from experience. Just because they’re not perceived as “hip” or “cool” is not reason enough to dismiss them and assume that they’re out of touch. TGdaily.com also says in their article:

Senior citizens are a lucrative demographic for companies to go after and Metlife recently released a study saying the baby boomer generation has a combine $2 trillion dollar worth of annual spending power. If corporate media chooses to portray the 65-and-over crowd as feeble, they are missing out on a significant portion of the population who make a significant contribution, both in presence and in sales.

What can your online organization do to cater to this market segment? What types of products or services do you have that senior citizens can benefit from?

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Bridget Wright

Writer, Blogger
I am a freelance writer, blogger and professional motivational speaker. I primarily focus on business content, offering my clients strategic marketing strategies for their businesses. I have been an entrepreneur for over 13 years, after having worked extensively in corporate America.
 
Comments

just because we have gotten older doesn’t mean we have gotten dumber.we are the new internet social generation.they called us baby boomers.i call us the here and now generation

Hi Sandy – I so agree with you!

I was recently targeted by a company selling products for “the older generation”; my teenage children found it hilarious that this company thought I might need a book explaining how to use the internet, written in simple language. I do wonder who this company thought they were addressing…

Hi Bridget, thanks for the great article! I totally agree. As a media manager at a senior care resource website, we are well aware of the role baby boomers and empty nesters have on the economy. 55+ cover such a huge portion of the market, it would be wise for companies to take that more into account.

A lot of people go online nowadays. Takes a huge portion. BTW, a great place for seniors to find love, friendship—– SearchingSenior —–

Senior citizens are so much in need to stay up with todays demographics.
It not only allows them to be in contact with those who share the same ideas , but it also allows them to make sure they understand what to look for in the world of electronics.

Agreed, older is not dumber! My Mom did all her own research online to find a reverse mortgage expert. I was so impressed and we wound up using him so she can now stay in her own home! Here he is if anyone is interested. Way more trustworthy than any weirdo on an infomercials she is seeing late at night. http://www.thereversemortgageconsultant.com

That’s great to hear Jennifer, and I’m glad you agree! It’s great to know and see the older sect becoming tech-savvy.

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