How To Appeal To Facebook's Fastest Growing Demographic: Seniors

Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of Facebook users in the U.S., and could number 55 million by 2020, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.


So if the members of your target audience are seniors or even in the baby boomer generation, here’s how to appeal to them on Facebook.

1. Images

Psychologists have established that seniors see themselves approximately 20 years younger than their actual age, so when choosing images of people on your Facebook fan page, the best age group to feature is individuals in their forties and early fifties. That age portrays maturity without implying any form of infirmity.

2. Dwell Time

Research shows that the amount of time a senior will spend on the average fan page is several times longer than a teenager. While pages designed for young fans might be designed for a quick scan with high impact graphics and a handful of power-words, pages specifically intended for seniors should have detailed content which can take time to absorb.

3. No Hype

Seniors can smell insincere messages, so no aspect of your fan page should display any form of hype, hard-sell, or content that is outright marketing. Focus on the requirements of your seniors and sympathize with the concerns that this age group will have as it relates to what you’re promoting. Concentrate on providing senior-centric content that provides them with the information and solutions they need, not just the offer you’re trying to push.

4. Shun Jargon

Every industry has terminology which only the “in” group comprehends, and utilizing any of this shop-talk will alienate your senior fans. Instead of discussing the modification of the BCLK BIOS settings for your CPU, concentrate on how it will make their computing experience smoother and faster.

5. Build Trust

Seniors more than other age groups tend to make purchasing decisions based on relationship values. Your Fan Page should engage and connect with your senior Fan first, and then shift the focus towards your offer. The best approach is to spend a prolonged period of time building trust and understanding, and then slowly graduate to a very respectful soft-sell at a later time.

6. Tell Stories

Senior fans won’t relate well to a brand telling them what to do, but if you weave your approach into a story, it will grab their attention, get them engaged, and allow them to connect and empathize with both the message and the company. Make your story have a broader application, keep it short and simple, write it in a personal, folksy, but never condescending manner, and always ensure that it’s authentic. Case studies in the form of stories are especially powerful for connecting with seniors.

Being the largest social network in the world speaks volumes, but just knowing that entire social networking sites built exclusively around older citizens are popping up is proof of how times are changing. In order to remain competitive, you must ensure that your business is always keeping up with the trends and following your audience wherever it dwells.

Aidan Hijleh is the non-profit partnership liaison for Benchmark Email.

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