In the U.S., 80 million baby boomers have turned 65 and are officially senior citizens...and many of them are turning to digital media. You don't believe me? Well, check out some of these statistics (from an article on Mashable):
- Social network use among Internet users 50+ years old has nearly doubled to 42% over the past year.
- In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 16 million people 55+ years old using Facebook.
- According to Nielsen data, 15% of people 55+ years of age are using smartphones
- A study found that around 13% of people aged 55-64 and 5% of people aged 65+ play games using a smartphone or standard cellphone
- 16% of people aged 50-64 have searched online for information on long-term care for an elderly or disabled person
One of the main reasons that an increasing number of senior citizens have started using social media is to connect with friends and loved ones, and also to shar
e experiences with strangers and new friends over the Internet.
In fact, more often then not, the reason that older people don't use social media ISN'T because of lack of interest, but instead because social media platforms have not been developed with these older people in mind.
With this in mind, there are a few key takeaways that every company should consider if they want to reach the "older" people through social media:
- A growing number of old adults are taking advantage of the web right now...don't ignore them
- As society and the web mature, companies and individuals need to make sure they are building the web to empower everyone, not just the young and tech-savvy
- New technologies and new social media platforms will need to be intuitive and easy to use
- When these new technologies and social media platforms are ready for use by the public, education is key to ensure senior citizens don't fall behind and become victims of the "digital divide"
In the end, senior citizens may be "old," but if companies want to maintain (and even increase) their success, they will need to develop social media strategies that allow senior citizens to easily use the platforms and technologies available to them.