Older Caregivers and Social Media

Moms A Coveted Target

Dimitri Vervitsiotis

The 18 to 33 age demographic is still the largest users of the social media yet older age demographics are rapidly catching up. And that is important to know as you ramp up your social media strategy. Caregivers are using social media more and the sandwich generation mom is multi-tasking, researching care for themselves, their parents and their kids. If you are not in the game yet, these statistics are a warning shot across the bow.

Adults 45 and over doubled their social networking use in the period between 2008 and 2010. Adults 74 years and older quadrupled their social networking participation, with 16 percent of adults in this group now actively using social networking.

Baby Boomers who are caring for their aging parents are heavier social media users than their non-caregiving counterparts. Women (60%, versus 40% men) are heavier users spending an average of 150 minutes each month on social media and visiting 70% more pages than the typical internet user.

ComScore breaks down the top sites among Boomer Caregivers:

  • Facebook leads the pack, with a 91 percent reach.
  • Online retailer sites (Amazon.com, Target, WalMart) are next.
  • LinkedIn has a 37% reach.
  • Twitter a 21% reach.

The online review site Yelp has a 30% reach among Boomer Caregivers. Boomers are using Yelp to read reviews of health and medical providers and not merely to decide what restaurant to visit.

The Secret Power of Moms

Over one-half of all online moms are now using Facebook regularly. Facebook alone accounts for 25% of all Internet interaction today. Moms are searching for the facility needs for their parents. And a survey of 25,000 online moms indicated that now 29% of them read blogs regularly.

Reaching Them

Lori Bitter, President/CEO at Continuum Crew - Engaging Consumers >40, shared new research and insights for social media to a social-media craving audience at Leading Age.

  • Boomer online use is up 62%, mimicking national statistics.
  • Boomers are willing to give up most anything except their cell phone and Internet.
  • Older boomers behave like "Ike's" (as in Eisenhower) and younger boomers behave like Gen X'ers.
  • Older boomers still use traditional media including local newspapers.

Still, boomers are a technology savvy bunch.

Bitter urged the audience to create things that people want to share. And integrate don't eliminate other traditional marketing methods in your plan. They all complement one another. At the end of the day, social media is an enabler of word of mouth marketing. And you can't be afraid of the transparency it creates. Yes you may suffer some bad reviews but they are opportunities for dialogue.

Ready to start? Here was her get ready checklist:

  1. Listen online.

    Before you enter the conversation understand what is being talked about online, the style of communication and the interaction.
  1. Establish clear goals.

    Pretty self-explanatory - what are your objectives? - engaging a community in a dialogue, traffic to your website? Get clear on what you want to accomplish.
  2. Have the people power to execute.

    This is time intensive make no mistake. You can do it yourself or hire someone but you need to commit resources.
  3. You must have a content plan engagement strategy.

    Just like a newspaper you must develop an editorial calendar. What are you going to write about? What point of view do you want to convey over time? What actions do you want to spur from your writing, articles, blogs? Let that guide you. This is not about Twittering what you had for breakfast.
  4. Know what your prospects are doing online.

    This is part of listening above but also about understanding what your prospects are searching for and reading online and what venues they are using. For that you might just have to ask them.
  5. Your web site or blog must be ready for prime time.

    As you engage people on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, they may want to check you out. So you better look good when they get to your web. It reflects on you and completes the online perception for those checking you out.

Being successful in social media means not going gaga but putting it all in perspective. But make no mistake you need to be in the game.

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