Social Media Meets the Boomers

by Blair Evan Ball on January 25, 2011

“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

—The Beatles, “When I’m 64”

The Beatles

Social Media marketing tactics and platforms have focused on the 18 to 35 year old demographic because when the boomers were in that age range it represented the consumer majority at that point in time. Marketers have failed to transition with the boomers. Now for the first time in US history, the majority of the American population is 40+. They think and act differently, social media marketing needs a redo.

The first boomers turned 64 in 2010, and the group of 78 million will not reach the end of that age until 2028.

  • 20% of boomers are minority’s.
  • 90% graduated from high school vs. their parents at 68%.
  • Boomers make up the Web’s largest constituency at more than 30% of US Internet Users.
  • Adults over the age of 50 are the Internet’s fastest-growing group.
  • Boomers spend $92 billion annually more than then young adults. Both online and offline.
  • Boomers spend $7 billion online annually.
  • Weekly 77% of boomers purchase products online, only 1% less than Generation X, and 24% more than Generation Y.
  • Generation Y (age 18-27); Generation X (age 28-41); Boomers (age 46-64)

eMarketer observes that “boomers wield enormous economic clout and are increasingly turning to online and mobile channels. for a variety of products, and services. Boomers are increasingly using the Internet to research both online and offline purchases.

Social Media goes “Boom”

Top three reasons to utilize Social Media to attract boomers.

  1. 92% say they go online to seek out information.
  2. 92% to stay in touch with friends and family.
  3. 73% to shop online.

Sharing information, or word of mouth, is especially important for boomers. So, how are you using social media to reach out and market to boomers?

Practically all boomers consider their family and friends to be their most trusted sources of information. According to Pew research boomers are more likely to pursue a broader range of activities online and to experiment with newer online pursuits, such as blogs and social networks.

  • 79.5% of boomers own mobile phones.
  • E-mail is the primary way boomers stay in touch with friends and family online.

Conventional marketing is lacking in three key areas.

  1. Framework for duplicating success.
  2. A more holistic measurement of the effectiveness of marketing.
  3. A broader and deeper understanding of human behavior.

How to reach Boomers Online

First, we need a new marketing (social media) paradigm, which is consumer centric. This paradigm shift gains traction by gaining a deeper understanding of what motivates boomers to take action.


Marketers have around one second to make a connection. So how is this done? By connecting with the emotional nature of the right side of the brain (Emotion) and then following with more factual (Logic), left-brain information.



Our behavior is influenced by how we actually process information. The best way to survive information triage is to make an emotional connection through our right brain. As consumers age, they are generally more influenced by their initial, emotional reactions.

Relationship Values

What’s at the core of this value is relationships. People need interaction and companionship with others to feel happy and healthy. Make no mistake…Relationship values are not limited to connections with others. They also encompass relationships with beliefs, institutions, and organizations that guide people through their everyday lives.

Enter in Social Media. Are the platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube meeting those relationship values? Are they connecting on an emotional level? Does your brand help consumers fulfill Purpose, Values, Relationships?

What is your online engagement strategy?

  • Brand Engagement Strategy – The story you want to tell and the story in which you will be inserting your brand.
  • Audience Engagement Strategy – Whom should tell your story to and how will it unfold.
  • Content Engagement Strategy – Actionable, specific engagement plan.

Are you authentic and trustworthy?

What social media platforms are you using to engage boomers and how?

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