Baby Boomer Women Will Drive the Use of Social Media

forrester-research-on-social-mediaThere has been a flurry of blog postings lately on the wonder of baby boomers using social media and social networking.  It seems to stem from an updated report from Forrester Researcher Jeremiah Owyang . 

It’s no surprise to us and probably many of you who will be attending the Boomer Summit , March 19.   We’ve been posting other research on the increased use of social media by this demographic, especially some of the data coming out of the Pew Research Center.

We haven’t seen data broken down by gender, but believe that boomer women will drive the growth of social media in this demographic.  Why?  Social media is about relationships and women, as they age, rely heavily on their networks.  And in the current economy, women have face increasing pressures.  So they want to reach out to others to share stories and talk about  caregiving, adult children returning home, financially supporting their parents and their children, worrying about their job or lack of job,  sharing joys of grandparenting and successes and ways to keep the family closer as the life we expected increasingly feels like it is unraveling.

Sam Decker recently noted on his blog that Boomers make up of 35% of the Internet population.  He said, while it’s true that Millenials (the 13-24 generation) share content at double the rate of  baby boomers (56%), 31% of Baby Boomers share their own user generated content. This could be in the form of reviews, blog posts, comments, discussion forums, etc.  Sam,  CMO of Bazzaarvoice, will be at the Boomer Summit talking about about user generated content.

Carol Orsborn from VibrantNation.com  will talk about the use of social media by women; Andy Cohen from Caring.com  will share how marketers are using niche sites to reach boomer women caregivers; and Jerry Shereshewsky from Grandparents.com will talk about how  the  market of 70 million grandparents are using the Internet to share stories and buy for their grandchildren.

Social Media Best For Brand Building and Awareness

chartofweek-02-17-09There’s lots of talk about social media, but what do marketers expect it to deliver?  Brand building and reputation top the list.  If you are looking to immediately generate direct leads and sales, look elsewhere. 
More than 90% of companies believe that social media is most effective in building brand reputation and awareness. That result is followed closely by goals for attracting website visitors, according to exclusive research in MarketingSherpa’s new Social Media Marketing and PR Benchmark Guide.

Direct marketing, such as lead generation and sales conversion, are second-tier expectations.  The conversational and relationship-building nature of social media is more like PR,and more likely to help accomplish branding goals.  So building buzz might lead to eventual sales. 

some companies are using it to improve internal communications as they test theis new media.  It is  a desirable social-media training and proving ground because the risk of exposing confidential information to the public is far less likely to occur in a self-contained environment.

So as with all campaigns, picking the right tool to fit your goals is key to success.  No matter how much buzz about new media, you need to use it in the right way with the right expectations.  For businesses targeting boomers, now is the time to be testing new media strategies as boomers are adopting it into their lives.

Watch Out Social Networking: The Baby Boomers are Coming

online-social-network-usage

The 78 million baby boomer generation promises to fuel the growth of social networking.  Marketers take note and you better start figuring out how this generation will use social media.

The number of Internet users visiting social networks at least once per month increased an estimated 11% in 2008, to 79.5 million, and will rise another 11% in 2009, to 88.1 million. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of social network users in the US will increase by an estimated 44.2%, to nearly 115 million, according to a new report by eMarketer.

With penetration already high among teens and young adults, there is little room for further growth among those demographics. Growth will come from members of Generation X and baby boomers, but there will also be increased activity in the tween market. User engagement has yet to hit a plateau. In fact, people who join social networks in 2009 and beyond may become frequent users more rapidly than those who first joined a year or two ago.

Key social networking trends to watch in 2009 include the expanding user demographics and continued rise in engagement, the impact of mobile social networking and Twitter, and whether the substantial growth of Facebook in the second half of 2008 can continue, the report said.

How baby boomers are using social networking will be a key theme at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit on March 19 at Bally’s in Las Vegas (www.boomersummit.com).  Speakers will cover what caregivers are doing online (www.caring.com), women over 50 (www.vibrantnation.com) and grandparents (www.grandparents.com).  User generated content and boomer communities online will be covered by speakers from Bazaarvoice, VolunteerMatch, LiveWorld and BlogHer.  Keynote speaker is Guy Kawasaki who will talk about the importance of using new marketing tools to build your business. The meeting covers business and marketing strategies to reach the 78 million baby boomers.   www.boomersummit.com  for the full agenda and registration information.

LinkedIn Grows – Are baby boomers using it too?

LinkedIn Grows as Economy Declines

LinkedIn Grows as Economy Declines

 

Networking is more popular than ever.  As the jobless rate grows, more people are discovering the power of the Internet to keep in touch and get first dibs on the jobs that are out there or might be out there.

The growth of LinkedIn tells the story as uniques visitors steadily climb.  The average age of a LinkedIn user is 41.  But as you talk with boomers, more are discovering it as a way to connect with old colleagues.

Ellen Levy, VP Corporate Development and Strategy, LinkedIn will be joining us at the What’s Next Boomer Summit to talk about the phenomenal growth of LinkedIn.  Who is joining LinkedIn and how they are using it.  And,  how businesses can use it to build their brand. 

www.boomersummit.com

Join our group on LinkedIn — Groups – What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.

Baby Boomers Slower to Adopt Twitter

Boomers Finding Their Way to Twitter

Boomers Finding Their Way to Twitter

Twitter is  primarily a younger person’s tool.  But then again, so was Facebook. 

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project provides a great glimpse at the Twitter user.The median age of a Twitter user is 31, users are urban, more ethnically and racially diverse than the population and are more mobile in how they consumer news and information.   They are significant users of blog content.

It’s a way of communicating that boomers are just discovering.  Just 5% of 45 to 54 year olds said they use Twitter; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older.

Twitter allows users to send messages, known as “tweets” from a computer or mobile device.  Users of the service are asked to post messages of no more than 140 characters and those message are delivered to others who have signed up to receive them such as family, friend and colleagues.

Where should this fit into your marekting strategy if your target marekt is boomers?  Probably not at the top, but keep any eye on it.  Hear more about social media strategies among baby boomers at the What’s Next Boomer Summit (www.boomersummit.com). 

Speakers include:  Guy Kawasaki, author and entrepreneur on outmarekting your competition Ellen Levy from LinkedIn on using the service to build your network and your brand; Joe Cannella on how to use Google to reach boomers; David Weigelt tfrom Immersion Active and author of Dot Boom on how to create successful Internet strategies to reach boomers.

Find the report on Twitter usage here:

 http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP%20Twitter%20Memo%20FINAL.pdf

HDTV Tops Baby Boomers’ Technology Wish List

HDTV Tops Boomer's Technology Wish List

HDTV Tops Boomer's Technology Wish List

 

Baby boomers’  love affair with technology continues and they plan to keep buying new technology. 

The question for retailers is when.

New research from the Consumer Electronics Association shows what those in their 50s and 60s have on their technology wish list.  A couple differences among the top five demonstrate that  buying behavior of younger and older boomers are not the same.

In their 50’s:

  1. HDTV
  2. Laptop
  3. Cell phone
  4. Desk top computer
  5. GPS

In their 60’s they want to buy

  1. HDTV
  2. Laptop computer
  3. Cell phone
  4. Digital camera
  5. Desk top computer

The list is in order of preference and based on intent to purchase in the next 12 months.

What’s new in technology for boomers will be featured on a panel at the What’s Next Boomer Summit (www.boomersummit.com)  Hear from executives at Verizon, HeartMath (its emWave Personal Stress Reliever won the people’s Choice Competition at CES) and Microsoft.

The research also demonstrates that buying behavior differs among older and younger boomers.  Mark Schofield from Keating Magee  will be presenting new research on what older boomers want.  Jody Holtzman from AARP will be talking about what younger boomers are interested in and what drives their buying behavior. The panel, moderated by Mary Furlong, will also look at new opportunities for business in the boomer market space. It’s business intelligence that can help drive marketing strategy and sales.

The Greying Gadgets: How Older Americans Shop for Consumer Electronics study was conducted online to a national sample of 3,135 U.S. adults during November 2008.  The study was a collaboration between CEA and TNS Compete with TNS Compete fielding the study to their online consumer panel. http://www.competeinc.com/news_events/pressReleases/221/

Baby Boomer’s Strain Increases as Caregiving Burdens Grow

caregivingCaregiving is taking its toll on their marriages, draining their bank accounts and increasing sibling squabbles as one-in-two baby boomers take care of an aging parent.

 

According to new research from Caring.com, eighty percent (80%) of baby boomers caring for an aging parent say that it has put a strain on their marriage.   “The time spent caring for an aging parent can take a serious toll on the caregiver’s relationship with their spouse,” said Andy Cohen, COO of Caring.com, a website for caregivers (www.caring.com).  “Time that is traditionally spent with one another once the kids have left home is becoming more and more time when children start to play the role of caregiver to an aging parent.”

 

The financial strain is increasing, as caregivers find themselves without jobs, or working more to make sure they keep the job they have.  The emotional strain on the caregiver and family relationships is increasingly evident. There has been an increase of 62% in the numbers of parents age 65 and older living with their adult children, according to the Census Bureau.

 

“We find more people seeking professional help with managing care of an aging parent.  Sibling disagreements are increasing about not only what the right care is but who is going to shoulder the burden of care, said Dr. Dan Tobin, CEO of Your Support Nurse, (www.yoursupportnurse.com).  “We help them identify local care solutions and work together as a family to solve their problems.”

 

Unfortunately, technologies that can help older persons age at home are often overlooked or undiscovered.  Laurie Orlov, Founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch (www.ageinplacetech.com), a research firm, cites a Clarity 2007 study in which 51% of baby boomers believe that technology can help their parents, but only 14% have looked for any – perhaps because marketers have yet to clearly target them.

 

Can baby boomers afford to pay to help parents age in place? “According to research from AARP, boomer caregivers do express willingness to pay less than $50/month for technologies to assist in their parents’ care,” Orlov says, “But interestingly, they typically pay more than $300/month for tech-related services for themselves.

 

Orlov recommends that instead of waiting until someone falls in their home or is admitted to the hospital for failing to take medication — boomers should act now. PERS (personal emergency response system) devices, medication reminders, and sensor-based home monitoring tech — all can make a huge difference.

 

Cohen, Tobin and Orlov are among the speakers at the Boomer Summit who will be covering issues such as caregiving and technology, case studies on how to reach caregivers online, distribution partners for companies targeting caregivers and new services aimed at helping boomers handle their caregiver responsibilities.

 

Baby boomer caregiving trends and resources and services to help them is a key topic at the upcoming What’s Next Baby Boomer Summit being held March 19 at Bally’s Las Vegas (www.boomersummit.com).  The national conference focuses on baby boomer trends, marketing to baby boomers and entrepreneurship opportunities serving the boomer market of 78 million people.