Businesses Seeking Boomers Should Add Social Media to Marketing Mix

 More businesses are turning to the Internet to find and engage with baby boomer customers.  Boomers are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and social networking sites in increasing numbers.  Business leaders will gather at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit (www.boomersummit.com) on March 19 to find out how to effectively reach baby boomers online.

 

“Boomers are a natural fit for social networks and technologies. They have the time, the life experience, and—more and more these days—the need for social tools to help them accomplish their own goals.” said Matthew Lees, Vice President, Analyst, Patricia Seybold Group.

 

“The fact that they’ve been relatively slow to embrace social media underscores more of an opportunity than any innate inability or aversion. But they don’t want to be marketed to. Those organizations that can use social media to engage with, learn from, and support boomers will find especially receptive partners and, consequently, greater business success than those who see social media simply as another marketing channel.”.” Lees added.  Lees will present information at the Summit about boomers online and insight on how to effectively reach them.

 

Baby boomers are also actively engaged in user generated content such as ratings and reviews. “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.” noted Sam Decker, Chief Marketing Officer of Bazzaarvoice.  Decker will be at the Boomer Summit speaking about boomers and user generated content.

David Weigelt, co-author of Dot Boom, Marketing to Baby Boomers Online through Meaningful Online Engagement will speak about how to connect with boomers online.  The book unites a developmental marketing approach and a new definition of online engagement specific to baby boomer consumers — a combination that provides an actionable framework for connecting with these consumers online.

 

In the current economy, more businesses are seeking effective ways to reach the 58 million baby boomers online.  The What’s Next Boomer Business Summit (www.boomersummit.com) will include: New research on the new attitudes of baby boomers in this economy; how to market successfully to baby boomers online; search engine and key word strategies that work; how to create online boomer communities that build trust and sales; and, new ways to reach the 44 million caregivers.  

 

Other speakers include:

Entrepreneurship and social media: Guy Kawasaki, Author, founder Alltop

 

Networking -Ellen Levy, Vice President Corporate Development & Strategy, LinkedIn

 

Demographics – Jody Holtzman, Senior V.P., Research & Strategic Analysis, AARP

 

Money -Sandra Timmermann, Executive Director, MetLife Mature Market Institute

 

Caregiving – Andy Cohen, Founder & CEO, Caring.com

 

Online communities – Elisa Camahort Page, Founder & COO, BlogHer

 

Boomer women online – Carol Orsborn, PhD, Senior Strategist, Vibrantnation.com

 

Boomer volunteers – Sarah Christian, Director, Strategic Partnerships, VolunteerMatch

 

Brain fitness – Jeff Zimman, Co-founder & Chairman, Posit Science

 

Search engine strategies – Bill Leake, CEO, Apogee Search

 

Leading edge boomers – Jennifer Keating Magee, CEO, Keating Magee

 

New research– Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute

 

Program, speaker and registration information is available at    Registration is just $325 until March 12.  The Summit is held in conjunction with the Aging in America Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging, March 15-19, 2009.. www.boomersummit.com

 

Attendees include brand managers, corporate strategists, entrepreneurs, non-profit executives, marketing agency executives and publishers responsible for growing their boomer business.

 

Sponsors include: AARP, Microsoft, Council on Aging Silicon Valley, Wells Fargo, Alltop, Caring.com, EquityKey, HeartMath, Immersion Active, Keating Magee, LiveWorld, MetLife Mature Market Institute, Myine Electronics, Posit Science, The Stress Institute, Verizon, Vibrantnation.com, VolunteeerMatch, Retirement Living TV, ReadHowYouWant, HipCricket, Life Stages Financial, grandparents.com and Moving Mavins.  Southwest Airlines is the official airline sponsor of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.

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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

Baby Boomer Women Find a New Neighborhood Gathering Place

facebook-demographics

Those of us in in the business of knowing what boomers are doing and where they are going to seek information and products weren’t surprised by the news from Facebook:  women 55+ are online, connecting with each other, family, friends through photos, stories and just life’s everyday events.  Think back to 1950’s when women gathered for coffee after the kids went to school.  Now, it’s electronic and Facebook is one of their new neighborhoods.

Here’s what Facebook had to say about its growth:  Facebook’s US audience has continued to grow in recent months, fueled by expansion primarily in users 26 and older. Facebook has been growing particularly rapidly amongst people over 45 in the US, as the charts show below: over 165% amongst both men and women 45-54 over the last 4 months.

While the fastest growing age group by total users is still 26-34, the number of women over 55 on Facebook grew by an astounding 175.3% since the end of September.  Their male counterparts, however, weren’t able to keep up – growing by only 137.8%.  The number of women over 55 on Facebook almost double the number of men over 55 on Facebook today.

There are some new websites too establishing themselves as the go-to place for 50+ women.  VibrantNation.com (www.vibrantnation.com) offers conversation, recommendations and experts.  Carol Osborn, senior strategist for VibrantNation.com will be joining us at the What’s Next Boomer Summit (www.boomersummit.com) to share how women are using social networking sites.

In this economy we all need to find new ways to reach potential customers.  With a growing number of baby boomers and seniors actively engaging online, it’s a great opportunity for business to reach them  and it’s a channel that’s easy and cost effective to test in. 

Here are the numbers from Facebook on growth in boomer  demographics in the last 120 days (no numbers for the 65+)

Women 55-65 – 456,760  growth of 175.3%;  45-54 — 858,260 — growth of 165.3%

Men 55-65 – 271,520 growth of 137.8%; 45-54 -524,980 -165.8%

If your target market is boomer women, you need to have find a strategy for being where they are — start with Facebook and VibrantNation.com

Laura

booomersummitlwr@gmail.com