Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Social Media Boomer Boom

Here's the background on this post this afternoon.

I'm pretty active on Twitter and one of the Tweeps I've connected with is Randy Clark. Like Randy, I am a member of the Baby Boomer generation. (Randy will explain in a moment).

Randy is in the Indianapolis area, about 100 miles southwest of my city, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Indy is the largest metro area in Indiana, Fort Wayne is #2. Among the folks I've met via social media is another Indianapolis dude, Kyle Lacy, who is younger than us Boomers.

Randy wrote a piece for Kyle's Blog which I am reposting for you. You have my permission to read and learn from all of this, IF you raise your right hand and promise that you will:

Check out Kyle's Blog and website. And Check out Randy's Blog too.

(This blog is titled Collective Wisdom, because most of what you'll find is Wisdom, I've Collected from some pretty smart people and reliable sources.)

Randy Clark is the Director of Communications at TKO Graphix, where he blogs for TKO Graphix Brandwire. Prior to TKO, he spent 13 years with Unique Home Solutions as Marketing Director and VP of Operations. He is an avid flower gardener, beer geek, and he fronts a rock & Roll band on the weekends. And yes, he is a Boomer.

I am a Boomer. I was born between 1946 and 1964, and I have Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and You Tube accounts. According to USA Today, Facebook has 16.5 million users, 55 or older, while MySpace has 6.9 million users. Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb, states, “More than 60 percent of those in this generational group actively consume socially created content like blogs, videos, podcasts, and forums. What’s more, the percentage of those participating is on the rise.”

So why is this important to social marketers? AARP Global Network claims, “Boomers should be just as desirable to marketers as millennial and gen-xers in the coming years.” AARP quoted Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “Boomers are the mainstream of the country now, when you attract a mainstream audience, you’re going to attract a lot more commercial interests. Boomers validate that this is a big market, and that this is a place where commercial interests can make money.” Since Boomers are increasing their involvement in social networking, it is important to consider how to connect with them. We are here, but we may not hear. You… may… have… to… speak… slower… and LOUDER!

Five Tips On How To Connect With Boomers

Keep it simple. If you want to engage Boomers, make it easy. Remember we hadn’t seen a computer until we were older than most of you are now! If we have to jump through too many hoops, we might become frustrated and give up.

Explain boundaries. Imagine George Carlin or Richard Prior on your Facebook account. Upon receiving a Facebook friend request from his father, Will Smith (not the actor) explained to his father what was not acceptable ( “Politics, sex, jokes, things you find funny but offend me, comments about family members, any combination of the aforementioned items, and pretty much every email you’ve ever sent me.”

Grammar does matter. We have watched the language devolve, u no? Understandably, many Boomers think the rules have been thrown out the window. Take the time to explain that poor grammar, misspelling, and bad writing do influence readers on social networks. It is not okay to call it “the ‘puter.”

Teach us social network netiquette. Sometimes we are so excited when we learn how to do something, we overlook what is next. Should I have mentioned them in the RT? Oh, was I supposed to thank someone for friending me? These simple netiquette cues need to be explained to Boomers.

Speak our language. Boomers may not keep up with the latest and greatest APPadohickie. We are more excited just to be in the game! If we stare at you with a glazed, distant look, be patient and explain it to us.

According to Wikipedia, “Baby Boomers control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than 50% of discretionary spending power. They are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending, buy 77% of all prescription drugs, 61% of OTC medication, and spend $500 million on vacations per year and 80% of all leisure travel.”([24])

When creating your next social media plan, do not overlook the Boomer market segment. Do a little research and find out where the Boomers hang in your neighborhood. Sites catering to boomers, such as, with over 800,000 members, continue to grow.
And remember, like they always say… what was it they say? There was something I wanted to share…now what was it? It was just on the tip of my tongue. Oh well…make yourself a great day! Peace.

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