There are many compelling business reasons for an organization to leverage Facebook to engage with consumers, most center on the benefit of establishing a direct line of contact with your customers for providing information and receiving real-time, first-hand feedback. The larger your Facebook following, the more opportunity, but if you aren’t attracting and engaging your desired target demographic, the long-term rewards and impact on customer relations will fall flat.
There are many vendors who offer to increase your Facebook audience by increasing the number of likes, shares and comments on your page. The promise is enticing. Before considering using a third party, be sure to first understand your Facebook strategy, beginning with who you want to reach and why, what types of information and content will keep your audience consistently engaged, and your annual supporting budget (if any). If your Facebook mission and strategy aren’t solid, the fan base you gain may fall outside your targeted demographic and not pay off with a desired long-term loyal audience; further it may actually decrease your engagement metrics.
According to a recent study by Influence Central and Vibrant Nation, 89% of Boomer women ages 50 to 70 have a Facebook account and nearly 25% post to Facebook at least once per day. Furthermore, 75% of Boomer women follow brands on Facebook and 40% said they follow brands' social outlets to receive information, and to stay up-to-date on promos and deals.
Our own Facebook audience reflects the findings of the Influence Central study — 88% of our audience is comprised of women, 33% of our female audience are 65+ and 61% is over 45. By understanding our audience, over the past year we were able to grow our fans 78% and our organic engagement grew 99% year-over-year.
Understanding this generation is difficult. There is no “typical” Boomer. They’re at a crossroads of life stages — caring for aging parents, focused on their own health and career concerns while thinking ahead to retirement, and possibly living in an intergenerational household with their adult children and grandchildren. With such a diverse group, not all content resonates with all audiences all the time. A hallmark of aging is that we become less alike and more independent in our thinking. As an example, we found that the charged topics of religion and humor can be the most engaging or the most polarizing. While some people find humor about senior moments and memory loss a welcome relief, others find it offensive. One commonality we have seen, however, is regardless the reaction our audience is vocal.
In the past year our most popular types of shared content were poems that hit at the heart of aging and losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease. This audience values relationships and experiences over material possessions and status. We asked our audience to share their tips for staying positive and motivated in stressful situations, and while we expected responses, we were pleasantly surprised by the quick outpouring of wisdom and heartfelt support for others who were going through similar situations. Tips we received such as, “Always love and have compassion” and “Find your inner peace and learn how to relax,” shows this Boomer generation truly values authentic connection and the opportunity to share and give what they’ve learned over the years.
Keep in mind, the Boomer audience is repelled by hyperbole and urgency in advertising, responding more to facts and authenticity. According to Jim Gilmartin, president of Chicago-based Coming of Age, Interactive Baby Boomer & Senior Marketing and an Engage:Boomers contributor, Boomer customers tend to be more responsive to "companies with a conscience" than younger customers are.
Marketing to Baby Boomers via Facebook can be challenging, but understanding your target audience and staying true to your engagement strategy will help pave the way to success.