My Facebook page contains an assortment of friends ranging in ages 21 to 58. I believe Facebook is a great tool to transcend the generation gap. It provides an opportunity to communicate with children, nieces/nephews, grandchildren, peers etc. Although social media tools like Facebook are primarily utilized by teenagers and young adults, a new trend has developed where the baby boomers are joining in. The study “Baby Boomer’s Embrace Social Networking” highlights the trend toward an older demographic utilizing online social networks. It also mentions the opportunities social media offers marketers to target baby boomers besides teenagers and young adults.
Another interesting observation that the study makes is the differences between how the young adults use social media versus the baby boomers. The latter is interested in information. Perhaps it is keeping up with their offsprings, or maybe it is to view what their peers are up to. Baby boomers are less likely to use Facebook to interact extensively with friends. This provides an opportunity for marketers to show case products that baby boomers are most likely to purchase.
Given the new trend of baby boomers being a part of the social media what are the implications for marketers? Social media such as Facebook provides another viable channel to target the baby boomers. Similar to the Gen Xs and GenYs, there is a significant number of baby boomers who are avid consumers of luxury and non-luxury goods. They too are into iphones, ipods, the latest fashion, etc. Add to that the extended life span that medical innovations has made possible. The implication is that 40 is now the new 20. Rather than facing the prospect of growing old, the baby boomers are seeking ways to re-capture their youth. This includes continuing their conspicuous consumption, along with saving for retirement.
Also as part of re-capturing their youth, baby boomers are joining social media and watching You Tube videos. They too spend a significant amount of time online, as opposed to shying away from technology. This presents a perfect opportunity to market a variety of products and services to this group. Companies, besides focusing on trendy products for the young adults, can also feature products and services that are likely to capture the attention of baby boomers such as BMWs, baby boomer financial services, etc.
The Austin American Statesman, Austin, Texas featured an article about CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to re-design the Website. Initially users were given a choice to switch to the new format or keep using the old one. That option will be taken away at the risk of alienating some of the end users. Generally change is very uncomfortable and difficult to deal with.
For some change is not the issue but rather the objection stems from not liking the new format. Facebook announced the change in May and then waited until July to give users a chance to get used to the idea and provide feedback.
There are 100 million users of Facebook which is quite impressive. It is a comfortable tool to keep up with friends and families. In my opinion, Facebook is still one of the best social network tools that is out there. I think end users will eventually get used to the new format. It reminds me of the time I had to switch from MS Outlook to Lotus Notes when I got my job at IBM. Initially the new tool was uncomfortable to handle but now I have no issues with navigating through Lotus Notes. Over time it is easy to adjust to changes especially when either there is no option to switch to a different brand or brand loyalty is very strong.
I came across a very insightful article on yet another channel for non-profit agencies to raise funds.
The current economic downturn necessitates creative fund raising via reaching out to multiple potential donors in a cost effective manner. What better way can there be than social media which does not require any capital investment? Non-profits can utilize tools such as Twitter and Facebook to market their organizations to potential donors. These donors in turn can utilize social media to create buzz on specific organizations and their fund raising events. What a great way to combine networking and philanthropy.