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5 Tips for Talking to Boomers and Seniors on Facebook

As a brand that communicates to boomers, you run a great risk of alienating your potential customers if you don’t know how to use social media in a way that aligns with their cultural sensitivities. In this post, we’ll explore a few tips that can help you, or anyone on your staff, communicate on social media with increased effectiveness.

Before we dive in, it’s important to emphasize that proper audience understanding and research will help you make the most out of these tips and maximize your campaign’s effectiveness. Having a clear conception of your consumer’s buyer journey, motivations, demographics, user mode, and more will help you immensely.

Boomers Can Spot Insincere Messaging from Miles Away

“Don’t underestimate the importance of transparent and authentic messaging when communicating with older consumers, and especially with the boomers. Since birth, baby boomers have been bombarded with marketing messages across a variety of ever-expanding channels—many of them feel like they have seen it all. And most boomers will tell you that they can spot insincere messages from miles away. Therefore, boomers will tune out and turn off insincere messaging much more quickly than other generations. And even if your message does ring true, you need to deliver on the promise to ensure that boomers continue to see your brand as trustworthy.” –Dot Boom, p. 74

If there is one thing that that will kill your campaign fast, it will be disingenuous messaging. Boomers and seniors are wary of being seen as part of a problem rather than as a generation that came before and deserves full respect. They’re also wary of too-good-to-be-true promises and marketers who are out to take advantage of them.

Tip #1: Be genuine.

For example, don’t say, “We’d love to hear from you!” if you don’t intend to respond to or somehow acknowledge your audience’s responses. Remember, social media works best as a two-way conversation, not as a continual media blast.

Tip #2: Use realistic photos

Don’t use photoshopped images of goofy grannies jumping in the air with unrealistic exuberance or unnaturally staged stock photography. Seniors can see right through your attempt to appeal. Without real understanding, your inauthentic approach will deter more seniors than it attracts.

Respect Older Consumers’ Sense of Ownership (and use it to your advantage)

The type of interaction older consumers have through social media avenues can be more meaningful, introspective, and perhaps insightful to marketers than the interactions of younger consumers. With age comes experience; boomers believe that their opinions matter and are extremely vested in their online contributions.

Tip #3: Give boomers an opportunity to share their experience.

In countless studies, surveys and usability tests, boomers have said that advice from family and friends is the most common way they research a new product and that it’s the most trustworthy source of info. Actionable takeaway: ask users to share their experience or opinions to generate conversation and drive engagement. Ask questions in your posts and invite responses. Be sure to acknowledge the responses that you receive.

Tip #4: Use nostalgia appropriately

Most boomers will tell you that they want to see and hear about how they are living their lives today, not how they lived 30 years ago. Contrary to popular belief, most boomers don’t long to be 20-something again. They want to appreciate the age and experience they have and make the most out of the life they live now. Don’t assume “the good old days” were that good.

Facebook’s “On This Day” feature and #ThrowbackThursday can be a good use of nostalgia. References to Woodstock and other assumptive generational markers might not be appropriate.

Tip #5: Keep things positive.

Positive statements are easier for your brain to process than negative statements, and scientific studies have shown that the processing ability gap widens as you get older. When your consumers are scanning their newsfeed for something interesting, positive messaging has the best chance of catching their eye and resonating quickly.

For example, a post that says, “Why caregivers should never go for more than three days without a good night’s sleep” could be better phrased, “Caregivers need a good night’s sleep at least every third night to prevent burnout.”

Social Media Messaging to Boomers and Seniors

Take your time in forming your campaigns for boomers and seniors. These tips will shape your assumptions and give you some clarity on how a social media manager of any age can communicate well with seniors.

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