A new feature you may have seen on Facebook caught our eye this week. A friend posts an article on Facebook and you comment, then… BAM! “Like Page” pops up. Good news for brands!
The image above shows a post that appeared in my newsfeed linking to a SearchEngineLand.com article.
As soon a I commented on this post, the “Like Page” pop-up appears below the article preview. The same thing happens when I Like posts.
This is different from the Page post ads that brands can buy to appear on timelines, which have been the target of some controversy after disappearing in November 2012. Unlike these ads, the Like Button appears on users posts that they have opted to share themselves.
So far Renegade has only seen this on posts of articles by publications that have Facebook Pages. It’s a seamless integration of the like button for anyone who engages with the post, friend or not. However, given the coming changes with the News Feed, it’s likely this feature will be integrated into all shared page posts and website links (as long as the website has a FB page). In this way it would work much like Google Authorship and search results. It’s the perfect way to keep page engagement rising, so make sure you’re creating content that people will share.
"How we're all sharing is changing and the news feed needs to evolve with those changes. This is the evolving face of news feed." – Mark Zuckerburg
Facebook revealed it would be rolling out big changes to the News Feed design over the next few weeks. The update aims to simplify the News Feed and minimize clutter for users. The question on our mind is, “What does this mean for brand pages?”
“Everything across the board is going to get this richer, more immersive design,” said Julie Zhou, head of design at Facebook.
Pictures now account for half of all News Feed posts, up from 25 percent only a year ago, and with the updated News Feed those images will be more prominent on users’ feeds. Brands will have the opportunity to present their messaging with larger visuals. We can also assume that there will be space reserved on the right sidebar for Facebook advertisements, just like they are presented today.
However, users will be able to filter their news feeds by interests and categories of friends on separate tabs. When users want to see new photos or videos their friends are posting, they can simply click on a designated tab similar to how lists are used today. Concerns amongst marketers now arise about how Facebook will handle users that try to filter all their brand pages out of a feed.
All in all, brands and marketers will be challenged with the task of getting fans to actually share and engage with their content to create stories on their own timelines so it appears on their friends’ feeds – no matter the interest or category. Brands will need to be in-tune with the conversation their fans have to keep their content trickling into the feed more than ever.
It is likely that brands currently struggling with engagement will see a decrease in their reach, much like the decrease seen in September 2011. Facebook will also likely generate more opportunities for sponsored stories and promoted posts in specific feeds for interests, a la Twitter promoted posts and trends, to counter the negative effects of the changes.
Although Facebook has made marketing easier for brands through their advertising engine, which requires a monetary commitment, their turn to focus on user experience may be the second major slap in the face for brands. The future holds a big challenge for brands to revamp their strategies for the coming changes to the News Feed.
Catharine P. Taylors’ take on Media Post
Cara Tarbaj’s take on Social Media Today
Seth Fiegerman’s take on Mashable
To friend or not to friend—a perpetual social media question. If you work in client service, or have clients in some capacity, you’ve probably run into this particular dilemma of becoming friends with your clients on Facebook. So, what’s appropriate? If you work for a social media agency or in a social media-based role, might it be expected that you become friends with all of your contacts? Or is it better to keep your business all business and your personal, well, personal?
That depends. A better question may be, “Is Facebook really the best way to connect with your clients in the first place?” While Facebook is best for sharing among people you already know, Twitter and LinkedIn encourage you to share information, articles and other thoughts in a public space. These two platforms are natural places where you’d want to conduct conversations with professional contacts and new leads. Since your tweets can reveal as much or as little personal info as you’d like, you can intersperse your content with personal tidbits like photos without also giving access to your Spring Break photo albums from college.
As opposed to a few years ago, most people now are on LinkedIn and check it more often (i.e., not only when they’re on the job hunt). More frequent use is even broadening the type of content shared. Rather than always posting industry shop talk, more and more users are occasionally sharing content of personal interest to appear like a real person who’s more than his or her career. Like Twitter, LinkedIn allows you to develop your professional image while you conscientiously share certain types of content that convey the real you.
It’s also easier and less intimidating to follow clients (or have them follow you) on Twitter and LinkedIn. My Facebook public profile may seem innocuous enough because most of my info is friends-only, but if you’re a new friend, I honestly don’t know what you might find if you dig deep enough in my profile—that thing is almost 10 years old! I’d rather take our relationship online via Twitter, where my content is fairly ephemeral, or LinkedIn, which started out as my “professional” channel, and then I’ll share bits of my personal life with you there.
Being a client services person in the social media world doesn’t mean being an open book, but rather using the right networks to connect with your clients and contacts in a meaningful, yet appropriate way. And what do you do if a client friends you? Dawn Mentzer, aka the Insatiable Solopreneur, advises establishing a consistent “Facebook friend policy” for clients—you’ll either accept client friend requests, or kindly inform them that while you use Facebook to keep up with family and college friends, you’d love to connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn (and follow through by connecting with them on these networks).
I’m sure a lot of you have thoughts on connecting with clients on social media, and I’d love to hear them! On what networks do you connect with your clients? Has connecting with clients on social media led to any success stories or cautionary tales?
As you might have guessed, Melissa Komadina works in Account Service at Renegade. Feel free to tweet her or find her on LinkedIn.
Graph Search is officially here! That is, it’s available for individual users, but we know that won’t stop you, the savvy marketer, from thinking about how you can use it. We know you’re ready to take advantage of the next biggest thing since the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
It’s important to note that because Graph Search is connected to a your personal profile, results are ordered by the connections closest to you or by the number of fans of the pages.
Facebook created the dynamic, long-tail, natural language search tool so that users can find people and pages with nearly infinite combinations of variables. For example, you could use Graph Search to find oxymoronic results like “People who like Beer and joined Alcoholics Anonymous” or “Christian Males who like Fifty Shades of Grey,” but that’s probably only good for a few laughs (or if you’re a troll, a few weeks worth of amusement). Putting self-amusement aside, Graph Search has serious implications for your brand.
Now that Graph Search has launched, consider cleaning up your social media policy as soon as possible. The last thing you want anyone to find is that your brand is listed under “Places where people who like Racism work.” But how far you go as an employer to tell your employees what they can and cannot like is an ethical issue you’ll need to work out in your own company.
The real value of Graph Search lies in its ability to support your marketing research. The easiest and most obvious way to use this functionality is to find out who likes the brand and what their interests are. Search for “People who like [your brand]” and click on “More pages they like” on the right column of the screen to learn more about your fans. After figuring out their common interests in brand page, combine multiple brand pages in your long-tail search to find which brands are similar to both. This can have great insight to complementary brands. Now try selecting “Activities they like” in the right column and you may find a few sponsorship opportunities.
By going through these steps you can find a broad pool of people you can potentially convert into fans based on the brand correlations you found above. You may even include geographical constraints to see where in the world you should concentrate marketing efforts.
Finally, another way to use Graph Search is to research your competitors using the same steps. Where are their fans located? What do they like? Which activities do they do? See, we knew you weren’t going to be deterred by the fact that Graph Search is only open to individuals, not brands. You savvy marketer, you!
In his short story “The Aleph,” Jorge Luis Borges recalls an experience he had gazing into an aleph. He describes it as “one point in space that contains all other points. The only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” This fictional story regards the aleph as a both a gift and a curse because it gives the gazer a chance to see and know everything on earth. That is what social media has developed into today. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other sites, we now have the opportunity to see all—to see into people’s lives and to see the world like never before. Social media has opened up the unimaginable universe. Like peering into the aleph, checking your newsfeed or your Twitter timeline provides insight into everything in our world, from every angle—simultaneously, infinitely.
The aleph is significant beyond Borges’ short story. Its symbol is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is literally a part of the word “alphabet.” It is venerated by Kabala and other mystic traditions that put value on an aleph as the pursuit of truth. Like the aleph in these ancient traditions, social media is the means by which we seek truth in modern times. From companies to customers, from artists to fans, from friends to family, and from your PC to mine, we can now paint a more accurate, “truer” picture of the people we interact with via social channels. Social media offers us an endless amount of communication that is continuous and extremely transparent. Through following people, companies, bands, etc. on social media, we can see who their friends are, what interests them, where the have been, where they plan to go, their religious, and political stances and a plethora of other information that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.
"Aleph Sanctuary" - Mati Klarwein
Thanks to the advances of social media technology and the massive amounts of information these sites are processing, we have transitioned into the age of the “recommendation.” There are logarithms, programs and software that can now introduce you to more people, places, and things based on what you already like and your physical location. You can discover when concerts and art festivals are happening in your area, what news is breaking, and what song will go well with your mood for the day. Other sites will recommend vacations spots, restaurants, lawyers, and doctors. Heck, these sites can find you a job or an employee—all out of the comfort of your living room! This age of “recommendation” is giving us options like never before and it is shocking how incredibly accurate the recommendations are.
As our technologies grow and progress, we must accept that our lives are no longer veiled in secrecy. You can be a pessimist and see this as an intrusion on your privacy, but if you are receptive to this information exchange, the possibilities are endless. The more you share, the more people will share with you. The more you follow, the better recommendations you will get and the more useful social media will be for you. So instead of being wary of this connectivity, you could revel in the endless possibilities of this aleph. It will undoubtedly open your world to bigger and brighter things while introducing you to more people and experiences you would have never had an opportunity to access before.
— Jake Annear
“I just don’t get it – what’s so great about Twitter?”
This is the typical response I receive when my friends notice how much of my time is dedicated to my phone screen, reading tweets from my 500+ followers. What ensues shortly afterwards is back-and-forth dialogue where I argue for the advantages of social networks and then notice I have a new follower a few days later with my friend’s name attached to the account.
Convincing your friends to join a social network that you’ve already fully embraced can be an arduous task; fortunately, I’m battle-tested and willing to share my tactics for making them social media believers as well.
In this three-part series, I will help you to win your friends over and open them up to the world of social media. In part one, I will explain the advantages of the three main networks I believe each individual should join: Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Part two will have advice on finding and engaging an audience that shares your friend’s same interests. Finally, the last part in the series will be how your friend can create content that will add value and attract a following.
Most of the confusion that stops my friends from embracing social networking is that they really don’t know what each network is. I don’t blame them for stopping there - I wouldn’t try to go in the kitchen and try to make my grandma’s mac-n-cheese if I didn’t know how a cheese grater worked. Rather than trying to explain to them how each network works, I instead try to show them the purpose of each. Here is an excellent example using donuts:
However, if they’re still confused after seeing this, I’ve broken down the uses of each the social networks I mentioned earlier.
Twitter gives real-time updates of situations happening in real life. Your friend still doesn’t believe you? Go to Twitter and search for “DNC2012” to view the thousands of tweets that inform you who was at the DNC podium and what line from their speech resonated with the audience. If there’s anything happening with more 500 people in attendance, there are probably at least a few tweets about it.
But the best part about Twitter that makes it stand out from other social networks is the access. Because it’s a public forum, viewable even if you don’t have an account, it grants a ton of transparency to thoughts, ideas, whereabouts, and announcements from people you would never meet in real life – and for free.
Let’s say that your friend is a fashion designer. They’re about to launch a new line but they don’t have any exposure within the fashion industry. By tweeting often about the developments of their upcoming line and using the right hashtags, such as #fashion, #fabric and #design, your friend can introduce their products to a relevant audience and possibly even create a demand for them before they’ve premiered.
You can also consider Twitter’s search option a powerful, real-time engine for updates on current events and trends. This helps if your friend likes to research different topics or find out what’s happening in a certain area.
Need further help explaining? Instruction AE put together this video to explain Twitter:
Instagram is a photo-sharing community that has exploded onto the scene within the past year and a half. With membership reaching close to 100 million members, Instagram has yet to show any signs of slowing down. Even though you can attach a photo to a tweet on Twitter, Instagram fosters interaction around a photo by allowing users to like and comment on a picture like they would on Facebook. Instagram also allows users to share their pictures across other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and through email. Idea Channel even thinks Instagram is the best thing to happen to photography:
Let’s go back to your friend, the clothing designer. They have tons of designs but aren’t getting exposure for them. Imagine they take a picture of a shirt they’ve made and instantly someone asks how they can buy it. How did that user find it? Simple: our friend added a hashtag such as ‘#shirt’ or ‘#fashion’ to their picture, which allowed other users searching those hashtags to come across that photo. If the picture is aesthetically pleasing, more than likely it will receive a decent amount of attention. Since Instagram has not yet allowed pictures to be shared, a lot of users screenshot the image and post it on their account while giving credit to the original photographer. That’s the end result of exposure via Instagram: a possible sale for your friend.
With 60-80% of jobs coming through personal connections and networking, why not have a social network to lend a helping hand? Voila! Enter LinkedIn to serve that purpose. LinkedIn’s power is in connecting people in various professions so that they may collaborate on ideas, projects, and find new positions. A profile on LinkedIn closely resembles a resume, which is advantageous for recruiters who are searching for the person that best fits their needs. Linkedin is different from Facebook because it is viewed as being a strictly professional network.
Your designer friend has experienced some success selling their items and wants to now become an in-house designer for a major fashion label. Using LinkedIn, your friend can search for a label, view any open positions and clearly see if any of their connections work at that company or if someone they know is connected to an employee and asked to be introduced through a simple message. If your friend fears networking events, LinkedIn offers a new way to make connections.
LinkedIn Groups is also a powerful feature for job seekers and professionals who want to network and keep up with their industry. Mostly dedicated to different types of professions, Groups offer insights and resources on their particular industry.
If looking for a job on Linkedin is on your friend's mind, this little tutorial could be useful:
Hopefully by this point your friend has created an account on each of these networks and is ready to learn what they can do to find out where their audience is and how to engage them. I’ll discuss how to teach them these next steps in my next post.
-- Sean Clark
Is Facebook going “out with the old?” I realize as I write this, I have my Twitter page open at all times now, when that used to be true for Facebook. I no longer feel the need to check Facebook 50 times a day anymore (it’s more like 48 times now, so I’d say that’s a pretty significant decrease). The use of my iPhone has also added Instagram and Pinterest accounts to my life, but I didn’t really notice this subtle change in my social media habits until a friend let me know that Facebook’s stock has dropped significantly and also that “more of [her] friends are deleting their accounts.” This phenomenon is due to any number of reasons, including getting hacked, the desire to avoid unnecessary drama caused by certain interactions, and even a desire to spend less time on social media sites. Those who are interested in spending less time on social media chose to quit Facebook rather than other sites because it is the platform on which they seem to waste the most time.
I don’t know when a retweet, favorite or Instagram “like” began providing a bigger feeling of accomplishment than a Facebook “like” or comment, but I would rather post my photos to either of these sites and update my Twitter statuses than my Facebook statuses on a regular basis. The way I see it, status updates are what Twitter was made for, so when you create one, you know what you’re signing up for and what to expect from the people you follow. The lack of specificity with Facebook often allows for the overuse of its features to the point where I will see uploaded photos of sonograms. I don’t know about my fellow Facebookers, but I certainly did not expect to see things like that pop up when I log in to post a funny video to a friend’s Timeline. Even as I look at my page now, I see people linking their Pinterest and Twitter updates to Facebook rather than directly posting content.
This demonstrates the use of Facebook as secondary method of promoting yourself, rather than the go-to outlet.
The Twitter vs. Facebook debate is an obvious point of interest in investigating the falling popularity of Facebook. Users of both outlets have weighed in on this, and the resulting consensus of this dispute is the same as the age old Ben Affleck vs. Matt Damon one—there will never be one right answer, and and the two don’t mind working together. Matt and Ben share an Oscar, and Facebook and Twitter each has an account on the other’s site.
Other social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and numerous blogging sites are also growing in popularity and have singular focuses just like Twitter. The idea that you can post your status to your Twitter, your photos to your Instagram, your plans to Pinterest, and your rants to Tumblr has been embraced by many. Facebook doesn’t have just one purpose, and without the unwritten, simple guidelines of the other platforms, people don’t quite know anymore just what qualifies as “Facebook appropriate.”
As completely reliable as stating “my friend” as a source of the drop in Facebook stock is, I decided I needed to find actual evidence of these shortcomings. Sure enough, CBS posted a report on their site last Tuesday with a lot of stock market jargon that I would need my equity-to-teenager translator to understand. But one thing that I was able to take from this article is that the stock has fallen 43 percent since its initial public offering. This information, combined with an article in the Los Angeles Times indicating that Facebook shares fell 8.1 percent a few weeks ago, support the news that Facebook is on the decline.
Facebook is still the number one social network with hundreds of millions of users worldwide, but with the recent loss of nearly 2 million users, there is no doubt that it as not as strong an influence as it used to be. Users have abandoned their accounts for other platforms, or just don’t feel the need to constantly interact with their 1,500 “friends,” the majority of whom they barely speak to in real life. This has become somewhat upsetting, as Facebook has been home to so many trends over the years, including games, photo sharing, bumper stickers and—who could forget—poking. I’m obviously not saying that this is the end of Facebook. With its purchase of Instagram and the recent addition of Timeline to provide access to a complete history of activity, Facebook works to remain current with constant updates and adjustments to the site. So, no worries, Facebook won’t die off like Pokémon cards and Ferbies, but the present social networking competition is definitely a significant blow to its status at the top.
And now, on a happier note, I will leave you with an example of one particular use for Facebook that I can’t see ever going out: posting cute videos of cats on people’s walls.
-- Arielle Lewen
“Ted,” the big box office hit from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, has captivated audiences in the theater and beyond. The movie’s title refers to its star, Ted: a foul mouthed, womanizing, pot smoking anti-teddy bear whose punch lines could give you a black eye. Watching an iconic childhood toy do things your craziest friend from college wouldn’t do is like that eTrade baby talking about personal finance: magical and brilliant in its unfathomable nature. Yet there is something deeper with Ted that makes him so effective. Perhaps it’s that he represents the challenge of letting go of things from your past; of learning to take responsibility and be an adult. Or I could be totally off: I haven’t seen the movie.
So how do I know so much about Ted or care about what life lessons he embodies? Because of a comprehensive promotional campaign that puts this wonderful, furry little jackass all over the place. The marketers behind “Ted” covered all their bases, making smart social media moves and brand partnerships that all commit the voice and character of Ted to memory.
Ted is on Facebook with 2,027,292 Likes as I write this, and I’m sure there will be more in the next few hours. Ted’s Facebook page provides fans with pictures, status updates, and more Ted-related content from other websites that is of interest to anyone who enjoys his humor, regardless of whether or not you have seen the movie. One look at the Facebook page and you know Ted, as every post is loyal to his voice.
@WhatTedSaid currently has 283,524 followers on Twitter, and capitalizes on the one-liners creator Seth MacFarlane is known for. The tweets are just like the Facebook posts in that they’re accessible even if you haven’t seen the movie, and unabashedly Ted.
The partnership between AXE and “Ted” is brilliant for many reasons. First, the content is hilarious. Ted is a perfect spokesbear for AXE, whose brand voice shares a similar sense of humor. On YouTube, “Ted” trailers immediately follow AXE commercials, which were also written and directed by MacFarlane. The viewer is easily transitioned from one product to the other, a testament to the compatibility of the brand voices.
WHAT TO LEARN
A consistent brand voice is vital to the success of a social media campaign. The voice of Ted the character is much more entertaining and understandable than the voice of “Ted” the movie would be if it didn't have a character to personify it. While the Facebook page is clearly promoting the movie (users can buy tickets to see “Ted” via the page), users respond to the page’s content and the voice of the character in a far more interactive way because it does not feel forced. Because “Ted” has the ability to market itself through its title character, it seems like more of a “friend” on Facebook than a promotional page. The same applies to the Twitter account: because Ted the character is “responsible” for the tweets, there is no unwanted brand pushing or interaction between the movie and fans; it’s more personal and thus, more effective. When given the opportunity, a character or avatar is a great way to connect with consumers in a social media campaign.
The success of “Ted” is obviously not solely dependent on its social media campaign or viral web presence, but rather it proves that social media marketing done right can encourage lasting relationships between consumers and a brand. People who have yet to see “Ted” or those who have just left the theater can have a connection with this movie, and more importantly, its bear, beyond the screen.
Do you currently like or follow any movies or characters on Facebook or Twitter? Have you seen “Ted?” Tell us in the comments below!
Social media allows companies to create interactive, in-the-moment and fun campaigns. Companies are engaging their audience and provoking continued dialogue, while also tying these campaigns back to their products. These companies are raising the bar for what consumers can expect from social media campaigns. Companies are utilizing user-generated interactive games, contests, and promotional events to serve consumers, as well as benefit the company. A contest is no longer just “complete a form” to enter, and even billboards are no longer just wall-based stationary advertisements. Instead, companies are spanning multi-platforms and multi-means to get their message across.
Jell-O creatively designed a campaign that connected Twitter with consumer personal sentiment and relied on a specific hashtag as a vital component to their campaign. The concept of “Pudding Face” was established with the call-to-action, “Get Your Pudding Face On.” A billboard located near Times Square, which was called the “Mood Meter” and had a man’s face with a changing smile or frown, was set up to connect to Twitter sentiments in real-time. Whenever the mood turned too sad (meaning the percentage of frown tweets were higher than smiles), Jell-O gave away free pudding coupons to tweeters using #PuddingFace. Consumers felt more connected to the Jell-O brand when Jell-O replied to sad tweeters and gave them free pudding to change their frown to a smile.
Other companies use the hashtag to promote a business campaign or idea. For example, American Express started a campaign to drive shoppers to small businesses called “Small Business Saturday.” AMEX partnered with Facebook to give the first 10,000 small businesses that registered $100 each in Facebook advertising. The campaign used #SmallBizSaturday on Twitter to remind consumers to shop at local small businesses. Google, Twitter, and FedEx are now among the big businesses that support “Small Business Saturday” and the campaign has acquired over 2.8 million Facebook “Likes” thus far.
Recently launched “Live for Now” global Pepsi campaign utilizes the hashtag, while also calls for consumer action via Twitter. Pepsi, in partnership with Viacom Media Networks, promotes the NOW factor across music and pop culture platforms. Emphasizing the present moment, consumers are encouraged to tweet images with #mtvnow, #countrynow, #playnow, #comedynow to be entered for a chance to win prizes all summer long. Selected consumer tweets are also featured across Viacom’s channels and on their websites. Twitter also will share the campaign and the NOW factor through pop-up concerts and free music downloads based on the trending artists of the week.
Other companies are using innovative strategies that include interactive gaming techniques that engage a captive audience. For example, McDonalds in Sweden used social media to create a game called “Pong” that was constructed on a large-screen billboard. Just by using a smartphone and geo-location information (no app required), one’s phone could be directly connected to the billboard game. After 30 seconds of successful playing, players win a free coupon for a McDonalds food item of choice. Consumers were then asked to redeem their prize at the nearest McDonalds location. This strategy not only marketed the company, but also brought consumers directly into the restaurant to collect a prize. A simple strategy, free food and a fun game can always be a method to bring in a crowd.
MTV has taken the concept of an interactive game even further. They have recently launched a “Teen Wolf” fan-based game/social experience called “The Hunt.” Fans of the series can log into their Facebook accounts and become a member of the show’s high school and participate in activities with characters from the show. With the line of reality and fiction blurred, this innovative social media strategy is very impressive. Like McDonalds’ “Pong” game, a follow-up strategy is implemented to encourage consumers to keep coming back for more (whether it be to redeem a prize or a personalized email reminding one to continue playing the game). “The Hunt” will be one to keep an eye on to see if other companies will mimic and if it becomes a success.
Whether it is the use of the hashtag or interactive gaming techniques, social media campaigns are becoming more inventive than ever before. Large companies like Pepsi and American Express are catching on, but small businesses can be successful as well. Multi-platform campaigns that use widespread social media tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, can benefit both the consumer and the company: social media at its finest.
What’s your favorite interactive social media campaign? Let us know in the comments!
- Danielle Genet, @daniellegenet
A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Old People Writing on a Restaurant's Facebook Page, a blog compiling screenshots of members of the older generation leaving posts on different restaurant Facebook brand pages. Scrolling through each page gave me a great laugh, but it also made me wonder if this generation really belongs online. We’ve got Bud posting a photo of his dog to Red Robin’s wall; Ian wishing Steak n’ Shake good luck in college; Sydney posting about the life of Jesus to Quiznos’ wall; Frank asking Jack in the Box to call him; and Debra congratulating Waffle House on a new baby (see below).
My conclusion? The Internet is a powerful tool that everyone should be able to use, and social media outlets are no exception. These folks may not have the hang of it just yet, but the rise of the older generation on social media platforms is undeniable, and it’s an important trend to follow.
According to Pew Internet, social networking activity among Internet users ages 50 and up has nearly doubled in the past year. Additionally, this same age group is growing faster than the younger generation, with Internet users aged 50-64 growing on social media sites by 88% and users aged 65 and up growing 100%. With stats like these, it’s hard to ignore such a booming and active demographic.
What’s in it for them?
Pew gives us a few reasons as to why social media is so attractive to this age group. First, the older generation finally has the capability to reconnect with past relationships. Back then, it wasn't as easy to look up and reconnect with a high school friend you made forty years back. Second, chronic disease support is easily attainable. With blogs and discussion threads at their fingertips, folks with similar health issues can reach out for help simply and comfortably. Finally, undeniable generation gaps are being bridged online. This older age group isn’t much different from any other when it comes to social media. They want to keep up with their grandkids like I keep up with my friends and family. LeadingAge online magazine interviewed a few senior citizens about their social media presence to give us a better understanding of their online benefits. Randy Eilts, a director of public relations for a senior living marketing firm, says that he likes to be among the first to see his granddaughter’s prom pictures or photos of his children’s Hawaiian vacation. These are opportunities that weren’t as available just a few years ago.
What does this mean for businesses?
Reaching out to this age group isn’t limited to television, newspaper or radio anymore. Marketers can and should freely jump on the digital bandwagon to get to their not-so-niche market. Older folks are making their appearances on Facebook and Twitter, but there are also social media platforms that cater to them specifically. These sites include Gransnet, a network for grandparents with discussion board covering topics that range from childhood games to difficult daughter-in-laws, and Active Empty Nesters, a site with large font and an emphasis on the joys of being free from the duties of raising a family.
One more for good measure:
How do your parents or grandparents use social media, and exactly how do you feel about it?
-- Jaime Cheng, @Rochambeaux