When I tell people that I’m a social media consultant, they often ask me if spending time on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites is really worth the hype. Despite the fact that Facebook just went public with its stock, a lot of people still have this strange idea that Facebook (and other social media) is the playground of the 30 and younger crowd.
But all it takes is a quick glance at the numbers to prove that it’s not just people in their 20s hanging out on Facebook. Not by a long shot.
A Simple Case Study
One of my long-term clients is a Marketing Director at a retirement and assisted living community. The youngest resident at the community is in their late sixties – not exactly the “traditional” social media target audience. Still, over the past year she’s gotten behind an email list, a blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page for the company.
During a meeting with her in January, we decided to run a Facebook contest to increase the number of likes on their page. The project was smooth sailing until we hit a roadblock: the official rules, which Facebook requires to cover both their legal obligations and ours. And all of a sudden, instead of launching the contest in February, I’m playing email tag for weeks, trying to get this last piece in place so that we can launch the promotion.
Finally I pinned her down at her office two weeks ago. When I broached the subject, she assured me that she was still 100% behind the project, then asked me in the next breath if I though it was really “worth it.”
“Let me show you something,” I said as I logged into Facebook. “What’s the youngest target age of one of your customers? And what’s your zip code?” As she answered, I entered her desired age range (50+) and their zip code into Facebook’s Create an Ad application.
“Do you realize,” I said as the results came up, “that there are 19,000 people over the age of 50 just in this one zip code? And,” a few more taps of the keyboard, “there are 104,500 people over the age of 50 who live within a 50 mile radius of your community.”
By contrast, the local newspaper has a total circulation of 9,100. The community itself is, at maximum, home to 160 residents.
Worth the Hype
Needless to say, there have been no more questions about whether Facebook is “worth it.” In fact, at her request, I taught my client how to use the Create an Ad feature to do her own Facebook research.
And what did I get out of all this? For starters, I now have a fantastic example to talk about whenever someone tells me that older people aren’t using social media.
It just goes to show that, just because we’re growing older, it doesn’t mean we’re any less social.
Picture source: www.blueglass.com
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