Summer is officially in full swing! Beaches, backyard cookouts, and long-awaited vacations are scattered throughout the family calendar, but for many businesses, it doesn’t have to signify an end to your marketing! Most companies spend much of their marketing efforts targeting parents, and while we agree that’s a smart marketing strategy, you may also be missing out on another critical demographic.

Not too long ago it was unheard of to see your grandparents or parents  on social media or using the internet for research. And social media? Forget it. But, within the past few years, this demographic has become increasingly active on the web and social media platforms, and disregarding them as buyers is a huge mistake.

Each week, my parents and my wife’s parents, check up on our family on Facebook to see which restaurants we’ve been to lately and what kinds of activities our daughters are participating in. To them, it’s their way of keeping up to date with our lives instead of “annoying” us with phone calls every week. Don’t just take our word for it! According to Pew Research Center, Internet use among the age demographic of 65 and older has grown by 150% in the past few years, and of those who go online, 71% go on daily and 34% engage with social media. Older adults have become more familiar with using these tools to bridge the demographic gap between them and their loved ones, as well as reducing feelings such as isolation and loneliness.

With that being said, grandparents are a great demographic to target, especially if you’re a family-focused business. Why? How often do you see grandparents dropping off and picking up the kids while the parents are busy? Have you ever considered that maybe Mom and Dad aren’t the only ones paying for your products and services, and perhaps Grandma or Grandpa are? Here are a couple of ideas that may help you identify and target your summer marketing campaigns towards a new demographic:

Social Media

While primarily utilized by the younger generations, every age group is finding their unique ways to make the most of technology and social media. As “uncool” as it sounds, Grandma is starting to use Facebook and her needs are drastically different from yours. There is a vast difference in how this age group is using the social media tools available to them. The elderly are more sensitive to online privacy issues than younger generations who are posting selfies multiple times a week, and many have connected to find like-minded peers within church groups or other community engaging arenas. Others have engaged in social media to find health information and support or to connect with other people who might have the same issues.  Some have also joined the online world to stay current with political changes occurring that influence more important issues such as their pensions or health care provisions. Doctors and other professionals have tapped into this demographic and set up social media pages to specifically attract what this age group is looking for, and your business can too.

Strategy: One way to attract this older demographic on social media is to create specific targeting requirements to include this age group when creating Facebook ads. Also, engage with pages in your community such as family doctor’s offices, churches, and recreational organizations so that your company is showing up where this older demographic is engaging. Because the elderly group is more sensitive to online privacy, the less “pushy” and more friendly and conversational you can be, the better. Honest and empathetic content also have a tendency to speak more to their mindsets, encouraging and supporting their values ingrained over time.

Buying Decisions

Not only are grandparents online to look at photos of little Hunter and Kelsey on Mom’s Facebook profile, but seniors are emphasizing the informational and educational aspects of the Internet by using it to research issues that concern their health, finances, and for booking travel.

Strategy: When picking keywords to target seniors, it’s best to use short-tailed, simple, and direct keywords about your business to best get their attention. The 65+ age group is still fairly new to the digital world, so the items that they are searching for are relatively high-level and simple, your company should meet them there in the middle.

Are we suggesting that you put all of your marketing efforts and dollars into targeting seniors just because they’re online now? No, but we’re reminding you to not forget about them, especially when it comes to helping parents and families make buying decisions involving kids’ products and activities. If you would like help on a strategy on how to target seniors, please feel free to contact us!