How to Connect with Older Adults Online: Our Tips for Success

The Importance of the “Grey Pound”

We’ve heard a lot about the “Grey Pound” and “Silver Surfers” over the past 15 years, as the older demographic has grown rapidly, both in terms of proportion of the population and their wealth.

The over-65 population in the UK now holds over 80% of the nation’s financial wealth. This spending power means that older adults are an increasingly important target audience for brands, as connecting with digital seniors can unlock this increased spending power.

A Seismic Change in Habits Since 2020

Older adults have often been characterised as being tech-phobic and treated as such in the digital arena. While it  remains the case that older adults’ specific needs should be considered as part of any digital strategy; it is worth considering the changes that have taken place in recent years.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a huge leap forward for many older adults in terms of their digital usage. The need to use technology to have contact with family, to attend medical appointments, to buy groceries or make other purchases has meant many more older adults now have digital devices such as smartphones or tablets. It has also increased the confidence and skill level of many others, simply due to the frequency of use of devices to surf the web or to join Zoom calls or WhatsApp groups in order to have family contact.

Since 2019, the proportion of internet users aged over 65 has increased from 73% to 88%. 82% of digital seniors are now using a smartphone on a daily basis and own, on average, five electronic devices.

Older adults are also great users of social media with 60% of digital seniors using Facebook on a daily basis and 88% using YouTube on a weekly basis.

What This Means for Brands and Organisations?

Connecting with a digital senior audience online is all about understanding their unique needs and preferences. With more seniors embracing the digital world, it’s essential to tailor your approach to make their online experience enjoyable and engaging.

Here’s how to effectively reach and connect with this valuable demographic.

1. Understand Your Audience

First things first, get to know your audience. Seniors have a wide range of interests, from health and finance to travel and hobbies. You could create detailed user personas to get a clear picture of their motivations and challenges. This insight will help you align products and services to this audience as well as helping to craft content and engagement strategies that resonate with them.

2. Choose the Right Platforms

Pick the platforms where seniors are most active:

Facebook: Many seniors love Facebook for staying connected with family and friends. It’s a great platform for community building and sharing content.

Email: Email marketing works wonders since many seniors regularly check their emails.

YouTube: Seniors often turn to YouTube for how-to videos, tutorials, and entertainment.

Forums and Blogs: Seniors enjoy participating in forums and reading blogs about their interests.

digital seniors value security online

Security is a Priority

Seniors are concerned about the safety of their transactions online

digital seniors use social media such as facebook

Choose the Right Platforms

Seniors love Facebook for staying in touch with friends and family

3. Create Relevant and Accessible Content

Make sure your content is both relevant and easy to access:

Educational Content: Offer tutorials, guides, and informational articles that address their interests and needs.

Readable Text: Use larger fonts, clear headings, and simple language. Avoid jargon and complex terms.

Simplify Forms: Remove unnecessary fields and use tools like auto-complete and auto-correct.

Visual Content: Incorporate images and videos to make the content more engaging and easier to understand.

User-Friendly Design: Ensure your website and content are easy to navigate, with clear menus and accessible buttons.

4. Build Trust and Credibility

Building trust is crucial when connecting with digital seniors:

Testimonials and Reviews: Show testimonials and reviews from other seniors to build credibility.

Expert Contributions: Include content from experts or authorities in fields relevant to seniors.

Transparency: Be clear about who you are and what you offer. Easy-to-find contact information and privacy policies build trust.

5. Engage with the Audience

Engaging seniors through interactive and community-focused content can foster a deeper connection:

Interactive Content: Use polls, quizzes, and interactive content to engage seniors.

Community Building: Create online communities where seniors can interact with each other, such as Facebook groups or dedicated forums.

Responsive Communication: Respond promptly to comments and messages to build rapport and show that you value their engagement.

Build on Peer-to-peer Influence: offer incentivised referrals and build in the ability to share content on social media.

6. Provide Technical Support

Offering solid technical support ensures seniors feel comfortable using your services:

Guides and Tutorials: Provide easy-to-follow guides and tutorials on how to use your website or app.

Customer Support: Offer support through multiple channels such as phone, email, and live chat.

Simplify Processes: Make sign-ups, purchases, and navigation as simple and intuitive as possible.

7. Use Targeted Advertising

Advertising can effectively reach seniors if done thoughtfully:

Demographic Targeting: Use online advertising platforms to target seniors specifically.

Relevant Ads: Ensure your ads are relevant to their interests and needs. Highlight benefits that matter to them, such as ease of use, reliability, and customer support.

Clear Calls to Action: Use clear and direct calls to action that guide them on what to do next.

8. Prioritize Privacy and Security

Seniors value their privacy and security online:

Privacy Policies: Clearly state your privacy policies and ensure that their data is protected.

Secure Transactions: Use secure payment methods and reassure them about the safety of their transactions.

Enhanced Security: Consider adding two factor authentication where appropriate to protect users credentials.

By combining these strategies, you can effectively reach and engage a senior audience online. Providing valuable content and a positive user experience tailored to their preferences and needs will help build a loyal and engaged senior community. Remember, the key is to be patient, empathetic, and attentive to their specific requirements.

Fancy a Chat?

At Hookson, we have great experience in connecting with digital seniors. You can read our case studies about our work with American Ancestors and National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA here.

To find out more get in touch with us. We’d be happy to chat.