If you only use your smartphone to make and receive calls, and not much else, you don’t really need to read any further because you are officially a dinosaur.
The first time I purchased a cell phone I was so excited and immediately let my daughter know that her mom was now a texter. She replied back and asked about the new phone. Of course, I texted back. Oh, I was so proud of myself. Her next text was something like, “if that really took you 15 minutes mom, you are not a texter!” I have gotten much better over the last 5 years… yes, just 5 years.
You may find it hard to believe but there is a generation or two that didn’t grow up taking selfies. What the younger generation calls ‘social media’, we called it ‘writing letters’. We used pens and pencils and now its keyboards.
As a baby boomer (mature adult), we needed to learn all the ins and outs of all things electronic from scratch. Yes, we got our initial information from our kids and/or grandkids but then we moved on to howto tutorials, preferably in nontechie language.
We are not intimidated by social media, because we know the worst that could happen is our younger friends will have something to tease us about for awhile. Maybe that is what makes us so determined to figure it out.
Growing up with social media has made a generation that knows how to USE the platforms better than any other generation. However, those over 40 have learned how to UTILIZE it better.
As a virtual assistant, entrepreneur, solopreneur, or small business owner, we absolutely cannot get through the grueling days without some sort of aid to get us moving forward. Hence the need for social media. We take all forms of social media for granted but it is absolutely necessary for any business person, no matter your experience.
Birth of Social Media
Where were you on 4 February 2004? If you said you were probably logging onto your computer and checking your Facebook status, you would be wrong. That is Facebook’s birthday. Can you imagine? Facebook is going to be 13 years old this year. And now with over 40 million active small business pages, it is the strongest and most popular social media platform.
“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.” Mark Zuckerberg
By the way, you weren’t on Twitter or Pinterest either.
YouTube arrived in 2005 and Twitter had it’s debut in 2006. Instagram and Pinterest were launched in 2010 and then comes Snapchat in 2011.
Statistics… aka Numbers
Internet users have grown exponentially since 2005, with the most growth in the 1829 year old age range. I’m sure this is of no surprise; however, the older generation is also catching on. At first it was probably just to keep up with their children and grandchildren. But then, oh yeah, they retired and had nothing else to do but play, not just games, surfing and learning as well.That playing turned into becoming quite adept at getting around and realizing that it comes in handy for acquiring and growing business.
Pew Research Center recently released a study of usage and demographics of social media platforms and most of the numbers are about what you would expect with young adults and millennials. Almost 8 out of 10 online Americans use Facebook. And, by 2016, a whopping 72% of those are between the age of 5064.
According to SocialTimes, “Internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts.” So which are your favorites? Most boomers use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, besides Facebook. All those handy dandy apps make it so much easier to keep up with friends, family, longlost school buddies, and business associates.
Where to Focus Your Attention
What suits your interests best? Do you like to send out information in short bursts? Consider Twitter. Do you like to be more engaged with your customer base? Facebook is the answer. LinkedIn is a professional setting for those looking for work and linking up with business acquaintances. Are you super creative? Pinterest is the place to be.
If you are working with social media to get your talent out into cyberland, then you will need to pay attention to keywords for search engine optimization (SEO), keep track of algorithms as it pertains to your project(s), and find out what works best in engaging new and existing customers. Too much? There is probably an app for that.
How To Get Around Where You Need to Be
Just google “how to engage on (fill in the blank)” and you will get a plethora of stepbystep tutorials. There is even a “social media for dummies” book. I prefer technologically challenged, thank you very much. Stop by Business to Community for a list of howto’s in the top 7 social media platforms. Great blog posts in Marketing Solved can explain everything from Online Marketing on a Budget to quick marketing tips.
But if you need a more personal approach, most libraries offer lessons. And when in doubt, just ask someone younger than 30.
What the Future Will Hold
Social Media is evolving every single day and we need to keep up with trends but they do not have to rule us, or wear us out. One up and coming prediction is video content. Maybe boomers should dust off ‘ye olde’ camcorders and then we can teach those youngins a thing or two about taking videos.