Hospital Marketing: Boomers’ Use of Social Media is Booming

Baby Boomers who provide care for aging parents are heavier users of social media than boomers in general.

Baby boomers are embracing social media.  Faster than any other segment. According to Pew Internet the number of 50-plus who use social networking sites grew 88% during the past year.  Now practically half of the adults over 50 regularly use social media.   In the more narrow 50-65 age group its almost three fourths.   Healthcare marketers are learning that social media can be a very effective way of reaching and connecting with baby boomers.

But those boomers who are caregivers to aging parents are even more likely to embrace and use social media. Age Lessons partnering with Comscore found that approximately 15.5 million of the 78 million boomers are caregivers.  They are split 60/40 female to male and the level of care ranges from daily phone check-ins to live-in help.

As reported by Matt Carmichael in Ad Age these boomer caregivers use social media an average of 150 minutes a month and view 70% more pages than average internet users. They are dependent on social networking sites for information because they have so little time for other types of socializing.  Their free time is limited and they are often restricted by the demands of caring for their parent(s).  It is often the easiest and fastest way to stay connected with family and friends.  They also use social media to validate and reinforce their feelings by finding others in similar situations and communities that provide support and encouragement.

The study also found this group is more likely to use the internet to find information, conduct research and make purchases.  The top sites for boomer caregivers are Facebook with a 91% reach, Amazon with 76% and Wal-Mart at 41%.  Twitter has 21% reach.

These caregivers are important influencers and decision-makers for not only their own immediate family’s health concerns but also for their parents.  This makes this group especially important to healthcare marketers.

Marketing to niches can be very effective.  They are more easily identifiable and the message can be very focused.  The use of social media, especially Facebook – whether in the form of a page or ad, can be extremely useful tools reaching this key demographic.

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