By Seth Kravitz
There’s a widespread belief that older customers are not comfortable with newer technology and don’t understand how to use social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Certainly if we look at the overall numbers, smaller percentages of the mature market use these channels than do younger adults.
Still,some of this older market segmentis signed up and active on social networking sites, and they merit the attention of annuity agents. Many customers are open to forming online relationships with service professionals, and agents find this style of communication to be very economical — or even free if the agent manages it himself.
Consider these important findings from comScore and Pew Research Center:
How can annuity agents use social networking to connect with mature customers?
How to go forward depends on your current use of social networking. If you have no presence, explore how your associates and your competitors are using these channels and determine how (or if?) you can get started. You will want to establish a presence that is friendly and inviting but that also conveys professionalism and promotes trust. Your social-networking image should be consistent with your current online marketing, such as your website and any email campaigns you may have in place.
Consider how much time you have available to check in. You don’t want to disappear for long periods of time, but on the other hand, many professionals decide that daily tracking of too many individuals overwhelms them. Don’t start a pattern you can’t maintain.
Consider how your content relates to older customers. Don’t assume all your readers are young. For instance, when you present examples on how clients can benefit from annuities, include some that pertain to older people.
If you are writing informative emails or articles for your customers, find ways to multipurpose your work. If you send letters, newsletters or other communications to your clientele, this information can be translated into additional formats to maximize the impact of your work.
Invite mature customers to connect with you. Use the search features on social networking sites to find your customers, and use offline channels as well, such as your business cards and mailed statements, to help them access you. When you meet with someone one-on-one, ask to connect with them!
For mature customers, social networking is part of the broader internet scene
As may be expected, mature customers do not limit their use of the internet to social networking. Twenty-two percent of adult internet users 50 to 64 and 19% of those 65 and above do some online banking, indicating they are open to managing a broad range of financial issues on the internet.
And considerably more than half of mature internet users send or read email. Those Americans ages 55 and over are spending more time on web-based email from year to year, while email usage is shrinking for younger people, especially those ages 17 and below.
It’s not too soon to look at ways to connect with your mature customers through social networking.