There are a growing number of Baby Boomers with huge social media followings. In just about every niche, you can now find social media influencers over the age of 65, including a 74-year-old chef with over 15 million followers on TikTok. It’s gotten to be such a trend, in fact, that CNN has coined a new term: “Granfluencers.”
The rise of the granfluencer
It’s only natural to ask: “How did this trend start, and why?” Unlike younger social media influencers, who view this as a full-time profession, many of these older granfluencers don’t seem to view money as a primary concern. Yes, some of them are lining up profitable deals with brands such as Chobani and Hyundai, but that’s not the real motivation.
In some cases, these granfluencers are just doing it to feel young again. As one granfluencer interviewed by CNN said, she has more friends in the 25-to-30 age group than in the 75-to-80 age group. In other cases, they are doing it for a sense of community. Posting a TikTok video a day, for example, can be a great way to help cope with a disease or other health problem by connecting with a broader community.
And, in some cases, it’s really just about self-expression. Many of these granfluencers say they are far enough along on life’s journey that they don’t really care what others think about them. And this leads to a refreshing sense of authenticity on social media – something that major brands have picked up on. Unlike 20-something influencers, who are sometimes trying too hard to be someone they aren’t, a typical 65+ granfluencer doesn’t feel the same urge. They may already have had storied careers and amazing accomplishments.
What happens next?
According to the latest social media data from Pew, in 2014, just 25% of people in the 65+ age group were on social media. By 2021, that figure had jumped to 45%. So it only makes sense that some individuals in this age group have made the jump to social media influencer.
That being said, the core demographic for most brands is the 18-to-34 age group, so the rise of age 65+ social media influencers is a bit puzzling. Is the growth of the granfluencer trend a possible sign that brands might be refocusing on older demographics in search of new customers? We’ve all heard about the “graying” of society, and how America (as well as most other industrialized societies) is getting older. Or is the rise of the granfluencer a possible sign that brands, forced to cope with a slowing economy and slimming profit margins, might be forced to extend their search for the perfect brand influencer to help sell more products?
How to get started
The good news, if you’re in the Baby Boomer demographic, is that it’s easy to get started. One older TikTok star, for example, started by giving brief TikTok tutorials to friends and family. That launched a series of TikTok videos, and those were so successful that the organic growth of followers just happened overnight.
So pick something you know something a little about, and just start making brief videos. Over time, you’ll see what works, and what doesn’t. Just remember: the key is authenticity. So don’t try to be someone you’re not. Have fun, and success will come naturally.