Playing the Age Game in Targeting Gym Prospects on Social Media

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When most health club owners and marketers think of using social media as part of their prospecting plan, they often focus on Generation Z and millennials via social channels. However, they may not realize that they could be using social media marketing to reach Gen Xers and baby boomers as well.

If you’re trying to reach various “older” demographics—which for social media is about 30-plus— for your health club it might take some different messaging and choices of which social platform is going to be best for engaging with your audience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your gym’s older prospects are not on there at all.

Reaching 65 and older gym prospects on social media

Younger age groups have a tendency toward using a wider variety of social media, including Instagram and Snapchat, while most social media users over the age of 65 are concentrated on Facebook. In fact, research from the Pew Research Center found that 41 percent of people over 65 are currently using Facebook, with LinkedIn a removed second at 9 percent.

From a short-term perspective, Facebook is the channel to focus on when it comes to marketing to seniors, although that could change as those in age groups below them age out and cause a demographic shift.

Senior Facebook users also have a tendency to use the platform primarily to network and participate in conversations with friends, family and groups. This is directly in contrast with the youngest users, many of whom are more interested in identity-forming activities like posting selfies, memes, and more. It could bode well for your health club to start a locally themed group that targets senior health and wellness. This will give you a chance to build a bond with the group and help target them for your senior-based fitness programming.

Reaching 50- to 64-year-old gym prospects on social media

By 2018 the majority of those aged 50- to 64 had a social media profile. As is stands, around 65% of people in this age group have a Facebook profile. Following behind are both LinkedIn (24%) and Instagram (21%). Twitter also has about 17% of U.S. adults on the platform according to the research firm, Statista, so it is important to keep that in mind as well.

The key, though, is to use different messaging tactics that work best on each platform and to utilize a variety of social sharing, picture and video, and informational messaging.

Reaching 30- to 49-year-old gym prospects on social media

Thirty- and forty-somethings are the sweet spot for most potential health club members and they do use social media. The Pew Research Centre found that 40% of those aged 30 to 49 are most likely to use social media as a news source, compared with 26% of 50-to-64-year-olds and just 25% of users between 18 and 29. Meanwhle Facebook users come in at the highest proportion of users browsing for news at a robust 45%.

This presents gym marketers with both opportunities and challenges in reaching this age group on social media. While there is plenty of opportunities to reach this group via various social media platforms and messages, it is key to make sure that the message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Keep it entertaining, informative, and focused on the fitness and wellness needs of those that you are targeting. And don’t forget to sprinkle in shares of health news among your own content to take advantage of the new consumption typical of this demographic.

Social media is a part of everyday life. Most kids are tied to it day and night. However, for health clubs, it is important to utilize the right social media platform and the right message to help your gym reach beyond the kids and get connected with prospects of all ages.