A new Nielsen report found what many have already suspected to be the case: It’s adults aged 35-49 who are the largest consumers of media. That includes social media as well as traditional channels like television and radio. The popular image of Millennials addicted to checking their Facebook, Twitter and other social media feeds is more appropriate for their parents, or so the data indicate.
Researchers used a passive approach to measure data, so that self-reporting bias wouldn’t affect the results, and studied 9,000 smartphone users as well as 1,300 participants with tablet devices. 35-49-year-olds spent the most time consuming media of all forms, beating out both their Millennial children and their 50-and-over parents.
The oldest group of study participants had significantly less media time than either of the other age groups, but still racked up over 4 hours per week on social media and 20 weekly hours when all types of media were considered. Participants aged 35-49 spent nearly 7 hours a week on social media, 39 minutes more than the Millennials in the study.
The sharp rise of social media use by middle-aged adults has important consequences for accounting firms that include social media marketing in their overall strategy to reach their audiences. Believe it or not, there are still a few firms that believe social media isn’t relevant to connecting with potential clients. The assumption is that only younger folks are spending time perusing news feeds (and seeing ads) on these platforms. This study should put an end to that kind of thinking, once and for all.
Adults between the ages of 35 and 49 represent an ideal target market for accounting firms. Yes, those a few years older have more assets and are closer to retirement, but the 35-49 set have plenty of needs for a wide range of financial services, and they’re old enough to realize they need professional help in these areas.
This is the group that is most likely to be handling financial decisions for their aging parents and their children who are in college, or getting ready for it. They’re at an age when taxes aren’t as simple as filling out a 1040EZ. They’re business owners, many of them, and looking to make solid succession plans early on so they can ensure the best outcome as they transition away from direct control. A large number of these workers have seen their own parents struggle to cope with medical expenses, long term care costs and other financial difficulties as they retire, and they want to plan ahead to avoid the same difficulties.
Social media isn’t just for kids and it isn’t just for fun any more, either. Sure, it’s entertaining, but a surprising number of today’s social media participants use it for getting news and interacting with brands as well.
Few small and mid-sized accounting firms have a marketing budget that can cover radio, newspapers or national magazines. Social media is the great equalizer in today’s market. Even sole practitioners can maintain a strong presence on these platforms, demonstrating their thought leadership and interacting in a way that builds goodwill as well as expanding client rosters.
Whether you’re using paid content or purely organic communications, you can reach the audiences you need through social media. Don’t discount its power, because your most successful competitors certainly aren’t.