When we think about being digital, it can be easy to think it’s a young person’s game. This stems from many people associating digital expertise with a detailed understanding of the technology. This is a mistake.

At Standing on Giants we see scores of older people making sophisticated use of online communities. Although online communities can be vast, they resonate at an individual level for their users. The personalised communication gives older people time to read and reply, and a Community Manager is on hand to support and nurture communication.

For any brand that wants to engage senior customers, a community should be part of their engagement strategy. A well-run community can revitalise a brand’s relationship with older customers. We see it every day.

Embrace older people for a thriving community

Brands tend to want the community to serve a clear purpose, for example peer to peer support or detailed customer insight, but a well-run community goes much further. We regularly see how a community provides a safe and supportive space for its members which can touch on life, family or even personal tragedy.

Older members are often the life-blood of a community. These members are always on hand to review, feedback or test new products and items, as well as providing hours of advice to others each day – some of our senior community regulars can spend up to 13 hours a day online.

Providing a space for older customers to engage with your company creates a new support channel and, some would argue, a new USP. From a purely support perspective, communities appeal to older customers who want to avoid long call queues. The community gives them a place to have a voice in a manner, and at a pace, that works for them.

Never make assumptions about age

Here at Standing on Giants we would urge brands to stop being so concerned about age. Every day we see how older people act as advocates for a brand through the simple fact that they feel they belong. Millennials do not own the world. Everyone does.

Our Community Managers are proud to facilitate these communities, particularly as there can be such a perceived gulf between generations in society. It doesn’t matter how old someone is, it’s their contribution, how they help, and the difference they can make to someone else’s life that counts. This emotional connection will pay off with high levels of engagement and brand loyalty.

Communities beat loneliness

Finally, I would encourage any brand or charity with senior members to consider a community as a means of combating loneliness, especially during the Christmas period. Many charities do wonderful work with spreading awareness of loneliness among the older generations, so give your customers a place to chat to each other, not just to you. I guarantee that not only will you reap the benefits of highly-engaged members for your business, you’ll feel so much satisfaction from seeing the effect it has, even on just a single person. If you’d like to learn more about this, please ask me below.

On a final note, it would be remiss of me not to mention a few charities to look at who work with older generations, so that you can donate, or offer your time:

Age UK

Friends of the elderly

Contact thee elderly

The Salvation Army

Tobias Bignell, Head of Community @ Standing on Giants

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The Standing on Giants team is an eccentric group of passionate brand owned community experts comprising community managers, techheads, trainers, and various other crazy people