What Growing Diversity Online Means for Your Business

During the 2008 presidential election, political analysts congratulated Barack Obama for taking advantage of social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter. By using every tool at its disposal, his campaign team took control of the race and won the election. Unfortunately for the President, he may not have that advantage in 2012.

That’s because the Internet has become an important aspect of many new political campaigns, for both Republicans and Democrats. In the next election, Obama won’t be the only tech-savvy candidate vying for the White House. A report recently published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that more and more Republicans are starting to use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking services to reach out to their demographics. That includes groups other than just young people.

During the 2008 election, Obama’s campaign used social networking tools to focus on the younger generation. But today, the fastest-growing demographic in the social networking world consists of people over 50 years of age. This news has obvious implications for politicians. But as important as understanding this trend is for those in the political arena, it may be even more meaningful for online businesses.

As more people over 50 start using the Internet to connect with friends, online businesses will need to address their needs. This is a largely untapped demographic that will have a significant influence on whether websites succeed or fail. As young people get older, online business owners can expect to see an increasingly diverse population accessing their sites. How can you make sure that your business attracts as many clients as possible without forcing others away from your site?

Diversity will become increasingly apparent online, so it’s important for business to keep up with changes. One way to do this is to create microsites that have been designed to attract different sections of your target demographic. Taking a slightly different approach on each of your independent pages can help your business attract a wider variety of customers. To do this, though, you need content that properly targets each group.

When targeting older adults, organizations should use language that is easy for that generation to understand. Even though they have become more aware of Internet technology, many adults over 50 only have a basic grasp of how social networking technology works. You wouldn’t want to make the process too complicated for them. Instead, you would get the best results from straightforward language that addresses the issues at hand. You might also want to consider using text, image, and video sizes that are easier for older adults to see.

When targeting young adults and teens, organizations can take more liberties with their content by including hip, technical jargon and slang. Young people might also respond well to concerns that affect them directly rather than society as a whole.

Knowing the best ways to communicate with your key audiences requires some research. The reward, however, is a larger base of people who pay attention to your organization’s message.

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