Are granfluencers a thing?
Senior influencers — nicknamed “granfluencers” — continue to earn heaps of media coverage, possibly offering brands opportunities to reach older and younger social media users.
Among the star older influencers are the “The Old Gays,” four men from California in their sixties and seventies who use social media to give their perspectives on pop culture and growing up as gay men. The group, with 5.8 million followers on TikTok alone, have been featured on the “Drew Barrymore Show” and “Today” show.
A recent New York Times article highlighted three over-50 fashion influencers — Grece Ghanem, Lyn Slater and Nina Garcia — “all with social media followings well past the half-million mark, all rejecting the culture’s insistence that women become invisible 50 years before death.”
Fifty-seven year old Lonni Pike, who goes by the name “Gray Hair and Tattoos,” has collected nearly one million TikTok followers and 103,000 Instagram followers with her body and age-positive messaging.
The New York Post last year noted that 92-year-old Helen Ruth Elam, who uses the social tagline “Stealing Your Man Since 1928,” earns as much as $9,815 per promo.
It’s uncertain how many senior influencers are out there, but they may provide marketing conduits for reaching their digitally-savvy peers. Pew Research last year found the percentage of older adults aged 65 and older who used social media grew from three percent in 2005 to 45 percent in 2021.
With the majority of TikTok and Instagram users under 24 years old, the bigger opportunity may be reaching the Gen-Zers inspired by the authenticity, wisdom and can-do attitude of their elders.
Speaking to the Associated Press, AARP SVP Alison Bryant said many older creators offer a unique perspective for youth.
“They’re showing that anybody can do these things, that you don’t have to be afraid of aging. The 20 and 30-somethings don’t often think about that,” Ms. Bryant said. “The authenticity that we’re seeing in some of these older influencers is really refreshing. That’s part of the complexity of their narratives.”
- Senior influencers, or “granfluencers,” are smashing stereotypes and making big bucks as social media sensations – CBS News
- The Rise of the Over-50 Fashion Mentors – NY Times
- TikTok’s ‘Old Gays’ Are Developing a Reality Show – Variety
- Senior citizen ‘Granfluencers’ are making it rain on Instagram – New York Post
- Meet The ‘Granfluencers’ Making Up To $9k Per Insta Post – Fashion Weekly
- Social Media Fact Sheet – Pew Research Center
- ‘Granfluencers’ taking to social media to ‘show off’ – McKnights Senior Living
- Baby Boomers’ use of Facebook and Instagram: uses and gratifications theory and contextual age indicators – Science Digest
- Social media’s 70-up ‘grandfluencers’ debunking aging myths – The Associated Press
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do elder social media influencers offer big opportunities for brands to reach older consumers? Do you see potential for them to reach younger audiences as well?