When you hear the words “influencers” and “social media trendsetters,” you usually think of Millennials and Gen Z, not 55+ and grandmothers! But the times have changed and “grandfluencers” are making a splash in the world of social media representation and influencer marketing.
Baby boomers control 70 percent of all disposable income in the United States, spend 15 hours online every week, and for the most part, believe social media improves their lives, according to several studies. But most importantly for the public relations industry and social media managers, they spend more money online than younger generations–about $7 billion each year. And yet, most marketers set aside just 10 percent of their budgets for boomers while allocating 50 percent to millennials.
There’s a misconception that older people aren’t interested in learning new tech and brands, which often means brands fail to market properly to them. But not only are seniors becoming more tech-savvy, they’re also using online platforms to build their personal brands and share their favorite products, making them untapped partners.
What’s more, audiences seek content that lifts diverse voices and makes them feel good. As influencer marketing continues to grow, baby boomers and older members of Generation X are hopping on the bandwagon. They don’t see themselves as elderly, and just like any other demographic, they want to live an active life and have a wide range of interests from tech and travel to fitness and dining, all while sharing their activities on social media.
There’s a growing list of brands across industries that include “grandfluencers” in ads, social content, and more. Here is a list of some of the most popular influencers on a variety of topics and their own unique voices.
Known for her sleek gray hair and effortless style, this retired Fordham University professor and social worker, 67, started a fashion blog in 2014 and now has a commanding social media presence with over 750,000 followers. She has been sought out by several brands to market their products, including Perricone MD, Oribe, and French fashion house Maison Margiela. It’s estimated the fashionable professor earns about $2,900 per sponsored post.
HELEN RUTH VAN WINKLE
Known for her bold makeup, body positivity, and feisty persona, van Winkle, 95, emerged as an unlikely internet celebrity in 2014. In one of her earlier posts, she is wearing her great-granddaughter’s cut-off jeans and tie-dyed T-shirt. She has done deals with Svedka vodka, LG, Aussie Hair, Fashion Nova and many others. With over 3.5 million followers on Instagram, she has become one of the most popular “grandfluencers” on the platform. It’s estimated that this larger-than-life granny can earn up to $9,815 per sponsored post! Follow her on Instagram.
At the urging of her daughter, this mother of four and retired teacher started sharing primarily recipe videos on TikTok in April 2020. Now, three years later, the grandmother of nine has garnered over 40 million likes on TikTok for her home and kitchen tips. Affectionately known as Babs, her TikTok account started as a platform where she could upload one-minute video versions of the recipes she had collected over the decades from family, friends, magazines, and newspapers. Her easy-to-master recipes and food hacks, delivered in her folksy, grandmotherly wisdom style have garnered millions of views on TikTok, including 6.5 million views in her most-watched video ever, a demonstration on how to check the propane level in your grill tank by pouring warm water over it. Follow her on TikTok and Instagram.
Like so many of us across the nation, Joan MacDonald, now 76 years old, found herself overweight, and suffering from high blood pressure, acid reflux, and severe arthritis. But unlike so many of us, Joan decided to take the bull by the horns! With the help of her personal trainer daughter, MacDonald embarked on her personal fitness journey and the results have been nothing short of amazing. She decided to chronicle that journey as the creator of the Train With Joan Instagram account, which currently has over 1.7 million followers. MacDonald’s inspirational story has resonated with people of all ages, proving it’s never too late to prioritize your health and get into shape! Thanks to her herculean efforts and her popular Instagram platform, MacDonald has partnered with several fitness and wellness brands, including supplement brand Women’s Best and the Sensate device. Follow her on Instagram.
#MrStealYourGrandma is the colorful nickname for this Instagram grandfluencer, a 60-year-old second-grade teacher from Houston who moonlights as one of the most stylish men on the internet. Randle has become known for his dapper and effortlessly cool outfits, sharing selfies with his 800,000 followers on Facebook as well as 650,000 followers on Instagram.
He’s been featured in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and People, was named the brand ambassador for The Davis Collection Beard Company and his latest endeavor is the founding of the Silver Fox Squad, a group of older male influencers, cofounded by Randle after he realized he was the only black male grandfluencer getting any attention.
It’s estimated Randle brings in about $1,400 per sponsored post. Follow him on Instagram.
Today’s mature influencers touch on all manner of topics. You’re bound to find one or more that appeal to you. Who knows? Maybe you have something you’d love to share with the world, and maybe even make some money while you’re at it!