A recent report from PEW says the number of adults who use social networks has increased to 72% in 2013,

a 5% increase from last year and 64% increase since 2005 when Pew first started studying social adoption.

It goes without saying that younger adults continue to be the most active social media users, but what we found to be the most surprising is the growth among older internet users, such as our grandparents (65 and older). According to PEW, those 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites, like Facebook, in the last four years, from 13% in the spring of 2009 to 43% now.

Twitter, however is a whole new ballgame for most social media consumers, and although not as many Internet users are tweeting, PEW has indicated a more than doubled increase to 30% in 2013 compared to less than 15% in 2010.

So what does all of this mean to us? Well, get used to seeing your parents (and maybe even your grandparents) “poking” you, commenting on your photos and typing in all capital letters with “LOL’s” ending every sentence. The times are definitely changing in the world of social media, which as you’ll see in a previous post, has changed the way agencies are now doing business.

These numbers reinforce that social media should be an important part of your marketing plan as total usage among adults continues to grow. The past argument that older audiences are not on social media can no longer stand.

To make sure you’re engaging with these older social media users, make sure you have a clear understanding of how your various audiences behave online—what they use social media for and what they expect to receive from their social media usage. A cookie-cutter approach to social media is never the way to go—in fact, it’s the kiss of social death.

Are you seeing an increase in social media usage from the older generation? How are you engaging this audience online?