creator marketing by older people

The Rise of the Granfluencers: Older Creators Are Making Their Presence Felt

This entry was posted in News on .

The popular narrative is that social media is the domain of younger generations. Indeed, think tank Pew Research Center supports that theory, finding that most U.S. users of those platforms are between the ages of 18 and 29.

However, the percentage of people 65 and older using social media rose to 45% in 2021 from 21% in 2014, and a recent poll by The Washington Post found that nearly three out of 10 people aged 50 through 64 and 13% of those 65 and older use TikTok.

So that popular narrative is in danger of being squashed under an orthopedic shoe by a group of creators that have earned the nickname, “granfluencers.” 

“I think it’s amazing how the social media marketing landscape has expanded over the past few years to those aged 60-plus,” Open Influence Account Manager Caroline Clausen said. “It just goes to show how the impact of our efforts has outgrown the stereotypical ‘influencer.’ Creators come in all shapes and sizes, and brands are learning to capitalize on every type of influencer to reach wider audiences.”

And it makes sense: Baby boomers control 70% of disposable income in the U.S., and they are online nearly 15 hours per week, so it was only natural that people 50 and older would become creators, and that brands would turn to those granfluencers to help reach their counterparts. 

Roughly 10% of brands’ marketing budgets is currently aimed at baby boomers, compared with around one-half for millennials, and granfluencers can help brands get more bang for their limited bucks. 

Why Granfluencers? 

“I think the success of The Golden Bachelor is an indicator that there’s a lot of cultural appetite for granfluencers,” Open Influence Director of Operations, Lucy Jones said. 

Their advanced age can be a benefit, as their life experiences help make them come across as more authentic and trustworthy when providing endorsements and recommendations to their viewers. 

Several granfluencers are anchoring an influencer marketing campaign Open Influence is currently working on, and Clausen said they were “a natural fit into our talk track, and many came to the table with an authentic, comedy-style angle that brought excitement to a more serious type of product. These mature voices gave new life to this campaign in a way I didn’t know was possible, and it’s so exciting to see how they’re utilizing platform features, memes, and more to bring those 60+ into the conversation on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.”

Those life experiences often include expertise in areas such as social media food influencers and retirement planning, giving brands in those sectors the chance to tap into their knowledge when formulating their marketing efforts. 

“I’ve been seeing a lot of older women in the fashion and beauty space, which is refreshing,” Open Influence Creative Strategist, Daria Ingram said. “It’s changing how we think about style and beauty being for any age. I’ve seen some older creators collaborate with both beauty and fashion brands.” 

Likewise, granfluencers can be a useful tool in campaigns backing local, community-oriented or social responsibility-focused initiatives such as awareness campaigns, causes, or educational efforts. 

They can also prove more effective in reaching users of a similar age, who relate better to people closer to their age than to younger creators. 

Older people can “spin a yarn,” making them highly engaging storytellers with a wealth of experiences to fall back on. 

Of course, as is the case with creators of all ages, brands must ensure that the granfluencers they choose to work with are aligned with their messaging and target audiences. 

Grand Influencer to Follow 

Helen Elam Van Winkle, better known as @baddiewinkle, is considered by many to be the original granfluencer. She recently turned 95, and has been an online fixture since 2015, tallying more than 3.2 million followers on Instagram. Her spunky attitude and vibrantly colored wardrobe have endeared her to brands including MGM Resorts, Nyx Cosmetics, Sally Beauty, Smirnoff Ice, and Tillamook Ice Cream. 

Lillian Droniak didn’t come to TikTok to post the occasional video—she came to “slay.” The 11.9 million-plus followers of the @grandma_droniak account are treated to filter trials, funny skits, “get ready with me” videos, house tours, and story times, and she often discusses her exes while incorporating a dark sense of humor, such as, “This is Bruce, may he slay in peace. I liked him because he had a motorcycle. But as you know, he didn’t hold the door open for me. I’ll give him an extra point because his funeral was fun. 4/10.” The 93-year-old has worked with brands including Book of the Month, CVS, and Supergoop. 

Helen Polise is a young buck compared with the first two creators on this list, as the 62-year-old’s @themuthership TikTok account is rapidly approaching 1 million followers, drawn by her tutorials that teach people how to use the video sharing platform. Polise told CNN, “I’m really good at technology—probably better than a lot of young people. I want to highlight that it’s OK to get older. I feel more authentic. I’m not afraid to be myself. We think of older people in a certain way, and the more older people that put themselves out there authentically on social media, we can change what aging looks like and it can be more positive.” 

You don’t have to be a woman to be a granfluencer, as Irvin Randle, who will turn 62 Nov. 14, shares the fashionable outfits he wears while teaching with more than 800,000 Instagram followers, earning the nickname, “#MrStealYourGrandma.” Now, not only does he stand at the front of the classroom—he also models on the runways at Los Angeles Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. Randle has worked with fashion brands including Boda Skins, Fashion Nova, Southern Gents, and Taft. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by too grown. (@irvinrandle)


Granfluencers Also Come in Groups 

Retirement House features six actors between the ages of 70 and 85 re-enacting TikTok trends and performing comedy skits on the @retirementhouse TikTok channel, which has over 5.3 million followers. Brands including CeraVe, GoodRx, Snickers, and Virgin Voyages have rung the bell at Retirement House to tap the talents of Gaylynn Baker (Mabel), Jerry Boyd (Curtis), Reatha Grey (Rose), Chuck Lacey (Eugene), Monterey Morrissey (Larry), and Patti Yulish (Bubbe).

Four real-life friends in their 60s and 70s—Bill Lyons, Jessay Martin, Mick Peterson, and Robert Reeves—bring choreography, fashion, and LBGTQ+ activism to TikTok as @theoldgays, where they have attracted the attention of more than 11 million followers, as well as brands including Amazon, Savage X Fenty, and Walgreens. The Old Gays first went viral in a YouTube video promoting gay dating application Grindr in 2019. 

Open Influence is a long-standing creator marketing agency that always has a vast knowledge of current social media trends and how to seamlessly weave them into your brand campaigns. Reach out to Open Influence today for a influencer marketing agency’s perspective on how to discover and take advantage of the latest social media trends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *