Tech Savvy Seniors Become Granfluencers

Maybe I was behind the times, but I hadn’t heard of the term “granfluencers.” But I love this concept!

What Exactly is an Influencer?

Influencer Marketing Hub defines an influencer as an individual who has “the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others.”

How? Influencers develop a niche and gain enthusiastic and loyal followers. They often share their personal lives to establish personal and friendly connections with their fan base. This makes them valuable to brands since they can create trends and encourage followers to buy products.

Of course, this means money is involved and sometimes lots of it. For instance, mega-influencers, like celebrities, may charge up to $1 million per post.

Most influencers don’t make that much money. Nonetheless, some are successful enough to make a good living. YouTubers, bloggers, and podcasters have been connected to influencer marketing for awhile. The vast majority of influencers, however, now make their name on social media.

Truth be known, when I previously thought of influencers like the Kardashians, my eyes rolled a bit. But there’s something about granfluencers that I like.

Why Granfluencers are So Cool

By the way, I am not a granfluencer. You’ll notice I don’t have sponsored posts on my blogs. And I’m anything but trendy or fashionable.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate these savvy seniors who post photos of their classy or sometimes outrageous outfits. Or share their travel, dating, and fitness experiences. Hey, they seem to be having fun as they make money and live life to the fullest. And I love that they’re smashing negative stereotypes about aging.

The New York Post calls these sensations “Instagrannies.” I mean, who knew that Grandmas could teach younger ones a thing or two about becoming an influencer?

As I pointed out in my blog Baby Boomers Blazing New Trail as Grandparents, we boomers are determined to be the grooviest and hippest grandparents ever. But these seniors are taking things one step further.

According to PR Daily: “There’s a misconception that older people aren’t interested in learning new tech and trends, which often means brands fail to properly market to them. But not only are seniors becoming more tech-savvy, they’re using online platforms to build their personal brands and share their favorite products, making them perfect untapped partners.”

Marketing strategist Rahel Marsie-Hazen has helped companies connect with granfluencers. “The time is ripe for seniors who’ve been largely overlooked,” she said in an interview with CBS News. Senior influencers can make anywhere between $50 to tens of thousands of dollars for just one social media post, she added.

Don’t be fooled, however. Maybe becoming a granfluencer seems like an easy lucrative career option for seniors. But behind all the glitz and glamour lies a truckload of hard work and patience. You have to find your niche, be different, and be cautious not to bombard your followers with sponsored content.

Saying that, there are some great success stories out there. Here are a few examples:

Accidental Icon

Lyn Slater, 68, is known on social media as “Accidental Icon,” so named because she accidentally became a famous Internet sensation. Photographers mistook her for a fashionista at a fashion event because of the way she was dressed, according to AARP Disrupt Aging. Viola! This led to being featured in international fashion magazines and becoming a social media star.

“That was the reason I did become popular and I did become successful, because I was conveying this attitude, ‘Look at how cool I am and I have gray hair and wrinkles, and I’m not going to let anybody make me be invisible,'” Slater said in an interview for CBS News. “It involves getting out of your comfort zone. For me, if I don’t keep growing, that’s when I’m going to wither up.”

This former social justice professor has about 800,000 followers and her sponsored posts pay almost $3,000 each. “I probably worked about eight hours, and I made my yearly salary of a professor,” she noted.

Baddiewinkle

Among the best-known “granfluencers” is 92-year-old Helen Ruth Elam, who goes by “Baddiewinkle.”

“Been stealing your man since 1928,” reads the tag line on her Instagram page.

You won’t find this glamorous grandma wearing any drab clothing. Instead, she rocks the most colorful outfits imaginable. You’ll find her displaying flamboyant feather boas, bright pink lipstick, bombastic sunglasses, and even sexy bathing suits.

First hitting the internet’s radar at the ripe old age of 85, she currently boasts 3.4 million Instagram followers, and rakes up as much as $9000 per post.

Fitness Granny

Erika Rischko is an 82-year-old mother of two, grandmother of one and, surprising to even herself, a fitness influencer.

Rischko, of Langenfeld, Germany, describes herself as a “late bloomer” when it comes to fitness, but she now is inspiring young and old people alike with the workouts she shares on TikTok and Instagram.

Rischko told Good Morning America, she first ventured onto social media after the coronavirus pandemic caused gyms and workout studios to shut down. She said her daughter convinced her to film some workout videos to share with friends and family on Instagram — but then, TikTok started rising in popularity.

Since posting her first TikTok in April 2020, she’s gained over 117,000 followers and racked up over 2.2 million likes.

Beyond the Bucks

It isn’t all about money for granfluencers like Slater who says she wanted to become an example of aging gracefully. That’s true for a lot of these new social media sensations. Yes, the income is great. But many say that even better is the opportunity to share their joy, smash stereotypes, and just be themselves.

“I like to quote David Bowie,” said Slater, “because he says, ‘aging is when you become the person that you always should have been.'”

juliegorges

Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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8 Responses

  1. CatMichaels says:

    I caught a piece in my news feed about gran-fluencer, and it blew me away to see ageism stereotypes busted! Not an influencer here by any means, but good to see my peers making it on social.

  2. Julie, you always find the most interesting things to write about and I learn so much from you! I’ve never heard of, “granfluencers.” I’m going to look up these ones you mentioned here. Good for them.
    Thanks for sharing your great posts.

    • juliegorges says:

      Thank you, Rosie! I actually heard about granfluencers on GMA and did a little research to find out more. If only I could be as cool as these grandmas! Lol

  3. I love this! I have a childhood friend who grew up to become a model. Now, still beautiful and fit at 66, she posts pictures of herself in wonderfully colorful clothes that she mostly sources at thrift stores.

  4. How cool! I’ve never heard of granfluencers. That’s an awesome name by the way.

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