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The best social media influencers over 50
15th March, 2021 |
Social media is a part of everyday life for billions of people around the globe, but it’s still a fairly young phenomenon. Perhaps this explains the preconception that the glamorous side of it all, of influencers and cutting-edge technology, is not really for people in their 50s.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Over 50s are thriving on social media, using decades of passion and expertise to start inspiring blogs, gain impressive followings, and even earn the status of social media influencer in some cases.
In this article, we will look at five UK over 50s who have become online influencer sensations. We will then explore how you can get started on social media yourself, start your own blog and avoid disaster along the way, for example with mobile phone insurance.
Older people are getting to grips with social media
YouGov says that Facebook is the UK’s most popular social media platform, followed by Instagram. And the statistics show that these platforms are no longer just for young people.
In April 2020, Ofcom said that over 54s in the UK spent, on average, around 50 minutes each day on social media sites. In the US, where Instagram has its most users, almost a quarter (23%) of 50to 64 year olds were found to use the platform according to Sprout. For Facebook, this rises to 68%.
This shows that while the majority of users may be younger, over 50s can still thrive in these social online environments. In fact, one of Instagram’s biggest account holders is the singer Jennifer Lopez (51), with a whopping 143 million followers.
However, you don’t need to be rich and famous to get started. There are many examples of over 50s starting their own accounts on Instagram and Facebook, or blogs on websites like Wix and Medium. In some cases, they have gained large followings, made a living out of it and even won awards. Here, we look at some of the best social media influencers over 50 from the UK.
Renia Jazdzyk is a blogger and anti-ageism activist, based in Newcastle.
She started her Instagram account, called Vens Wife Style, in 2016. Renia hoped the blog would challenge stereotypes around older women and show they don’t have to give up their passions or stop caring about how they look.
Speaking to High Life North, she said: “We do not disappear from the face of the earth when we get older, despite the picture society often depicts.”
The blog was a hobby at first, started after encouragement from family and friends, but it has since gained 106,000 followers and now blogging is Renia’s full-time career. Browse the Vens Wife Style page and you’ll find vibrant outfits, bright colours, perfect accessories and collaborations with high-end fashion brands like Gucci and Prada.
Lance, from London and in his sixties, has been a fruit seller for several decades, working from his stand in Berwick Street.
However, in the social media world he is well-known for his elaborate fashion-sense and love for the ‘Supreme’ clothing brand. After being spotted by another popular Instagram user who shared a picture of him in 2017, he became a social media and internet sensation, even featuring in Vogue Magazine who described him as a ‘London Celebrity’.
He has since gone on to start his own account, Dinner and Dance, with 52,000 followers. Scrolling through the posts, you’ll find pictures of Lance standing at this fruit stand in his favourite Supreme items, with each post having thousands of ‘likes’.
Despite living on the island of Tresco, 28 miles from the Cornish coast, Anna Parkes has watched her fashion blog become a widely viewed and much-loved destination for older people keen for fashion inspiration and a taste of island life.
The 62 year old, who runs a small art gallery, started Anna’s Island Style around five years ago as a way to combat empty nest syndrome. She told Yours Magazine: “I think a lot of post-menopausal women feel they’ve become invisible and have to go beige! But we don’t all want to be that.”
Since starting the blog, Anna now also has a related Facebook account, and an Instagram account that has gained more than 2,000 followers.
Alyson Walsh’s story shows exactly how the experience and knowledge you have gained in life can translate into blogging success.
A freelance journalist with experience as a fashion editor and author, Alyson started her own blog in 2008 called That’s Not My Age, a ‘grown-up guide to great style’ that would celebrate life while calling out ageism and sexism.
Powered by her editorial talents, the blog has been growing for more than a decade, and in 2019 won ‘Best Women’s Fashion Blog’ at the Vuelio Online Influence Awards.
The blog has helped Alyson become a social media influencer with 60,000 Instagram followers.
Jen Stanbrook found her true calling when she started a blog about her passion – interior design.
Love Chic Living was set up in 2011 as a place to explore her love for ‘inspirational yet achievable’ home interiors. Jen gives readers tips for everywhere in the home from the living room to the conservatory, as well as insights into her own rooms.
It has been a life-changing experience that has allowed Jen to become a full-time blogger, travel the world and even work on live television, as well as with brands including Wilko and HomeSense.
While turning Love Chic Living into one of the UK’s top interiors blogs, she has also cemented her status as a social media influencer, with 12,000 followers on Instagram. She writes: ‘Who knew a love for paint, cushions and wall art could give me a whole new life experience?’
How to get started with social media
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not just for bloggers. They offer countless social benefits for over 50s, from keeping in touch with family, to organising and hearing about local events, or staying up to date with your favourite artists, public figures and media channels.
Think about the things you expect to get from your social media experience, which will help you decide what platforms are best for you.
With Facebook, you can share your views, photos, videos, or anything else you’re interested in. You can then connect with friends and family anywhere in the world, and view, ‘like’ or comment on each other's posts.
Your Facebook account will work with a computer, tablet or smartphone. All you need to set one up, other than one of these devices and an internet connection, is an email address or mobile phone number. Just go to Facebook.com, click the green ‘create a new account’ button, and fill in the form that asks for your name, email address or mobile number, a password, date of birth, and gender.
Facebook is particularly useful for organising local events, seeing what family and friends are up to, and finding local companies or services. You can also join special groups for people in local clubs or with particular passions.
Although owned by Facebook, Instagram is designed specifically to share photos or short videos. You will be able to follow friends and family along with any public figures you like, or anybody whose posts you enjoy. They can also follow you, and you can ‘like’ each other's posts, add comments, and send each other direct messages.
To sign up, you’ll need a mobile number or email, full name, a unique username, and a password. You can sign up on your web browser, but it’s recommended to download the app via Google Play Store if you have an Android phone, or the App Store if you have an iPhone or iPad. Instagram was designed to be a mobile phone app so the key features, such as taking photos then editing and sharing them, can’t be done on your computer. More reason to get mobile phone insurance in place so you can protect your handheld device!
Instagram will be perfect for you if you love photography, art or fashion, and would like to try sharing your own photographs. The inbuilt editing tools are simple to use and in no time at all, you’ll be sharing beautiful images with the world. It’s also a great place to discover new bloggers and artists, for example photographers or musicians, either local to you or around the world.
Twitter encourages users to share their views on topical events, both around the world and locally. You will be able to follow friends, family and any public figure, who can follow you in return.
Follow #hashtags to see what topics are ‘trending’, and include them in your posts to be part of the conversation. You can ‘retweet’ other user’s posts to share it with your followers, and when you write a post yourself it will have a limit of 280 characters. This encourages everybody to say things in a snappy or succinct way.
To sign up, simply go to twitter.com and click the ‘sign up’ button. Add your name, phone number or email, and date of birth, then you’re ready to go.
Twitter is considered ideal for people like writers, comics and journalists because of the ability to tap into global events as they unfold and offer comments instantly. So if you want to follow key issues as they happen, or even lead the conversation yourself, it could be the perfect platform for you.
Starting a blog
If you want to write more substantial posts with a dedicated space, such as your own online journal or magazine, setting up a blog is also easily done.
A platform like Medium is great if you’re all about the words and want to just set up and get writing. Meanwhile, if you want more creative control, for example the page design and including images or videos, Wix could be a good option. You don’t need to be a computer genius to design the pages, it’s just a case of dragging and dropping the elements to where you want on the page.
With both Medium and Wix, all you need to sign up is your email address, but if you have a Facebook account set up then you can use that. Other notable blogging platforms include Wordpress or Squarespace – it’s all about checking each out and deciding which one has the tools you need.
And if your social media is set up already, you have a head start in promoting your blog and finding your first readers. Use your profiles to promote new blog posts with family, friends, and people online who might be interested.
Staying safe online
Amid the plentiful benefits of social media and blogging, there are also risks. You are sharing personal information about yourself with the world, which could become valuable for scammers or hackers.
Meanwhile, if you check your social media in public, your smartphone could be targeted by thieves. Protect yourself against theft by having mobile phone insurance that will replace a stolen phone.
Make sure you take steps to keep your information and possessions safe. All social media accounts have measures you can add to boost safety. For example, your profile on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can be made private, meaning only people that you approve will be able to see your posts or information, or send you messages.
Have very strong passwords that won’t be easy to guess. Setting different passwords for each account will ensure that even if one is breached, the rest are still safe.
Your mobile phone insurance should also protect against accidental damage or breakdowns. If you can’t get your broken device replaced quickly, it could slow down your progress with your blog.
Age UK has more great tips for staying safe online, no matter what your age.
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