The Rise of Mature Influencers – Varsity Branding

If you’ve always thought social media was a young person’s game, you may want to think again. 

That’s because a new wave of senior influencers are giving content creators on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube a run for their money — or at least for their followers and brand collaborations. They’re called granfluencers, and they’re every bit as significant as their junior counterparts.

As I’ve shared recently, pop culture has no age, and social media is much the same. Just think back to 2010, when Betty White became the oldest person to host “Saturday Night Live,” thanks to the nearly half a million people who supported a Facebook campaign rallying for her to get the gig. Thinking back to her ability to cross generational lines, one could consider White to be the original granfluencer. 

Bursting with life experience, wisdom and overwhelming charisma, granfluencers have been busy creating content in all sorts of genres — from fashion and life advice to wellness and food. It’s also clear that they’re quite savvy in every way, even if it means their kids and grandkids are helping them produce video content. 

Not only are granfluencers racking up millions of followers, but they’re also shaking up social media dynamics. Marketers have noticed. And when you factor in that baby boomers control over half of the country’s household wealth, it makes a whole lot of sense for brands to expand into older demographics. 

Even better, granfluencers are actually reaching across generational lines, and there’s evidence that younger generations make up a large part of their followers. Maybe it’s because today’s young adults are drawn to the authenticity and wisdom of senior influencers, but two-thirds of Generation Z and millennials say they enjoy watching videos featuring mature adults. And a whopping 78% of Generation Z and millennials say they have gained valuable knowledge from older content creators.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. I’ve put together a list of some mature influencers that are popular among followers of all ages.

10 Granfluencers to Follow

Helen Van Winkle, @baddiewinkle

Instagram Followers: 3.1 M

Age: 95

Helen Van Winkle, @baddiewinkle

Known for her humor, innuendo and eccentric personal style, Helen fights for the legalization of medical marijuana and against ageism.

Lillian Droniak, @grandma_droniak

TikTok Followers: 13.3M 

Age: 93

As a celebrity grandma, this granfluencer can often be found discussing her love life and exes in humorous ways.

Lili Hayes, @lilihayes

TikTok Followers: 6.6M

Age: 76

An Israeli-American comedian, Lili enjoys entertaining followers by loudly ranting about life, while often sporting Supreme clothing.

Retirement House, @retirementhouse

TikTok Followers: 5.6M

Age: 70+

This group of six senior actors, collectively known as Retirement House, live together and create social media content together. 

Stanley Tucci, @stanleytucci

Instagram Followers: 4.3M

Age: 63

This actor and Italian foodie shares his travels and many delicious recipes, sometimes making them right in his own kitchen.

Barbara Costello, @brunchwithbabs

TikTok Followers: 3.9M

Age: 72

Touting herself as “everyone’s grandmother,” Babs is the internet mom and grandma you didn’t know you needed. Tune in for recipes, household tips and motherly advice.

Bo Petterson, @dadadvicefrombo

TikTok Followers: 3.5M

Age: 65

Bo offers fatherly advice on everything from buying a car to shaving, while also helping his daughter heal from a traumatic brain injury.

Joan MacDonald, @trainwithjoan

Instagram Followers: 1.9M

Age: 77

As a fitness granfluencer with a bodybuilder’s physique, Joan uses her own inspirational story to show followers of all ages that it’s never too late to put your health first and get into shape. 

George Takei, @georgehtakei

Instagram Followers: 1.4M

Age: 86

Known for his role on Star Trek in the 1960s, this actor and activist now shares content ranging from politics to pop culture.

Charlotte Simpson, @travelingblackwidow

Instagram Followers: 27.6K

Age: 68

After losing her husband of 31 years, Charlotte decided to focus on solo travel and share her experiences with the world on Instagram. She has been to all seven continents and all 50 states.

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