What is a Granfluencer? The Latest Social Media Phenomenon

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have long given rise to megastars among the Millennial and Gen Z categories, i.e. the “typical” userbase for most of these platforms. Naturally, this made it all the more surprising when older generations started making waves on the platform – and we’re not just talking about Gen X or Boomers. Enter granfluencers, or rather, proof that even your 90-year-old grandma or grandpa could find themselves getting millions of views on the daily if they found the right angle. But just where did “granfluencers” come from, and why are they making waves on social media today? We’ll be diving into all of that, as well as which granfluencers to keep an eye on, in this article.

What is a granfluencer?

A "granfluencer" is a portmanteau of "grandparent" and "influencer." It refers to older individuals, often grandparents or individuals of “grandparent age”, who have gained a significant following on social media platforms. Just like your usual influencers, granfluencers cover a bunch of different topics. They often carve out their own little corners of the internet, team up with brands, and let thousands or even millions of followers into their lives. But what's really cool is that these new-gen influencers are smashing the stereotype of what success in the influencer world looks like and making it clear that age is just a number, all while building up their own enviable influencer careers. 

Typically, granfluencers refer to any social media creator over the age of 65, but many of the most popular creators are even older than that!

What content do granfluencers post?

Just like any other creator in the realm of influencer marketing, the content that granfluencers create can vary widely from one to the next. Generally, the posts they share often resonate with both their own generation as well as younger audiences (or even strictly one or the other, if their focus is more niche). Some common categories or content types that granfluencers might post include:

  • Life stories and experiences: Thanks to their wealth of personal experience and years of life behind them, granfluencers commonly share personal anecdotes, life lessons, and stories from their past. These stories can be inspiring, educational, and relatable to people of all ages, especially the younger generation looking to learn from someone who may be a tad wiser than they are.

  • Family and relationships: Many granfluencers focus on family dynamics, parenting, grandparenting, and maintaining strong relationships. They might share advice, funny anecdotes, or heartwarming moments involving their families, and encourage their viewers to never undermine or underestimate the value of having family members by their side.

  • Nostalgia and throwbacks: Another highly popular angle is for granfluencers to tap into nostalgia by sharing memories, historical insights, and throwback photos or videos. Due to how rapidly the world has changed in the lifespan of the typical granfluencer, some of the content shared may be totally unknown or even alien to Gen Z viewers, sparking their curiosity.

  • Hobbies and passions: Whether it's gardening, cooking, crafting, DIY, or any other hobby, granfluencers often showcase their interests and talents in fields they’re practically experts in at this point. They might offer tips, tutorials, or document their creative projects, encouraging audiences to take up underappreciated crafts and helping them in their journeys toward improvement.

  • Wellness and self-care: Many granfluencers emphasize the importance of self-care, health, and well-being. There’s also a huge push from older women to embrace natural aging and not be afraid of it, creating a healthier image for women when it comes to being themselves. They might share their routines, mental health strategies, and reflections on their personal journeys of aging gracefully.

  • Fashion and style: A big topic among granfluencers is for them to showcase their personal fashion sense and style, proving that age doesn't limit one's ability to be fashionable. They might share outfit ideas, shopping hauls, or style inspiration, giving an alternative look at the fashion scene and style ideas for other viewers. This has proven entertaining for younger viewers, and inspiring for older users looking to change up their own style since most fashion focuses on very young models.

  • Tech tips: Some granfluencers use their platform to break stereotypes by sharing their tech-savviness. They might offer tips on using social media platforms, smartphones, or other gadgets, surprising young and old viewers alike with their expertise and perspectives.

  • Advocacy and causes: Granfluencers often use their influence to raise awareness about important issues, such as senior rights, social justice, or environmental concerns. As causes are a major point of importance to Gen Z viewers, in particular, this type of content has proven to be quite popular.

Social media content from granfluencers can resonate with audiences for a variety of reasons: Older men and women often come across as authentic and experienced, having lived through different eras and therefore bearing a wealth of life experiences to share. This authenticity can be refreshing in a digital world where curated images and perfect lives can dominate.

Furthermore, many people can relate to the stories and experiences shared by older creators. Life challenges, family dynamics, and personal growth are universal themes, and hearing about them from someone with more life experience can be comforting and relatable. Granfluencers also bring a unique perspective to the table. Their insights can shed light on historical events, social changes, and personal growth over the years. This perspective can broaden the horizons of younger generations and offer valuable lessons that otherwise might not have been well-known.

Nostalgia is an automatic win for most people, tapping into deep emotions that are held for a lifetime. The content might evoke feelings of longing, tapping into the sentimentality of their audience. This can create a strong emotional connection and engagement with the content. Older men and women can also serve as positive role models for individuals of all ages. Their resilience, wisdom, and ability to embrace life's challenges can inspire and motivate others. Additionally, by being active on social media, granfluencers challenge stereotypes about age and technology. This can resonate with younger audiences who appreciate individuals breaking away from traditional norms.

In a world that can sometimes feel divided between generations, content from older individuals can bridge the gap and foster inter-generational understanding and empathy. Additionally, wit and humor are timeless, and these older creators often bring their own style of humor to social media. This can entertain and engage a wide range of people.

Who are the biggest granfluencers?

Helen Ruth Elam (@baddiewinkle) 

Baddie Winkle, whose real name is Helen Ruth Elam Van Winkle, is quite the internet sensation and influencer. She's famous for her out-of-the-box style and vibrant energy. Her presence on social media, especially Instagram, has drawn a massive following. She's known for her one-of-a-kind fashion sense – think vibrant colors, daring patterns, and an easygoing vibe.

Back on July 18, 1928, Baddie Winkle entered the scene. But it wasn't until her late 80s that she truly became a web superstar. It all started when her great-granddaughter convinced her to put on a tie-dye tee and strike a pose for a pic. That image made its way to Twitter, blew up, and that's when Baddie Winkle – the fearless, fun-loving "badass grandma" – took off. Her followers couldn't get enough of her unapologetic self-expression, her knack for humor, and her embrace-every-moment attitude.

Baddie Winkle's online persona is all about spreading positivity, body confidence, and the idea that life is meant to be lived fully, no matter your age. She's even teamed up with various brands and rocked the red carpet, fully embracing her newfound fame and the doors it's opened for her.

Irvin Randle (@irvinrandle)

Irvin Randle, also known as "Mr. Steal Your Grandma," shot to social media stardom around 2016 thanks to his seriously stylish and on-point appearance. He's often tagged as a "granfluencer" – an older pro who's making waves on social platforms.

Born in 1961, Randle snagged the spotlight when his pics went viral, showcasing his flawlessly put-together outfits and suave style. His knack for looking sharp, grooming game, and overall youthful vibe scored him quite the following on social media, especially on Instagram and Facebook.

His fame in the viral world and his unique fashion sense also got him plenty of interviews and media attention. He's become a bit of an icon, celebrated for flipping the script on what people his age should wear and how they should present themselves. Randle's popularity has also sparked discussions about age stereotypes, personal expression, and rocking killer style at any stage of life.

Lillian Droniak (@grandma_droniak) 

Grandma Droniak, as she's known on TikTok, has made a name for herself as a content creator with a whopping 3.9 million followers. Her content is all about bringing on the laughs, dishing out advice to her fans, and sharing snippets from her day-to-day life.

Only 93 years young, Droniak has turned into a bonafide social media sensation. Born on March 18, 1930, in the USA, she goes by the name Lillian Droniak in her day-to-day life. And, in case you're wondering about the family ties, she's the grandma of another online sensation, Kevin Droniak. Kevin gave the world a glimpse of Lillian's awesomeness way back in 2012 with his YouTube video, "Car Ride With My Crazy Grandma".

While all of her TikTok videos rake in a good number of views, there's one video that skyrocketed her into viral stardom. Her video where she lays down her own set of funeral rules has amassed a staggering 18 million views and counting. And if that's not enough, the video scored over 3.4 million likes and a whopping 29k comments.

Conclusion

In a digital world where it's often the younger crowd in the spotlight, granfluencers are turning heads and rewriting the rulebook. Their genuine stories, ageless wisdom, and lively personalities are breaking down barriers and reminding us that life's adventures never really stop. So here's to celebrating the rise of granfluencers – they're not just smashing stereotypes, but also showing us that making an impact knows no age limits.

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Candice is an influencer marketing enthusiast and marketing copywriter at HypeAuditor. When she’s not searching for the perfect music and filters for her Instagram Stories, she can usually be found keeping up with the latest gaming and tech influencers on Twitch and YouTube – or drinking a latte macchiato.
Topics:Influencer landscape
September 12, 2023
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Candice is an influencer marketing enthusiast and marketing copywriter at HypeAuditor. When she’s not searching for the perfect music and filters for her Instagram Stories, she can usually be found keeping up with the latest gaming and tech influencers on Twitch and YouTube – or drinking a latte macchiato.
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Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 139.1M+ account database.