Tweens, Teens and the Power of Social Media

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Teenage years are often thought of as being wrought with growing-pains, attempting to develop an identity and an array of emotions that span the spectrum.  Ask any parent of an adolescent and they will most likely say that the teen (ages 13-17), and even tween (ages 8-12) years*, are a tumultuous time at home.  Though this particular demographic is sometimes an afterthought when it comes to responsibility and maturity, when it comes to advertising and marketing, they wield some serious economic might holding over $180 million in spending power.

Also referred to as Generation Z, these youngsters are the first age group to grow-up in a society completely dominated by mobile technology.   As “digital natives,” they don’t just log-on to the internet to surf the web or play some games; they are practically wired-in from every angle.  Because of this, many brands are jumping on the social media bandwagon in an attempt to capture the attention of the tween and teen market.  However, if not done correctly, a social media marketing campaign for teens and tweens could be brand suicide.  So how do you market to a demographic that is notoriously known for being brand choosy, having a short attention span and nonresponsive to traditional marketing tactics?

  • Do your research.  Enlist the help of teens and tweens you know and find out what’s cool.  It may seem very Marketing 101, but you’d be surprised how many brands don’t do it.  “What’s cool” changes on a routinely basis, therefore throw out ideas to a test audience and get feedback before you go any further.
  • Develop a clever brand voice that is creative, fun and identifiable to your target age group.  Though they’ve grow-up in a society littered with iPhones, high-speed internet and sharing their thoughts and feelings online, they are still searching for a place to fit in.  Create a voice that has a hook and gets them and keeps them interested.
  • Make them feel special.  Teens and tweens don’t want to be just another follower or grouped into the masses.  At a time when they are trying to create an individual identity, reach out and thank them through your through social media platforms.  Reaffirm their choice/belief in you and recognize them as loyal fans.
  • Engage them through conversations and interactions.  Rather than blasting general tweets and posts, mention, reply and comment on their interactions with your brand.  Ask and pose questions. Invite them to participate. Follow what they say and keep the conversation going.  By creating an individualized conversation with them you’re not only making them feel special (see the point above), but you’re also keeping them hooked on your brand.

Think over this example. There is a reason (other than his music) that teen and tween girls swoon over Justin Bieber.  He has over 23 million followers on Twitter and while he can’t interact with every single one of them on a regular basis, he does reach out and create an individualized and engaging experience for his followers.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s got his hands dipped in everything from headphones to nail polish. His approaches are effective and his massive following might indicate that his team of social media pros is doing something right.

But don’t think that you have to be as world-renown as “The Biebs” to have a successful social media marketing plan for teens and tweens.  By creating a unique and engaging experience through social media platforms, you’re connecting with and harnessing this demographics’ attention and loyalty.  And in today’s world, that’s a very powerful tool to hold.

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