In the second part of A Teenager’s View on Social Media, Watts reviews additional social media platforms and introduces us to some popular with teens and college students. More importantly, Watts provides perspective on how brands are missing the mark with connecting to younger generations. The following identifies key themes that can be taken from Watts’ observations.
Generational Social Media
There has been a shift in the use and value of social media across generations. As social platforms evolved, so did the expectations of their users. The interests of a teenage demographic will differ substantially from that of Millennials or Gen X. It is logical to see the rise of app-based communities such as Instagram and Snapchat, as they cater to the demands and passions of a younger demographic. Eventually the current teen demographic will migrate to perceived mature platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The question to consider is: how will current and future social communities evolve to meet the needs of inbound generations to come?
Disconnected Social Media
Watts identifies a difference between how social platforms and brands understand their core user base. He also offers a clear solution on how to better identify with younger generations, which can be applied across all users of social platforms. To arrive at the solution, brands need to take note of how they connect with the teen market and what teens truly value.
The core disconnect has occurred due to social proliferation. There are too many platforms in the social space, and few which offer value to targeted demographics.
Watts outlines specific areas brands need to consider when marketing to the teen demographic.
Presence-Are there enough users on a new platform with which to engage? If not, the abandonment rate will be high.
Value-Does the platform provide value for the targeted demographic? Are you featuring content that is of use to users?
Incentive-What are you offering to attract new users? Are you creating incentives that lead to online and offline interactions? The goal is unified connection.
Relevance-Are incentives and content relevant to the core audience? This builds trust and brand loyalty.
Interaction-Are you engaging with your audience? Frequent interactions with social content and engaging in conversation in a tone similar to your audience’s help amplify awareness and reinforce loyalty.
Watts’ main lesson for brands and social platforms is to be better attuned to the interests of social communities, providing relevant services and content. The nature of social media is to support the exchange of ideas and content through a globally connected community. Creation of social communities has created an unprecedented opportunity for brands to extract unsolicited insights into products/services and the culture of their core audience. The path to mastering social marketing for any demographic can be found in sentiments shared across tweets, comment threads, and forums. Users are ready to be heard. Are you ready to listen?