Social Media and the teenage target market

  • //images/gabrielle_randall.jpgGabrielle Randall, a work experience student with The Marketing Eye, gives her view on how businesses should be using Facebook to engage her generation.

    According to the Telegraph online, teenagers spend around 31 hours a week online.  With social media sites such as Facebook now attracting over 750 million active users, it is important to recognise that around 50% percent of these users are teenagers.

    In recent years there has been a surge of popularity towards social networking sites, and the opportunity for businesses to realise the marketing potential of these sites has grown considerably.  When businesses create their own Facebook page or Twitter account, it not only shows that they remain relevant in a technology lead society, but it also provides a budget friendly alternative to traditional methods of advertising.

    Although on screen adverts on social media sites may seem like the logical way of raising awareness of a product or business, the likelihood of a young person following the links are not as great as many may believe.

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    A more effective method of maintaining interest in your business in the long term is taking the time to update your status or tweet a message about any new products or business activity.  Many users of Facebook will confirm that the majority of time is spent refreshing the news feed in the hope of seeing new, eye catching statuses!

    If customers comment on your status, don't ignore them!  Taking the time to reply and build relationships with respondents will encourage them to visit the page again.  Comments can also prove a cost-effective way of gathering customer feedback, an essential part of improving customer service.

    Attracting teenage viewers and followers to business social network sites in the first place can often be difficult.  However, once you have gained their approval through a ‘like' or ‘Re-tweet', you can post statuses with some certainty that they will be read and acknowledged.

    Competitions with enticing prizes are often a good way of raising awareness of a product or business.  For example, a recent competition run by Sony Ericsson saw an extremely positive response.  Ben Padley, Head of Digital and CRM for Sony Ericsson, reflected: "The competitions listed on the Facebook fan page have been a great success in both introducing more people to Sony Ericsson, and helping to spread word of the brand."

    Sony Ericsson offered extremely attractive prizes, such as, the latest mobile phones and tickets to events which they sponsored, but not all competitions have to be on this scale. Offering a winner a selection of the products or services which your business provides can be a cost effective alternative, whilst at the same time maximising the chances of a repeat purchase and positive word of mouth.

    So, should you use social media to target the teenage market?  Yes, definitely!  But make sure you know which methods work best and which don't work at all!

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