How to Market to Teenagers via Social Media and Emerging Technology

Posted by Brittany Mills on April 25, 2014 at 9:49 AM

describe the imageEditors Note:  The following article was written on Bring Your Child To Work Day.  Brittany Mills is a teenager who we asked to share her opinions about reaching her and her peers.  Integrated marketing plans are often built to reach multiple target audiences.  Today’s teenagers are quickly becoming tomorrow’s 20-30 year olds.  Their “media” consumption habits will continue to evolve, but you will see that how they use emerging technology is different than how 40-50 year olds do.  In order to develop an effective marketing strategy, that includes a social media plan, the information shared below should be helpful.

It probably comes as no surprise that social media and mobile apps are a major part of teenagers’ lives.  Our obsession with these, provides a valuable marketing opportunity if your company or business is trying to target teenagers. For us DC Area teenagers, “social media” includes Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pintrest, Tumbler, and Vine…just to name the bigger ones.  For this article, I wanted to share my experiences, from a marketing perspective, about Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and mobile apps.

With its ability to track the most popular tweets and retweets and a messaging system to chat with your followers, Twitter has escalated in teen popularity. I find new information about companies frequently on twitter.  My friends re-tweet and “favorite” new and interesting information they learn about through Twitter.  For example, I learned about the new Nike shoes (that I now own) through one of my friends re-tweeting a picture of the shoe.  If you are trying to “talk” to teenagers, I recommend committing to Twitter by updating followers on new products and information about your company or product.

It is easy to see why Instagram is loved by teens.  Instagram offers editing, cropping and resolution change on any picture you post.  Which keeps us teenagers very active on Instagram.  We can’t get enough of the pictures and the commentary.  An effective method I have seen companies use to market their products over Instagram is the use of promotional giveaways.  For example, a lip balm company I follow on Instagram posted a picture explaining that they would give away their new lip balm product to a random follower who posted a picture using their lip balm.  You need to tag the picture with a specific hashtag.  This was a creative and effect method of introducing the product.  Not only did all my friends see my post of me using the product (viral marketing), but I also USED the product.  And I liked it!

While others may believe that Youtube is simply a website to view videos, teens would include Youtube in the social media category because you are able to sign up and create a Youtube account.  I subscribe to “youtubers” (what teens call people who make Youtube videos) channels that make daily or weekly vlogs about their life or tutorial videos. Youtubers have a strong fan base of teenagers. Companies endorse some youtubers that I follow and they promote their product in their video.  My favorite youtuber gives their subscribers codes so they can have a free trial to  Because of the codes they have given me I am now started using Audible when I want to listen to a book.   Beyond that, most Youtube videos show an ad before you can see the vicdeo.  Even though we think this is annoying, we are forced to watch it!  We may not pay attention, so I recommend using youtubers to promote your product. 

You may have noticed how I haven’t mentioned Facebook as a strong social media when targeting teens.  And that is because Facebook is dead to us teenagers.  Three years ago I begged my parents to let me have a Facebook account because it was the cool thing and I could post all my pictures! Even though the thought of Facebook was cool just three years ago, there are now new and improved social media that are more popular with teens.  Social media such as Instagram and Twitter have taken over and replaced Facebook, with cool editing for pictures where many more celebrities post.  My friends and I barely use it…and it is only getting less and less.  From a marketing to teens standpoint, stay away! 

There is an app for that!  Or there should be!  A great marketing tool for teens is having an app.  Take the biggest coffee chain in the US.  Starbucks has an app that allows the users to find local Starbucks, get reward and even leave a digital tip.  Not only does Starbucks receive exposure every time I use it, but they also make money from it because it encourages me to go to Starbuks versus somewhere else.  They made marketing fun!

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Tags: Social Media, Marketing Strategy, Integrated Marketing



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