If your small business markets to teenagers, social media is undoubtedly a big part of your marketing strategy. But where should you be putting your marketing time and efforts? According to a new survey by PiperJaffray, teens’ allegiance to Facebook has shifted dramatically in the past six months. While this spring, 72 percent of teens said they used the social network, a survey in September found only 45 percent use it.
That’s a steep decline in less than a year. So where are teens spending time on social media? PiperJaffray found Instagram on the rise, from a robust 69 percent in the spring to 76 percent in September. Second most popular is Twitter, used by 59 percent of teens, followed by Pinterest and Tumblr at 22 and 21 percent, respectively. Far behind are Google+ at 12 percent and Reddit at 7 percent.
But there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about teen social media use. A July survey by Niche.com reports that 87 percent of teens use Facebook, and 61 percent use it every day. In fact, Facebook ranked tops in daily use among teens, while Instagram has the most engaged users and YouTube has the most widespread usage overall.
What does it all mean to your business’s marketing strategy?
- Don’t obsess over month-by-month ups and downs in social media. Keep your eye on the broader picture. As the Niche survey shows, sheer numbers aren’t the best indicator of a social network’s value to your business. A smaller group of more engaged users can have a bigger payoff than a massive audience that rarely checks in to a site.
- Monitor your social media results. Use analytics to track what types of users follow your business on various social media networks and what demographics they fall into. If half of your teenage customers are on Pinterest, it doesn’t matter what the other surveys say.
- Use social media as a “listening” device. Teens, perhaps more than any other age group, are wary of blatant marketing on social media. You can use social media as a listening channel to see what your teenage customers are talking about, posting, liking (and what they don’t like), rather than focusing on news about your business.
- Talk to real teens. Have teens in your life? Regularly check in with teenagers you know (your kids, friends’ kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids and their friends) about what social media they use and don’t use and how they use them. It’s a great way to get a “reality check” among all the surveys that can make your head swim.
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Maria Valdez Haubrich
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.