How Teens Use Social Media and What It Means to Your Marketing

September 4, 2014 Karen Axelton

social media

Earlier this year the media was filled with reports that teens were leaving Facebook in droves. While teen use of the social network may have dropped a bit, a couple of new studies on social media reported in MediaPost show that Facebook is far from passé among the teen set.

A whopping 87 percent of high school seniors in a poll by Niche.com say they use Facebook, and more than half (61 percent) use it every day.

While 97 percent of respondents use YouTube, just 55 percent use it daily. Also hot: Instagram, used by 66 percent of teens overall and 51 percent daily, and Snapchat, used by 65 percent of teens overall and 46 percent every day.

Not so hot: Although 55 percent have used Twitter, just 35 percent use it every day. That said, Twitter users are highly engaged—suggesting that, similar to adult usage of the social network, those who use it are “really into it.”

Not surprisingly, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn barely made a dent on teens’ radar.

The data jibes with that of a survey earlier this year from Forrester that says 78 percent of teens aged 12-17 use Facebook. Not only that, but nearly half say they are using it more this year than last. Based on the data, Forrester projects teen Facebook use will actually grow as today’s younger teens get older.

What do these social media stats mean to your business’s marketing?

First, the number-one place where the teens are is YouTube—used by nearly all the teens in both surveys. If you’re trying to market to teens and you don’t already have a presence on YouTube, get one! You can make videos showing off new products, showing people wearing or using what you sell, or behind-the-scenes at your business if it’s something that might appeal to teens (like a surf shop). Teens love funny videos and things they can share with their friends. They also have short attention spans, so keep it brief. Consider using Vine to make short (6 seconds or less) videos.

But don’t confine your social efforts to YouTube. Promote your YouTube videos on Facebook, Instagram and your website. You can also create funny .gifs or memes to post on social media for teens to share.

As with every other target market, the key to reaching teens on social media is to find out where your particular teen niche spends their time. If they’re girls checking out fashions, that’s more likely to be Instagram; if it’s boys searching for video-game cheats, that’s probably YouTube. Track where visitors to your site come from, ask your teen customers what sites they use and tap into your social media analytics to see what works best.

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Author information

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

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