[This is the first post from the brandgym's social media special advisor, my nephew Teymour Bourial. Being in his late teens, he has grown up living, breathing and using social media. He runs a very cool Tumblr site called Funky Disco Please!, that I recommend you check out.
So, here's his first post, in repsonse to my question: "What do young people REALLY want from social media?"]
Young people are a key audience when it comes to social media. People approaching their 20's now are the first generation to have spent their teenage years fully immersed in and actively using social media. This is reflected in the average age of active social media users being skewed younger at 23, versus the average age of social media users in general being 35, according to Google Ad Planner. Clearly, if you are looking to connect with a young audience, social media is a key communication channel. But what do young people really want from social media?
Young people want to show off
Taking care of their “online reputations” is one of the main reasons why young people are active on social media, a research conducted by PewInternet did well to highlight this point. So it's no accident that in young peoples' minds liking a page is a very thoughtful behaviour that follows one main question: will this page help me to show off? The pages one likes are visible to others, and by doing so young people expect to show their tastes and their lifestyles to the others.
The corollary of this fact is that they will not like your page if they think that this could harm their “online reputations”. Hence, Red Bull is more likely than Rennie to have young people like their facebook page.
Question: is there a way your brand can help young people show off and make a lifestyle statement?
10 points = makes me look cool. 0 points = makes me look uncool
Young people want to have fun
A great way to show off is being first to find and share fun stuff. So, creating and making it easy to share fun content is key if you want to reach young people. Photos and videos work best, as they are visual, immediate and easy to share. However, all your efforts will be vain if your content is not really fun. As covered in the brandgym's recent research paper, you need to hire an editor to create content with the right humour for the internet. Lipton Ice Tea seem to have got it right. They post fun photos on a nearly daily basis.
10 points = makes me laugh. 0 points = just not funny
Young people want something for nothing
When following a brand on any social media, young people feel like they are doing something a little bit special, something that most people do not do. They expect in return exclusive deals and special offers. Remember, this is the generation who have grown up streaming music and video, not paying for it.
For example, "Dell Outlet” on Twitter shares links that redirect you to special, time-limited offers. Not only does it give the brand good exposure on social media, with 1.5million followers, it also helps them to make money out of this process, generating an estimated $2 million a year in revenue. Not huge in the big scheme of things, but more then enough to cover the cost of a team to create the content.
Question: do you have stuff to offer or give away to this deal-hungry generation?
10 points = great deals and rewards. 0 points = crappy offers no-one wants
In conclusion, if you add up your scores and get 25+ out of 30, you have a good chance of being able to target young people via social media, as you have what they want. If you score less than 15, then forget about it. You're wasting your time and money.