Teens ... #OccupyInternet

When teens want to post pictures and connect with friends, they’ll go to Facebook. When they want to find out what new promotions Starbucks is having, or get a quick snapshot of what is going on in the world, they’ll scan through Twitter. When they want to establish a professional network, they turn to LinkedIn. Identifying which channel your brand will be most accepted on and will provide you with the best ROI is only half the battle in advertising. In 2009, a study conducted by the e-mail marketing firm eROI showed that “83% of college students use Facebook, 65% use MySpace and 21% use LinkedIn.” Some psychologists will even go as far to say that teens are addicted to the Internet, which is why advertisers should be reaching them on the platform they spend most of their day occupying. 

LinkedIn, or LinkedOut?

Decades ago, having an internship used to be like having Elle Woods’ pink resume, making an applicant stand out from the rest. However, students today are part of the “Intern Generation” and know that internships are both standard and expected features of resumes. Phillip D. Gardner, director of the Michigan State Collegiate Employment Research Institute, claims that 75% of 2007 college graduates held internships compared to 35% of college graduates in 1982. If you’re applying for a job and can’t show your experience in the field, you might as well turn around and walk out. However, it’s actually become a very competitive environment for students to land internships these days. If students view LinkedIn as their virtual resume, then companies should utilize LinkedIn to promote their internship opportunities, job openings and their overall business. According to a January 2012 LinkedIn Demographic & Statistic report, the teenage demographic is the fastest-growing user account on LinkedIn when compared to last year. LinkedIn is a great place to gain company exposure and pique the interest of potential candidates. Teens aren’t scanning through the classifieds sections anymore to find an internship, they’re searching on LinkedIn. 

Hey, thanks for the Add!

The presence of teenagers on Facebook has been steadily increasing. According to a 2009 report from Nielsen Company, “Facebook reached 54.7% of people in the United States ages 12 to ,” which was up from 28.3% in October 2008. This is the ideal platform for colleges and universities to market their beautiful campuses and programs to prospective students, since students spend most of their time on Facebook versus other social networking devices. If you’re trying to advertise to teens, you must be on their playing field, and what better way is there to connect with them than through Facebook. Teens will be tempted to wander through advertisements and click on these college websites since it’s so convenient and readily available. Now, they can simultaneously stalk their friends while applying to colleges. Win-win. 

Tweet Me, Maybe?

Teens flock to Twitter because it is the fastest way to receive information without having to spend time reading through an entire article in, say, The New York Times. Twitter may be the most challenging social media tool to master, given the 140-character limit, but it is one of the best ways to connect a brand to its audience. The goal of a tweet should be direct and attention-grabbing. It should encourage the person reading it to want to “follow” an account in order to receive more updates. If a follower likes what they’re reading, and deem it worthy to be shared, a simple retweet will expose your brand to a whole new audience with just a single click! JetBlue is a brand that succeeds in effectively using Twitter. The company’s tweets are informative, current and helpful to followers. This generation of teens has trained their eyes to glance through articles, isolating the main points and phrases. Their attention span is typically less than that of a Baby Boomer’s, which is why Twitter is the epitome of an ideal teenager information source. So regardless of what message you’re trying to get across, the main point is not to over-think it. Messages will resonate with teens better when it’s straight forward and concise. 

In the end, just keep in mind that teenagers are spending most of their Internet time on social networking sites. For the most effective advertising, it’s important to remember what teens are using these sites for as a clue to where your pitch will be best received by the teens themselves. 

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