As the year comes to an end, the prevalence of social media is more important than ever, allowing for a constant dialogue between brand and consumer. Marketers continue to be challenged with determining which communication channel is most effective in engaging their audience. A 2012 study revealed that 91% of teens use social media, with 86% indicating that they are most likely to get information about brands from Facebook.
The teenage demographic is one of the most easily influenced audiences. Their opinions of brands change as trends come and go. What’s popular this season could be viewed as outdated the next. Brand loyalty is temporary.
As social media continues to evolve, teens are encouraged to share their opinions, ultimately forcing brands to stay in check. No longer can they simply sell their services through an antiquated one-way communication channel. Instead, they need to facilitate an interactive dialogue with their consumers by being blunt and asking questions. They need to put teens in the driver’s seat. Ask them to take a stance. If brands want to transform customers into brand advocates, they need to go under the hood and ask questions. They need to ask teens what they believe is missing from their products or customer experience and what needs to change in 2013.
Using feedback is the best way to make brand improvements and to show your consumers that you value their opinions. Three factors are important in making sure that this has the most powerful impact.
Ask teens for advice.
Whether it be a product review, a favorite feature or a suggestion on how to improve their customer service, asking your audience for feedback is important for enhancing their experience, just as it will for your brand. As stated in an article by eModeration founder Tamara Littleton, direct interaction will “prove to your teen audience how much your brand values them.” Encourage teens to answer questions on Twitter and other forms of social media. Keep your discussion topics engaging, personable and relevant.
Listen, and take action.
Show your audience that you are listening by following through and implementing the adjustments that they ask for (the plausible ones, anyway). “It’s always better to do than to say,” says Littleton. This will then spark positive feedback from teens who feel that they have been heard, and will therefore spread the news to their friends and family.
Give them a reason to engage.
Most importantly, teens want to be engaged. Offering incentives for their input will encourage interaction and generate valuable feedback. According to a BizReport article, 44% of teens are attracted to brands who promise information on products, offers and coupons, while 25% would interact with brands for discounts on future purchases. Providing these incentives is important to stand out amongst mass media messaging for hundreds of brands.
While profits and statistics measure a form of success, uncovering how your teenage audience really feels about your brand is the true key to moving forward in the New Year. Re-emerge in the eyes of your consumers and start the New Year strong.