Everybody's Doing It: Capitalizing On The Power Of Peers

The life of a tween is a time of great exploration. Tweens are eager to share ideas and experiences with their friends, and crave the feedback and acceptance of their peers. At this age, kids become entranced with the lives of their friends, imitating their actions and pressuring their parents to let them participate in the same activities so they feel included.

Much of the influence over tweens comes from teens. Tweens look up to older brothers and sisters and kids at school, mimicking the clothes they wear, the music they listen to and the Web sites they use. This knowledge provides some key lessons in attracting the tween audience to online sites specifically for their age group. By emulating teen sites in a safe and age-appropriate manner, tweens can be enticed to visit and use their own Web sites.

Implementing a few key elements into your Web site and marketing plan can help to attract the tween audience. You can drive both new and repeat visits by harnessing the power of peer influence. Here are a few ideas to get you started:



Tap directly into the influencers for your audience.
Teens can provide valuable insight into what areas your Web site should focus on. What's hot right now? Is it videos, games, avatar fashion or something else entirely? By asking them what they want to see on the site, you're able to capture the attention of your tween audience by providing the exact things they want to do on the site.

Enlist a tween spokesperson to give the site the right "marketing voice."
Utilize a dynamic tween spokesperson to promote your site. Kids will flock to sites where other kids are, and by learning about a site from a peer, rather than an adult, they are more apt to check it out. While you don't want your spokesperson to use "marketing-speak" to promote the site, you do want to convey a consistent message. Find out what they like the most about the site, make sure they understand the site's purpose and talk with them often to "practice" the message -- just make sure it's in their own voice, or their peers will see right through it.

Provide opportunity.
Everyone likes to be rewarded, and tweens crave acceptance. Capitalize on this by tapping into the motivation of site evangelists. Find the tweens that are heavy users of the site and encourage them to invite their friends to join. Provide special rewards and recognition for the number of memberships they drive.

Make sure your content is fresh by seeking input.
The attention span of a tween can be miniscule, especially if they've already seen or heard it before. Therefore, you must give them incentives to keep coming back. A schedule of new content will help to ensure tweens will continue to visit the site. Let tweens vote on site features and the content they want to see most.

Provide a platform for sharing.
Tweens want to show their friends what they've been doing and the latest items they've purchased. At the same time, they want to use the cool tools that older kids are using, like videos and blogs. By providing platforms that enable tweens to post their own content and share with others, they can get recognition and acceptance from their peers. This will get them talking about it with their friends, and drive more use of the site.

Editor's note: If you'd like to contribute to this newsletter, contact Nina Lentini.

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