To Reach Teens, Look Beyond Facebook

The majority of social video information is focused on the big players in the space: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. While these industry giants make up the majority of views online, emerging and niche platforms targeting younger audiences such as Snapchat, Vine and Tumblr can be a strong addition to youth-based social media campaigns.

Every social media platform is unique, with it’s own style of communication and user expectations. This diversity in social destinations offers an opportunity to engage with different audiences in unique ways. Embrace these differences by publishing content tailored for these fast growing and overwhelmingly young social platforms. When executed correctly, they offer a direct line to reach the teen and early young adult demographic in a fresh way.


Snapchat carved out a space for itself with its unique approach to content sharing - when a photo or video is opened by the recipient, it auto self-destructs after a few seconds, never to be saved or seen again. This earned Snapchat an early reputation among small-town news anchors as the network of choice for naughty photos, but the reality of use is far different.



The platform has evolved to add a 24-hour viewing period — called “Stories” — which allows content to be viewed for up to 24 hours before it disappears, giving brands greater latitude to message on the platform.

Originally an image-only platform, Snapchat’s video has seen enormous growth. In just the last year, daily views have jumped from 2 billion to 7 billion, rivaling Facebook’s 8 billion daily views. Leading the growth are 13 to 24 year olds, who make up 81% of its users. This makes Snapchat the social video platform with the youngest audience.

Snapchat is all about authenticity and sharing the moment. Everything must be captured in a single take on your phone, it does not allow you to upload produced and edited videos. For best performance, brands should aim for intimate, behind-the-scenes content — a product preview, or a backstage view.

Don’t be afraid to be funny, strange or slightly out there. Almost 60% of users say that they like Snapchat for its comedic content, like sending silly faces to their friends. Keep that in mind as you create for the platform.


Vine was founded in June 2012 as a short-form video sharing service and picked up by the giant Twitter before its official launch in January 2013. Within only a couple months, Vine became the most popular video-sharing app on both iTunes and the Google Play Store.

Today it touts 200 million users, who watch 1.5 billion video “loops” a day, and who are overwhelmingly young: 71% of are so-called millennials, and an impressive 25% of all U.S. teens.

Like Instagram and Snapchat, Vine is a super-short format network — its videos are capped at a maximum of six seconds. But unlike Snapchat, you can upload edited video to the platform, to squeeze the most out of those six seconds.

Many Vine stars have made a name for themselves producing tightly wound content packed into those six seconds, and ultra face-paced video editing has been incubated on the platform.


Tumblr might be the toughest of these “other” networks for a brand to crack, despite its 278 million blogs and whopping 129 billion posts.

The user-base is young. But Tumblr has uniquely developed into a home for various niche communities, similar to Reddit, and if you want to find success on the platform, it’s best to understand what communities would engage with your brand and how to join that conversation. You should expect to interact and “reblog” other's content as much as you push out your own.

One concern: it’s easy for the source of content and the message to be lost as content is passed around. So it’s better to incorporate your brand and central message into the video itself instead of in the adjacent text.

And, Tumblr’s content feed is not sorted to favor native video uploads. This makes it an easy platform to add to your existing social strategy — but remember, community participation is key here.

Heaps of potential

The numbers tell us that there is enormous potential for these platforms especially if you’re aiming for a younger audience. One thing you can be sure of is that it isn’t enough to simply toss existing content onto these platforms — if you want to do it well, you must understand the strengths and limitations of each and tailor your video strategy accordingly. 

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