At a recent trip to the pool, I heard some teens chatting. They were huddled over a smart phone discussing a twitter feed. “Retweet for a chance to win free sandwich? Yes, please!” one of the kids shouted.
They made me smile.
I talk to a fair amount of teens for a variety of reasons. At first, it’s very polite. But as they get more comfortable and we talk more casually, they start to say things like “Oh, I got a coupon I didn’t need so I posted it on Twitter to see if anyone needed one” or “I saw on Twitter that my friend’s band is playing at that restaurant“. Once one of them even told me they had almost Snapchatted me the night before because they were bored.
For fun, these types of statements are sometimes followed by “Do you know what Twitter is?” To which, every time, I just barely refrain from responding “Yes, pipsqueak, I know what Twitter is“. But that’s not the point.
The point is, teens are using social media. Teens are using social media even if they’re not immediately telling you. Even if it’s not something they’re bringing up in polite conversations about how school is going or how their parents are, they’ve got a social media presence.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Yes, Kristin, we get it, so what’s the point. The point is, you probably think Twitter is dumb. But that doesn’t mean your audience does. And – here’s the kicker – young whippersnappers are part of your audience. They may not be your most coveted target market but they talk to a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Having a positive brand image on a variety of mediums that a variety of people use is only good for you.
For instance, say you are a health professional who talks about injury prevention and rehabilitation on social media. A parent injures themselves and needs rehab. Their teen or young adult recommends they call the place that provides them with the most education – the place that has earned their confidence through a long history of building trust. That place is your business. This recommendation could come from a teen, as I’ve outlined. But it’s also possible a recommendation can come from their doctor, colleague, neighbor or friend for the same reason.
I’m not saying pour all of your money into social media. I’m not saying try to be on every single social media platform at once – in fact, I’d recommend you try to do a few platforms well rather than managing lots of platforms poorly.
What I am saying is you shouldn’t just dismiss social media as useless simply because it’s a thing teens like. Being a thing teens like is not always a bad thing.