Facebook No Teenland? So? Go Where Your Customers Are

Image of a laptop with Facebook on the screen, in a closet, covered with cobwebs for Facebook No Teenland? A Lesson in Going Where Your Customers Are

A few days ago, a colleague of mine – our project-manager extraordinaire – Erin Brinen shared a link to an infographic that asked, “Are Teenagers Abandoning Facebook?

The numbers mirror what I hear anecdotally – teenagers are losing interest in Facebook. But instead of being concerned, we should just realize that this is the market settling into demographic patterns – and it’s a lesson that businesses need to learn when allocating resources to their social elements.

The honest reasons why teenagers are fleeing Facebook? I’ll list them below:

  • Mom and/or dad is/are on it.

The end.

OK, there are other reasons, but that’s generally the biggie. We actually had this conversation with a friend’s 14-year daughter who said that few kids in her circle actively use Facebook. They have accounts, but for the most part they prefer texting, SnapChat, and other more immediate social networks.

And, when you think about it, it all makes sense. Thinking back to my teenage years (in the pre-social networking days), our social network was around us every day. There would have been no need to post on a Facebook wall, because we would see them between classes, in spares, or after school. Now, that time-and-distance factor is diminished by texting.

Oh, and let’s not be naïve. Sexting, “privacy,” and the “ability to do and say bad things that we don’t want our parents to find out about” are big factors in the textual/Snapchat preference. There are images, messages, and content that kids don’t want their parents to see. These networks allow that type of privacy – and the ability to delete all traces of that activity.

So should Facebook be wringing its hands in fear? No. Because those teens will come back one day.

Facebook is a medium that’s best served by time and distance. As we get older, we meet more people, but the direct ties are loosened. Those same friends, with whom I spent nearly every waking hour with in my teenage years (between school, socializing, work) are now important, but infrequent, parts of my life.

We may get together a couple of times a year in person. Facebook allows us to keep in touch. I’d like to think of it as the modernization of letter writing – no longer a lost art, but one that’s been revived by technology.

Personally, my life’s travels have taken me from Montreal to London and back again – and then back again. I’ve worked in a few places and made many friends. Facebook lets me, and others in my demographic, keep in touch.

Why would a teenager need that?

So what does this have to do with business? Simple. If your target demographic is a 15-year-old girl, then Facebook may not be your smartest spend. Sure, you can set up a basic page, but should it be the primary focus of your on-line marketing strategy? Not likely.

But if your target demographic consists of so-called “soccer parents” then have at it! As you can see by the aforementioned infographic, the Facebook age range is getting older. If you’re appealing to a more family focused demographic with more discretionary income, then you've found your advertising spend home!

Want teens? You’ll have to get creative (and that’s a blog post for another day. Nothing grinds my gears more than marketing-types trying to ‘sound’ like a kid.)

Facebook was initially started as a collegiate networking site, so it’s no surprise that youth were early adopters. Now the market has changed and, in my opinion, normalized. This is the new now. Facebook is a tool best served to – and embraced by -- an older demographic. There’s nothing wrong with that; there’s nothing to fix.

But it is something to keep in mind when directing your business messaging efforts. I’ll dig up my old adage of “delivering the right message to the right person in the way that best suits them.”

Do you employ a one-size-fits-all approach to your social networking? Do you target different demographics with different messaging? Comments are open.

 

Questions Answered

Why is Facebook loosing popularity?

What are youth not using Facebook?

How do I choose which social network to use for my business?

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