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Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media marketing is a growing industry and Selling brands online can be a tricky task, but done right it can be quite successful.
Youth Marketing is a term used in marketing and advertising industry to describe activities to communicate with young people, in the age range of 12 to 34. This youth market can further be classified into Tween Marketing, targeting people in the 8 to 12 year-old range, Teen Marketing, targeting people age 13 to 19, College Marketing, targeting college-age consumers, typically ages 18 to 21, Young Adult Marketing, targeting young professionals, typically ages 22 and above.The youth market is critical because of the demographic’s buying power as the members in this group have huge influences on the spending of family members. In addition, teens and young adults often set trends that are adopted by other demographic groups.
So in terms of being smart about social media marketing, a brand needs to be smart and ready to be held accountable for its product but its interaction within the social media realm. Social networking and smart phones will play an all-important role in the youth marketing and media trends, as they have become part of the youth lifestyle and culture. The following trends will make it easy to see why they are and will continue to be a dominant force in the youth market:
1. Social media: More youth have become addicted to social networking and more companies targeting the youth through this means, due to its great viral effect.
2. Smartphone: Standard phones cannot fully cater to the online and social networking craving of the youth and, as more companies and universities introduce policies that limit the use of social networking sites during the day/working hours, this has led to more youth jumping onto the Smartphone bandwagon as a means of countering these restrictions. And these phones can be used for various kinds of marketing.
3. Apps : With Apple alone having over 300 000 applications to choose from over one million apps downloaded in one day – and with all the new apps for the tablets, we can expect 2011 to be a year of apps.
4. BBM: BlackBerry Messenger – has taken the youth market by storm. The youth love sharing and staying connected and this is what BBM does, enabling them to share through instant messaging (IM).
5. Mobile commerce: The youth are getting big on cell phone banking and making payments via their cell phones.
6. Mobile learning: The increase in the number of youth with Smartphone and the increase in the time spent online will lead to more businesses ,institutions and educational heads looking into conveying some of their products and educational material through cell phones
7. Online advertising: Online advertising, targeting the youth, from both local and international perspectives have increased by leaps and bounds. Consequently, we can expect to see an increase in online advertising spend targeting the youth.
8. Corporate social websites: There will be a rise in website integration for companies or brands that are targeting the youth market. Previously, websites were all about the company; however, the new shift has seen a change to cater to the dialogue with the youth and encourage them mostly to “follow” through Twitter feeds and “connect” through Facebook fan pages.
9. Blogging: We will see the rise in the number of youth bloggers, who will post opinions about products and brands, and, with this kind of social activism will go on the rise, and also word of mouth along with viral marketing will show its importance.This is really going to keep a lot of companies on their feet.
10. Tablets: All youths who are tech-savvy and could afford, the likes of the Apple iPad and the Blackberry Playbook will give rise to the social media marketing. With Hewlett-Packard announcing its own webOS-based PalmPad, we can be sure to expect a decrease in price of the gadgets on the local market and more youth being able to afford and taking up these gadgets.
11. Wifi hot spots: Wifi hotspots will attract more youth as they strive to stay connected, even when they are out and about. We are therefore going to see more cafes and restaurants catering to this by enabling wifi on their premises.
7 key youth marketing trends to look out for:
#1″Free” is a viable business model: Given the increasingly challenging task of reaching out to young consumers, more brands consider the “free” route (eg ad supported or cross-selling).Youth indifference may well prove to be a brand’s most significant cost factor so offering a service for free with the promise of cross-selling related services may well provide the first tentative steps in addressing that challenge.
#2 Transparency: Some of the innovative brands, however, are going long on being transparent about their values and mistakes when communicating with youth. Consumers are tired of being both whitewashed and stonewalled. In an era when youth expect access and brands are willing to provide it, the company CEO that appears on YouTube confessing they’d “screwed up” may lose a few investor friends, but wins the long term hearts and minds of the consumer.
#3 Facebook fatigue: It’s now all about 30 somethings in the world of Facebook. Youth are already exploring new avenues more relevant to their lifestyle – such as Bebo. Do we yet have a student specific SNS?MySpace’s partnership with MTV to platform young musical talent from the social network is a PR victory in the face of a Facebook population disillusioned with their parents and corporates hijacking the party.
#4 The rise of the moderates: Individually, most students have a moderate and parochial political outlook these days, more concerned with the price of their Bacardi & Coke than any ethical questions that may come served with it. But now this swell of moderate opinion has become a determined movement.
#5 “Inner circle” brands: Once young consumers were thought to be naÃ¯ve and persuadable. Then they were savvy, fickle and cynical to brand messages.Recent research by Opinionpanel discovered a maximum of twenty brands that students were willing to be Facebook But there is also space in the inner circle for maverick brands who don’t give a damn for high-level marketing approaches. In
#6 It’s cool to be a suit: In the eyes of the young, businesspeople were once the least cool people in the world. Now it’s okay to want to be a suit.
#7 Youth turn off the box: The current generation of young consumers is perhaps the first that have had real choice in their media consumption. TV, is increasingly being squeezed out by other distractions. Facebook, MySpace, WII, homework, after-school activities, commuting and just good old “hanging out with friends” compete with TV for youth attention. And it’s not just the decreasing time spent watching TV, it’s the quality of that time. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 25% of high school students were actively involved in another form of media (playstation, computer etc) whilst “watching” TV.
Ways to target Youth using Social Media
Make the message fit the venue-advertising usually involves one way communication and marketing involves creating, communicating and delivering. The goal is to get the eyeball and attention and keep it until the sales pitch for a product or a service is received. Social media involves interaction among its users. The message should not be a hard sell; it needs to get people talking.
Be familiar with social networks-To understand the taste of youth and their liking it is very important to go to different groups and see what the users are talking about and how they say it. Know what groups are the most popular with youth and learn how they interact. Learn the common terms that are used.
Use links to ads to spread advertisement messages-don’t fill the posts with hard sell advertisements. Use low key banner ads on the social page and have all links going to the company’s main pages that youth are interested in.
Join groups-to get some exposure, you will need to join groups or become fans of groups that the target audience are joining. Post and get to know the members. People are more likely to listen about a product or service from someone they feel like they know before they listen to a “stranger”. For e.g.: If there is a page dedicated to Airtel on facebook and one of the target groups member is a member of the group as well then it becomes easy to understand and know his likings and temperament.
Size doesn’t matter-it doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a large business, you can use social medias to target youth. As being a part of social media doesn’t require much investments.Give them something of value, entertaining, and fun. Any size business is capable of that.
Post pictures-post fun and entertaining pictures that relate to the product or service. Encourage others on the page to do the same.This kind of activities garner lots of attention thus creating potential fan following.
Be active on the social media page-there is usually someone on staff who will be willing to be paid to get on Facebook or other social medial for about a half hour or so daily and keep up on comments. Choose someone who is familiar with how social media works and can speak the same language as the youth audience that is being targeted.
The fitness landscape that determines success in marketing to young consumers is changing. 10 years ago, the TV provided the de facto advertising channel to win the hearts and minds of this often difficult to reach demographic. Since 2007 alone, the rise of social networking, flat rate data plans both on mobile and internet as well as a widespread growth in niche media content means that marketers are now increasingly challenged when it comes to both communicating with and understanding youth. Young people’s relationship with technology is different to what many marketers might assume. Though immersed in tech from an early age, “Circuits of Cool” found the majority don’t even notice technology is there, and only 20 percent can really be classified as “tech lovers.” They don’t use technological jargon such as “Web 2.0” and “social media,” as these terms are primarily used by adults to categorize and define the shifts in trends. They simply use “music download” and “connect with friends” to refer to these activities and behaviors.Linear TV is the critical channel for introducing people to new things they weren’t searching for in the first place. TV’s word-of-mouth (WOM) effect is definitely complementary to other new digital platforms: 47 percent of youth surveyed IM each other about “what is on TV right now.” One can argue that for marketing messages to cut through the clutter, strategies must focus on identifying a need-based behavioral pattern rather than simply incorporating digital technology as panacea.To effectively behavioral target this group, the platform must expand beyond current online domain to become a true transmedia to match a copy-and-paste consumption of mixing on- and offline media.
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