Teens and Social Media – FADBOOK

    Anthea Kuthan

    After recently community managing a teen brand on Facebook and Instagram, it has opened my ‘sheltered teen’ mind and changed my perception of what teens want online. It’s actually very different to my initial thoughts. *Cue social media hat and teacher voice*. Teens are the next generation and, with them, evolves a whole new way of how and when social media is used, what’s trending and also how it plays a part in an everyday teen life.
    Here are some really interesting points on why Facebook could be vastly becoming ‘Bore-book’ for teens:
     >> More parents are joining Facebook, in part, to keep tabs on their child’s online behaviour.
     >> More and more teens are using their mobile phones AND mobile apps to stay in the loop. Including KIK Messenger, Whats App and Snap Chat.
     >> Teens feel they don’t get the privacy they seek anymore on Facebook. This could be down to the fact parents are in that space, resulting in teens being embarrassed by their own parents’ Facebook comments.
    This leads us to the question; where is the new and ‘cool’ place to hang out and get all YOLO (for those not in the know – this stands for – You Only Live Once)?
    Tumblr seems to rule as content/platform king with teens getting their daily social fix in this space. With its powerful re-blog button, teens can get ‘blog’ happy by sharing thousands of teen dream images and short and edited videos, mainly from popular movies and TV shows.
    Facebook is forum for discussion and approval, cue selfies, sharing pics, and prank type video content but mainly used for its chat tool (as a free messaging service) to connect with friends and chat into the wee hours of the morning with easy accessibility via the humble smartphone. In my day, it was feeling devilish after lights out to have a torch under the doona, delving into Sweet Valley High books!
    Instagram teens getting ‘snap happy’ sharing images and creating convo through trending hashtags. Even discussing or displaying content around eating disorders and moderate drug use. You’d be surprised to see the type of conversations that happen here. Cue awkward face. Search any slightly disturbing # to delve deeper, the teen world is more exposed on this platform if you know the right places to look (trust me, these teens are super social savvy) and almost ‘underground’ topics are freely discussed due to the lack of policing on the platform of content… But that’s another blog post in itself.
    Snapchat If you aren’t aware of the powers of this mobile app, here it is in a nutshell: Snapchat is a photo messaging mobile app. Users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to a controlled list of ‘friends’, where they can set a time limit for how long recipients can view their photos (up to 10 seconds) after which it will be deleted from the recipient’s device and Snapchat’s servers.  Popular with a broader demographic, 13-25 year olds are getting their ‘snapchat’ fix on a daily basis.
    From various conversations we have had with teens, we can see Facebook is becoming more ‘uncool’. So for brands who target these young savvy whipper snappers, get on the teen train. Find out where these teen audiences are playing and incorporate this into your strategy. Don’t just follow the herd and jump on Facebook because you think you HAVE to; do your research to ensure you are on the right platforms for your teen demographic. Facebook is great for a base but seek to search further afield for the ‘real’ and ‘raw’. Facebook is not to be completely relied upon with this audience. They’re giving lots of platforms love!
    Education is key  – What platforms have you experimented with to stay up to date with the teen market? And with what success?