When Twitter debuted in 2008, only 1 in 10 teens were using the microblogging site. Fast forward to 2012, and that number is up to 16% according to Pew Research — double 2011 usage statistics. This is something that brands need to take notice of and watch closely. Teens are fickle, and while it’s unlikely that Facebook’s 900 million users will suddenly abandon the site, there was a time when MySpace saw its younger users migrating to Facebook. In other words, when it comes to the teen audience, no brand is safe.
As Dave Williams explains on Ad Age, there are specific reasons why teens are starting to choose Twitter to interact with friends (and more) online. Teens view Facebook as a site for sharing content, photos, videos, and memories. On the other hand, Twitter is where teens have conversations in real-time. It’s like text messaging with a wider audience. Furthermore, teens like that they can use Twitter anonymously and create separate accounts to communicate with different audiences. Unlike Facebook where teens can’t hide from their parents and family, Twitter gives them the freedom that teens crave.
Dave writes, “Teens aren’t giving up on Facebook, but they’re treating it the same way the gainfully employed treat LinkedIn. They feel it’s important to maintain a page, but they check the social network sporadically. Twitter is where they go to check in throughout the day. ” This shift in behavior is something that brands need to take very seriously and consider in their future social media marketing efforts.
Bottom-line, it’s not surprising that teens are embracing Twitter, but are brands giving this migration the attention it deserves? My guess is that most brands are not — yet. And where teens are concerned, “yet” is already too late. Brands need to be aware of how teens use different social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, so they can effectively communicate with this audience wherever those teens are spending time.
Image: Julia Freeman-Woolpert
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