GUEST BLOG: Which social networks should brands target to sell to young people?

Orange Juice intern Stephen Matthews is a marketeer’s dream. He’s young, cool (well, he wears skinny jeans and has floppy hair so he’s certainly cooler than the rest of the team) and he’s going places. He is what those in the know refer to as ‘a millenial’.

For most of us, advertising has traditionally been via print media, radio or TV. But how do ‘millenials’ like Stephen want brands to talk to them? Let’s find out in his latest guest blog.

How do you capture the interest of the youth today so that you can secure a committed relationship with them for life? Social networking. Young people are an important consumer demographic who hold the key to numerous markets, rightfully forcing companies to invest heavily to attract their business.

However, any company that still uses Facebook as their main way of targeting young people needs to hold an emergency meeting this instant. Quite simply, the youth of 2015 no longer take Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking phenomenon seriously. Whilst it may be beneficial to occasionally promote your goods or services over Facebook, only a minor percentage of younger people still actively use the website.

Unfortunately, unless you’re going to repeat the amazing ‘Whopper Sacrifice’ campaign released by Burger King on Facebook back in 2009, then you’re going to stand little chance of appealing to the youth. Everyone wants free stuff, especially students living on the breadline.

Clever companies moved their youth marketing strategies onto various other social networking websites a couple of years ago. Twitter’s surge in popularity over the past few periods has allowed for this fascinating 140-character creation to overtake the dizzying heights that Facebook had once achieved.

Being able to interact with famous people, complimented by the sheer simplicity of use, attracted millions of young people worldwide. Many more millions of trend-following teenagers followed, and so did the switched-on youth marketeers.

All you need is an active and slightly unusual presence on this domain and you’ll achieve a huge amount of success with the youth. One of the best examples of this is used in the UK’s biggest supermarket’s Twitter page. Often, Tesco’s customer service team will take to the website to mock customers and shut them down in front of other people, allowing for a viral movement of people to propel their business into the world’s eyes through the means of a simple ‘retweet’.

Two of the more powerful social networking websites with huge youth followings are often overlooked when it comes to clever marketing techniques for younger people. Instagram and LinkedIn could get your company so much attention, so long as the marketing strategy is conducted appropriately.

Advertising to the average youth on LinkedIn doesn’t really work, because the average youth doesn’t have a profile. Most young people that use the ‘professional Facebook’ use it infrequently, with the basic hope of avoiding a job stacking shelves in the retail sector when they finish their studies.

Most marketeers appear to have missed the huge gap for grabbing the attention of the youth on this social networking website. Students want jobs, students want positions, students want work experience. If you could offer any of them in a campaign, you could have just discovered a goldmine.

More annoyingly, Instagram is used in completely the wrong manor by marketeers. Making teenagers post up a blatant advertorial picture of your company in the slim chance of winning a prize attracts no-one. If marketeers could catch onto the idea that a huge proportion of Instagram is those with a keen sense of photography, perhaps through competitions, they could easily attract a huge percentage more of younger people.

But whatever you do, don’t go near Snapchat. It should never be used to promote your brand in any way, shape or form. Most users send a few awful photographs of their face to their friends every now and then, and that’s all. Young people simply don’t care about brands on Snapchat.