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Do Teens Tweet? And Other Social Media FAQs

qualman-erik
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The questions keep growing as more people join the social media fray. It seems socially appropriate that we take some time to go over three of the most common questions that your friends, bosses, co-workers, or even you might be asking.

What Social Media Should I Use?

When it comes to social media, it isn't one size fits all. The beauty of search and social media is that it often can poke holes in your marketing positioning -- being quite candid -- it will often point out to your brand brethren that it may be too fluffy or broad.

In the book "Made to Stick," authors Chip and Dan Heath point out a very salient point. They suggest that you should be able to describe your core positioning in movie trailer type format:

  • "It's 'Die Hard,' but on a bus." For those Keanu Reeves fans out there, that would be the movie "Speed."

  • "Red Bull that tastes like Coke" equals Jolt Cola.

  • "Southwest for the Northeast" equals JetBlue.

This isn't an article about brand positioning or marketing platforms, but it's important to point out that often you'll need to take a step back (properly define your market position as social media and SEO will point out the holes) to take two steps forward when it comes to social media.

You need to define your niche, as being well rounded in a social media world can be death. A great quote from Bill Cosby -- who would have thought we could tie him into a social media article? -- "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Assuming you have a well-defined position, you can then determine which social media makes sense for you. It's best to start with a social media program that you feel has the best chance for success and be quick and light.

MySpace could be most appropriate for a new rock band. Twitter may be the first social media venture for those highly focused on customer service.

Each social media platform has its own unique offerings and demographics. It should be easy to determine which is most appropriate for you, but if you struggle, the Forrester Groundswell Profile Tool (based on the book co-written by former Forrester analyst Charlene Li), helps identify where your best chance for success will be, based on your demographic target. Li Evans goes into more detail in "Do You Know Where Your Audience Is?"

Do Teens Tweet?

Because of Ashton Kutcher's and Britney Spears' well documented use of Twitter, teens are more aware of it, but only the early adopters are using it. They may use Twitter or other micro-blogging tools in the future, but not now. They use the status updates on Facebook, which is a form of micro-blogging.

Also, keep in mind that anyone under 20 doesn't really see much use for e-mail. They view e-mail as an action tool -- a tool needed to respond to something usually work related. Or as an enabling tool -- needed to set up accounts on social media sites.

The use of e-mail is becoming even less now that their parents and grandparents are starting to use social media. Remember, the fastest growing segment on Facebook is females age 55 to 65. Primary communication tools: text messages, video/Skype, IM, and Facebook.

Teens still care about privacy, but their privacy is much different than other generations. For example, they have no issue telling the world they're out of town, whereas previous generations would have the neighbor get the mail and set up light timers.

How Big Will Bing Be?

It's good to see that someone (Microsoft) is pushing Google with their launch of Bing. However, while it has some social elements (most popular searches now, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn showing high in the results, etc.) it doesn't push the envelope enough to give Google a legitimate run for their money.

If Microsoft were able to improve upon and integrate their Live CashBack program functionality into Bing, then that would make it much stronger. I strongly believe that the next game changer in search will be:

  1. Integrating my social graph's reviews/purchases around products/services.

  2. Ability to give some money back to the user for a search purchase/review.

Compete data showed the activity on Bing was a small blip the day it launched, but then it was back to business as usual: Google (73.2 percent) Yahoo (16.5 percent) Bing (5.7 percent). We'll see if Microsoft's planned $80 million to $100 million ad campaign has any affect. Television advertising didn't help Ask.com a few years back, and they even used monkeys.

Speaking of going bananas, I'm sure there are plenty more social media questions out there, so please feel free to send them my way, via comments below or Twitter @equalman.

Submissions are now open for the 2009 Search Engine Watch Awards. Enter your company or campaign before July 17, 2009. Winners will be announced at SES San Jose.


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