A small portion of my job, and by far one of the favorite aspects of my job, is connecting/engaging teens through social media. Since it is just a small portion of my role, I cannot justify spending hours researching how to best connect with teens or hundreds of dollars to take classes offered by “social Media experts.” I just have to do it. What has helped me tremendously is to follow and watch other companies, businesses or celebrities to see how they are actively engaging their teen audience. It is amazing the little things you can pick up just by following someone on twitter.
One group that I have been following for a while that does an exceptional job of engaging teens in DoSomething.org. They are an organization committed to empowering teens to engage in causes that they care about. And one of their best teen engagement tools is texting teens. Recently Mashable posted a video interview with DoSomething’s CEO & Chief Old Person (her actual title) Nancy Lublin (@nancylublin) where she shared some insight into their texting platform. I encourage anyone who works in a field where you are engaging teens to view the interview (Nancy Lublin Interview on Mashable).
Here are some of my take-a-ways:
- Nancy mentioned that texting teens is “Inherently 1 on 1 technology.” Teens want to feel like you are talking directly to them, not posting something out there for hundreds or thousands of teens to see. Texting does this like no other form of media currently.
- Authenticity is key! In a culture where people can create a false image of themselves through social media, teens crave authenticity. They want something that is real and very often they can see right through a company being fake or just trying to market to them. Teens want something that is real.
If engaging teens through social media is a large portion of your job, or you just recognize it as a must in today’s culture, take time to observe what other groups are doing in this area. And most importantly, talk to teens and get their feedback. In my opinion a teens input can never be replaced by adults on the topic of how to engage and empower them.