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Reaching Teens through Social Media

'If you are not online, you are completely out of the loop ' you don't have a life, you don't really exist,'? is how one thirteen-year-old describes the importance of being online. For teens, it seems as if online is the new real world. Teens spend an average of 31 hours per week online and much of that time devoted to social networking. To get a better understanding of their social media usage, AMP conducted an online survey of 114 teens, ages 12 to 18. We found that social media consumes most aspects of teenagers' lives with no signs of stopping. In fact, 62% of teens report using Facebook more often this year than they had last year. This may be due to the fact that many consider social media to be more real than their real lives. For brands to have the greatest impact with teens on social media, they must cater to teens' online behavior. Where Teens Are Our findings uncover behaviors that brands can leverage to reach teens in this space. Facebook is by far the most often used social network with 91% of teens having an account. Furthermore, 86% of teens report that they like to get information about brands on Facebook. Youtube is the next most preferred site with 71% having an account, and 31% looking for brand interaction. Twitter follows in a close third with 50% having an account, and 25% wanting to tweet with brands. Brands should focus on communicating with teens on Facebook but also consider reaching teens on Twitter and YouTube, depending on which channel is most appropriate for their objectives. When Teens Are Online Between classes, sports, and part time jobs, teenagers lead busy lives. So, when should brands connect with teens? The sweet spot is between 2pm and 8pm. 79% of teens report that they typically are online after school, and 68% are online before bed. Although many teens log on in the morning (41%) and between classes (31%), speaking with them after school will allow for a more in-depth, meaningful interaction. What Teens Want from Brands To optimize interaction with teens, brands need to consider who teens are and what they want. It is important for brands to understand that teenagers "want a genuine experience, they want to be heard and recognized by the brand.'? For brands, this data suggests brands should not just continuously self promote. They should converse with teens, especially encouraging teens to include the brand's products in teenagers' status updates and pictures, as 63% of teens say posting status updates and pictures the main activity they do do on social media. It also allows brands to reach teens' online networks. 40% of teens have more than 300 Facebook friends, and 30% have more than 100 Twitter followers. So, these posts can be seen by a great number of other teens. When your brand is trying to reach the largest audience possible, it can be difficult to resist posting too much. The likelihood of being un'followed' or un'liked' is relatively low as 90% of teens have never un'followed' on Twitter, and 60% of teens have never un'liked' a brand on Facebook. However, it is important to build a positive relationship with teens, so try not to post too often. No matter how interesting the content, frequent posts come off as spam. 38% of teens consider it an annoyance to clog up their Facebook news feed, and 60% cited over-tweeting as a reason to un'follow' brands. Teens report that they do want to hear from brands about new products, coupons, promotions, and giveaways - just not six times in one day. Brands that understand where, when, and what to post will have the greatest impact on teens through social media. Learn more about our social media marketing service.

Guest Teen Blogger: Hannah ' 'Sixteen and Shopping'?

Our most recent guest blogger is Hannah Romaine, 16, from Walpole, MA. We asked Hannah a few questions about her shopping habits and brand preferences, and what she believes the future has in store. Here are her answers to our questions: What type of the shopper do you consider yourself to be? I consider myself a shopper that always has something in mind. This means when I'm shopping I don't necessarily go into the store not knowing what I'm looking for. I always have a style or outfit in mind. I do have stores that I shop at frequently and ones I would never shop at but I'm not necessarily picky. The main thing I look for is comfort. If I find something I like but it's not comfortable, I won't buy it. I also try to be reasonable with pricing. It's easy to find cute clothes that are affordable. The quality of the clothing is also something I keep in mind. Overall I consider myself to be a good shopper that doesn't spend too much, and knows what she is looking for. What do you look for in the brands you use? I look for good quality clothing and prices. I want to be able to pay for what I get, not spend too much money on something not worth it.  If something looks really cute but is made out of cheap material I wouldn't buy it.  The quality of the clothing is really important because you want to be able to wear it a lot, and you want to look good. I hate when I wear something once and it comes out of the wash with a rip, or already shrunk. However, it is all about looking good, and having something cute. Before, my parents used to buy a lot of my clothes, and now I am buying a lot more of my clothing, so price has become more and more important to me, and I do not have a lot to spend. There is a point where something becomes just too much money. I prefer prices at Forever 21, but I would save up to buy something designer because I feel like it would be better quality. What types of things do you spend most of your money on? Most of the money I spend goes toward shirts. This is because there are several different types that can be styled different ways when worn. A lot of my money also goes to shoes. There are so many different kinds of shoes. You need a few pairs for every season, and not all of them run cheap. It's good to have nice shoes, because they'll last longer. I hate when I have a pair of shoes that I wear a lot and they get worn out quickly. I want them to be able to last. Most of the money I spend really goes in to the things I need most, with the best quality. What item that you have purchased best represents your personality? I have many items that express my style and personality. One item in particular is my purse.  It's a mono sling that is made out of earthy tones, and several patterns and patches. It's not too flashy or extravagant. I feel this represents me because it's a lot like my own style. I don't wear anything too flashy, and I like to dress in earthy tones. It's a very casual bag, so I bring it almost everywhere. Like my personality, I'm not too fancy. If you had $2,000 of your own, what would you do with it once it was saved? If I had $2,000 saved up, I would probably use a little of it for necessities, and save the rest. I think it's a good idea to save your money, but also important to have some for emergencies. One thing I would not do is spend it all. Continuing to save up the money would help you out in the future. So I would not go waste it on some expensive clothing or shoes. I'm not the type of person that gets over excited when they have a large amount of money and tries to spend it. I buy what I need, and do my best to save the rest. What do you want to be when you grow up? I'm not sure what I want to do when I grow up, but I have several things that interest me. My dream job would have to be working for a magazine. Or anything along the lines of that. I would love to go into something involving fashion. I also love art, so any job that really fits those descriptions would be amazing. How do you think the brands and products you buy will change when you get older? (30 years old) When I'm older I think most of the brands I shop at now will become less popular as more brands come into the picture. I also think that as new things are introduced they will become extremely pricey. It will all be about brands competing against one another, because brands are getting a little less important as they used to be. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more about what something looks like, and style, opposed to where it comes from. However, there will always be those brands everyone loves, and will pay a lot for. I think that those brands will get pricier, and pricier because people will still pay for them. It depends on how much people value the brand. However, I think things like Forever 21 and places like that will become more common because they produce styles that everyone will buy for less money.

Guest Teen Blogger: Brianna - "A Shopper from Good Ole Lancaster County"

Our most recent guest blogger is Brianna, a 16 year old from Lititz, PA. We asked Brianna a few questions about her shopping habits and brand preferences, and what she believes the future has in store. Here are her answers to our questions: 1. What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be? I consider myself to be an impatient and picky shopper. I am not afraid to say that I do not like something. If I am at the mall, I grow impatient sometimes. Shopping with my three sisters can make me impatient. It can be crazy and I hate when they find an item and I find nothing. I have to be in the mood to shop. When I do get a new item I get really excited to try out the product or wear the product. 2. What do you look for in the brands you use? What I look for in brands is the usability of the item. I do not want to buy something that I will never use again. For clothes, I tend to not buy an item that is dry-clean only. I try to steer clear of it to save money. I also look for something with good quality without a huge price. I also want the clothes to fit and for it to be fashionable. I expect a lot from the brands I choose. 3. What types of things do you spend most of your money on? I tend to spend most of my money on food. If I am hanging out with my friends, sometimes we get lunch at a restaurant or get ice cream. I also spend a lot of my money to go to the movies (and extra money for popcorn!). I also buy a new outfit sometimes so I also spend my money on that too. I am a dancer so I love getting new dance activewear and shoes. I also love going to the theater to see shows, so money is also spent on tickets. 4. What item that you have purchased best represents your personality? An item that represents my personality is my tap shoes. I love tap dancing. The sounds you make can be hard and soft. If I get cranky or mad sometimes, they are the "hard" sounds. I am a bubbly, happy person, which would be the "soft" sounds. A tap routine would be the highs and lows of my life since a routine has a beginning, middle and end. The actual look of a tap shoe does not describe me, but the use of it does. 5. If you had to save $2,000 on your own, what would you do with it once it was saved up? If I saved up $2,000, I would definitely want to keep some in the bank. I am not one to splurge and spend uselessly. I would probably buy a new outfit complete with shoes and accessories. I love getting new dance shorts and tops so I would invest in them. I could put some of that money towards my dance tuition as well. 6. What do you want to be when you 'grow up?'? When I grow up I would love to be an elementary school teacher. I really enjoy working with kids. Two of my sisters in my family also want to be teachers as well. Seeing them learning about teaching inspired me to go towards that career path. I cannot picture myself doing anything else when I am grown up. 7. How do you think the brands and products you buy will change when you get older (say, like 30 years old)? I feel that brands and products will become more innovative. Technology is spreading fast and I feel in the future it will be everywhere. In the fashion world I feel new designers and designs will turn up. There will be new trends and old trends coming around again. Maybe new inventions to improve daily life will be created. I am excited for what the future holds for products. 8. What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life? I feel like I have not hit the most important moment in my life. I feel like I have more of my life to live. I do have fun moments such as participating in dance competitions/ conventions, doing shows, or even hanging with friends. I am only 16 years old; I am learning how to drive which means I am becoming more independent. I am growing up, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!

  • 4 min read
  • July 15, 2011

Guest Teen Blogger: Brianna - "A Shopper from Good Ole Lancaster County"

Our most recent guest blogger is Brianna, a 16 year old from Lititz, PA. We asked Brianna a few questions about her shopping habits and brand preferences, and what she believes the future has in store. Here are her answers to our questions: 1. What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be? I consider myself to be an impatient and picky shopper. I am not afraid to say that I do not like something. If I am at the mall, I grow impatient sometimes. Shopping with my three sisters can make me impatient. It can be crazy and I hate when they find an item and I find nothing. I have to be in the mood to shop. When I do get a new item I get really excited to try out the product or wear the product. 2. What do you look for in the brands you use? What I look for in brands is the usability of the item. I do not want to buy something that I will never use again. For clothes, I tend to not buy an item that is dry-clean only. I try to steer clear of it to save money. I also look for something with good quality without a huge price. I also want the clothes to fit and for it to be fashionable. I expect a lot from the brands I choose. 3. What types of things do you spend most of your money on? I tend to spend most of my money on food. If I am hanging out with my friends, sometimes we get lunch at a restaurant or get ice cream. I also spend a lot of my money to go to the movies (and extra money for popcorn!). I also buy a new outfit sometimes so I also spend my money on that too. I am a dancer so I love getting new dance activewear and shoes. I also love going to the theater to see shows, so money is also spent on tickets. 4. What item that you have purchased best represents your personality? An item that represents my personality is my tap shoes. I love tap dancing. The sounds you make can be hard and soft. If I get cranky or mad sometimes, they are the "hard" sounds. I am a bubbly, happy person, which would be the "soft" sounds. A tap routine would be the highs and lows of my life since a routine has a beginning, middle and end. The actual look of a tap shoe does not describe me, but the use of it does. 5. If you had to save $2,000 on your own, what would you do with it once it was saved up? If I saved up $2,000, I would definitely want to keep some in the bank. I am not one to splurge and spend uselessly. I would probably buy a new outfit complete with shoes and accessories. I love getting new dance shorts and tops so I would invest in them. I could put some of that money towards my dance tuition as well. 6. What do you want to be when you 'grow up?'? When I grow up I would love to be an elementary school teacher. I really enjoy working with kids. Two of my sisters in my family also want to be teachers as well. Seeing them learning about teaching inspired me to go towards that career path. I cannot picture myself doing anything else when I am grown up. 7. How do you think the brands and products you buy will change when you get older (say, like 30 years old)? I feel that brands and products will become more innovative. Technology is spreading fast and I feel in the future it will be everywhere. In the fashion world I feel new designers and designs will turn up. There will be new trends and old trends coming around again. Maybe new inventions to improve daily life will be created. I am excited for what the future holds for products. 8. What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life? I feel like I have not hit the most important moment in my life. I feel like I have more of my life to live. I do have fun moments such as participating in dance competitions/ conventions, doing shows, or even hanging with friends. I am only 16 years old; I am learning how to drive which means I am becoming more independent. I am growing up, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!

OH YEAH, CARROTS, YEAH!

Brands are constantly trying to find ways to become, and remain relevant, to their target consumer. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the approach recently taken by 'A bunch of Carrot Farmers'? which is aimed at getting younger consumers to eat more carrots. In other words, they're trying to make carrots 'cool.'? Is this even possible? You be the judge. So what did these Carrot Farmers do? They've taken carrots and positioned them in the exact way that kids are used to seeing junk food products marketed to them. They produced an over-the-top ad about carrots, which involves a machine gun, an attractive female, an extreme stunt, and a pterodactyl. Now, if that isn't already cool enough, they've also launched a baby carrot website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter page. They even revamped the packaging for baby carrots, and have started stocking them in vending machines in various high schools across the country. Now all this is great and everything, but you're probably saying to yourself, 'Are kids really going out and buying carrots? Or, are they just going to think these farmers are trying too hard and call them lame??'? We recently conducted focus groups with males ages 13-21, and heard over and over again how they dislike it when a brand 'tries too hard'? or tried to be something it's not. However, when a brand is so completely ridiculous with their approach, they know it isn't meant to be serious and they actually like it. But what will kids think of this new look for carrots? If you ask me, I don't think anyone can see what this bunch of carrot farmers have done, and take it seriously. The approach is done in a way that is so wacky, that you can't not get that they're trying to be funny, all while taking a jab at the way some brands position their products. And as I just mentioned above, this resonates very well with today's younger consumers. Now, if the commercial was a group of teenagers hanging out at a park/mall, eating carrots, laughing, and having a grand old time ' then, it would clearly be trying too hard. Another thing to always keep in mind is that it's not enough to just make a cool ad or fancy website. In order to truly fit into your consumer's life, you have to be where they are. The fact alone that carrots are now being offered in vending machines at high schools makes them more readily available, and will help increase the amount of teens eating carrots. It's now something they can get on their own, instead of something that their mom buys for them ' which is so un-cool. It will be interesting if carrots remain a popular choice, or if teens will go back to the Doritos and cookies if/when the hype dies down. I know one thing is for sure ' I'm going to buy some carrots. They're so awesome. How do you think this is going to be received?

Doogie Howser Syndrome ' The Teen Edition (Part I of II)

'Becoming aware of the plight of the citizens of Darfur motivated me to take action and my success mobilizing a campaign against the genocide molded me into the leader I am today. I serve as President of my class, lead my school's movement to prevent gun violence, intern at my Assemblywoman's office, am an active member of the Student Government as well as in a wide range of community activities, and this past summer helped build a schoolhouse for poor children in Africa.'?  -Zak, Age 15 This, my friends, is an example of how today's teens are preparing for their future. They are literally involved in EVERYTHING. Recently, we conducted an online contest for one of our clients. The contest, aimed at teens, elicited response after response just like the above. More than 5,700 of them to be exact. Class Presidents, Student Government Leaders, Key Club Members, Student Council Representatives, Community Service Volunteers, and the list goes on. As early as 13, today's youth choose (or feel obligated) to participate in everything they possibly can in hopes of getting into a good college (extracurricular activities are one of the most important criteria colleges use to determine admission) and solidifying a financially and emotionally fulfilling career. Or maybe their parents make them do it - teens who don't participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes, use marijuana, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2008). Either way, my biggest question is - are we creating monsters? What are the teens 10, 15, 20 years from now going to be like when they start preparing for their futures even earlier than today's youth? (Newborns with resumes and infants logging community service hours anyone?) What will happen to riding your bike to get ice cream with your friends, going swimming on a hot summer day, and the thousands of other carefree activities I used to do as a young teen? Will childhood become all business? I sure hope not ' because that bright pink Schwinn and blue one-piece Speedo bring me back to some of the best days of my life.

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