What Pre-Teens Taught Me About Social Media

As a digital marketer/social media manager, I engage with a plethora of people in the field who, just like myself, are adults. This is why whenever I think of social media, I typically think of persons my age and older, however, there is a group of individuals who make up an enormous portion of active online users- that’s right, I am talking about pre-teens.

I know what you’re thinking, “Tamara, pre-teens are the most annoying internet users out there, they shouldn’t even be allowed to have social media!” While some pre-teens are using the internet in cringe-worthy ways (for lack of a better term), there is no doubt that they know how to use it. So, what do they know and do that we don’t?

If you’re going to commit, COMMIT!

I don’t follow pop culture or celebrities, but regardless, that is bound to pop up on social media. A lot of the times, I’ll see a tweet or post from the celebrity and I will just see replies and comments (a lot of them!) from a young individual. Sometimes, I’ll click their profile and you guessed it, it is dedicated to the celeb they are so desperately trying to get a hold of. I think the proper word for these individuals is “fandom”. These pre-teens know how to persevere and do what they have to to get noticed, there is no doubt!  As annoying as it may be, the underlining tactics work in marketing.

What marketers can take from this: Don’t let your pride stop you from reaching out to those you see potential in or those you want to collaborate with. Get your name out there, get noticed, and never be afraid to ask. Rejection is hard, but never knowing what could have been is harder.

What marketers should avoid: Don’t harass people. There is a line between wanting to engage with them and downright annoying them!

Be prepared to jump on the next big thing!

New social platforms come out so frequently, it can be hard to keep up. And aside from new platforms coming out, already existing platforms are constantly coming out with new features. Who are the ones to typically test the waters on these new platforms and features? You guessed it-pre-teens!

Let’s take Musical.ly for example. When it first came out, no one was really on it and it was seldom spoken of. So the younger generations flocked to it and decided to give it a run and before you knew it, Musical.ly blew up. While I find Musical.ly and the content on it to be out of my taste, these kids sure know how to utilize it. They took a platform no one was using and build themselves up on it right away. Now you can’t go on any other major social platform without seeing these “Musical.ly stars” and you better believe they are doing well!

What marketer can take from this: The digital world is constantly evolving and it is imperative to roll with the punches. The last thing you want to do in marketing is remain stagnant or become comfortable. If new platforms come out, sign up and give them a try. If existing platforms come out with new updates, test them out. There is a lot of trial and error in marketing. If something doesn’t work, you don’t have to continue with it. But if you never try, you’ll never know!

What marketers should avoid: So, let’s say your favourite band/artist just released a new album and you are more than eager to get your hands on it. You finally do, but what do you do next? Do you delete all their old music and solely listen to their new album on repeat because it’s what’s hot and new? Chances are, you don’t do that. Just because something new roles along, does not mean we have to disregard everything else and solely focus on what’s new.

Trying new platforms or new updates is great, but it does not mean you can neglect all the other platforms you use. You have to learn how to incorporate and merge them all into your social strategy!

Trends, trends, and more trends!

This point kind of piggybacks on that last one so I will make it quick! Just like new platforms emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, so do new trends. Challenges, hashtags, etc, are examples of trends that are taking over the social world. Pre-teens certainly know how to jump on these trends and make the most out of them; aiding their social exposure and status.

What marketers can take from this: Leverage trends to the best of your ability. Research them, find examples of them and participate in them!

What marketers should avoid: Stupid trends. Avoid any dangerous challenges, inappropriate hashtags, and just any trend that can damage the reputation of your brand/business. Not much needs to be said here, it’s easy to spot a good trend from a downright dumb trend!

Browsing social media isn’t a waste of time!

“Kids these days are always looking at their darn phones.”

Yeah, they are. And there isn’t much we can do to stop it. As much as some people hate the fact that younger generations so into their devices, we can’t blame them; a world with technology and everything at their fingertips is all they know.

One thing about it is, they are always learning and discovering. All the time spent on their devices is time they are using to expand their knowledge on whats going on in the digital world.

I spend a lot of time browsing social media and I always hear, “wow you really don’t like doing your job, huh?” That is my job. It is how I do my research. Truth be told, I have my phone attached to my hip 24/7.

What marketers can take from this: Set aside time every day or every week to just browse the internet. Browse social media platforms, see what is happening, what people are doing, what is trending, and what is all the rage. This is how social media managers do their research. Don’t feel guilty for being on your phone so much or being on social media so much. Remember, part of the role is knowing what is going on in the digital world and how you can leverage it for optimal ROI.

What marketers should avoid: Don’t get sidetracked. A majority of pre-teens spending a plethora of time on their phone aren’t doing so for work, so they typically can do as they please. When researching on social media, it’s important to stay focused. Browsing and understanding new hashtags are important but finding out what your best quality is based on your fast-food preferences are not. Keep the fun quizzes and all that jazz separated from your research time! FYI, I love chicken nuggets and my best quality is loyalty, so there is that!


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