Gaining perspective often means taking a step back and seeing concepts from a different angle. To gain a bit of social media perspective this week, I took a step back (a couple of decades) and asked the 20-something PR interns in our office for their thoughts on how social media affects their lives.
The question was generic and unstructured. There were no guidelines involved in the inquiry. I simply asked how they were interacting with social media on a personal level.
The responses were surprising. In the past, I’ve walked past “Intern Row” and seen Facebook on most of the computer screens as a general rule of thumb. But this time, the interns responded that Twitter was their overwhelming choice for social media interaction on a daily basis.
Brands that are using Twitter to build their fan bases are winning with the 20-somethings. Here are a couple of responses from Jenny, Jahmir and Cassandra:
- I use Twitter mainly for my source of news, deals, company information and products I am interested in.
- The companies I follow are those that I am interested in or feel loyal to their brand. T.J. Maxx generally uses their account for testimonies from “Maxinistas” about their designer purchases for less, but I think it is clever because now when I go to T.J. Maxx and buy something I’m really excited about, I’m going to tweet about it. The company also replies and retweets often as well as talks about gift cards which can help increase interest as well. The people who manage the account keep the conversation going with their followers by asking them what they purchased at the store and complimenting them on their purchases.
- Many of my friends on Twitter are like me and follow companies, stores, restaurants, newspapers and celebrities because it is like having everything all in one place. We are a generation of multi-taskers with short attention spans so Twitter is the perfect way to reach out to us in 140 characters or less.
- I see companies that I have liked on Facebook on my mini-feed but I rarely go on their page or am interested in seeking out information about them. I find it more useful to look at company Facebook pages to see the company culture if I am interested in applying for them. The same goes for LinkedIn.
- A recent example of great marketing via social media is the recent release of the movie Snow White and the Huntsman. If it weren’t for Twitter, I don’t think I’d be excited at all about seeing this movie. However, nearly a week before the movie was scheduled to premiere, I began to see retweets and became interested. Fans of the production company, actors/actresses and original fairy tale were expressing how excited they were via tweets. Snow White’s marketing department did a great job at accomplishing their goal: getting people like me, who could care less about the movie, to gain interest and possibly buy a ticket.
We recently met with the CEO of a major employer who said that he has made social media, with an emphasis on Facebook and Twitter, a major focus of his company’s communications efforts. But he added, “I don’t know what impact yet it will have on our bottom line, but I know it’s important.”
The bottom-line impact may simply be to remain relevant by establishing communication with the 20-something audience. The bigger question to ask is how do we use Twitter and Facebook to engage younger buyers?
To sum it all up, Twitter is the way to go to reach the new generation. As our intern Jahmir aptly stated, “Social media is a great way to reach who you want to meet through convenient and accessible means. Messages are conveyed, consumers purchase products/services, and everyone is happy.”