Newsflash…technology in the communication and social media fields are evolving almost weekly!  Well it’s not exactly a flash of news to anyone who spends time online or trying to understand culture, but it is significant news for anyone working closely with youth.   The means and avenues for communication definitely continue to expand at a rapid rate, and nowhere is this likely more profiled than with today’s teens and younger adults audience.  Although the infograph below is a designated stat for US teens, I am quite confident the averages and percentages are well within 10% of Canadian stats and trends, especially since Canada is a world-leader in web and online communication development.

Here’s an interesting infographic from AWeber that I found on Business 2 Community, and I’ve outlined some of the key insights they found within the study (below graphic).  Business2Community writer Rebekah Henson posted an article based on results from a survey of scholarship contestants that were asked about their preferred choices of communication technology in connecting with media and their friends.  Obviously the more we know about today’s youth…speaking their language (or at least knowing the vocabulary!)…the better we can assess what they truly value and gravitate towards.

In-as-much-as the business world often cares-less about youth, other than to peddle their products, there is much that we as parents and those that work with youth can learn from the marketing arena.  It’s important to know the strategies and philosophies marketers employ (if nothing else than to expose unhealthy/unproductive motives, and to partially integrate the healthy ones) in our attempt to connect with today’s youth on their playing field.

So What Does All This Mean?
(taken & adapted from original July 18th Rebekah Henson article)

Today’s Younger Generations are hyper-connected to social media- That certainly shouldn’t be surprising, so connecting with them on multiple social networks will usually get you the most mileage from your online marketing attempts.

Timing doesn’t matter…as much as you think– Whatever time of the day you send your message, teens are likely to see it in their inbox (from whatever social media platform they’re using) by then end of the day (social media is often checked throughout the day, but the most popular time for checking email is often after supper or before bed). When they’re out with their friends, teens are more likely to use social networks than any other tool, so reach them in real-time by taking a multi-channel marketing approach (i.e. facebook, email, Linkedin, chat, etc…).

Facebook and email are neck-and-neck in popularity– Yes facebook is popular, but contrary to popular urban legends, email is not dead…in fact facebook only beats email by a thin margin. So using email is totally ineffective and irrelevant as we sometimes are led to believe, but it’s still important to engage younger generations in more than one channel. If you’re interacting with youth strictly through email, you’re missing opportunities to connect with them throughout the rest of the day, and with more effective means.

Finally, today’s younger generations expect innovation– Nearly half of the essay submissions for the scholarship contest mentioned replacing a missing social network or technology with another existing one, or just waiting for someone else to create something better.  This generation lives in a world of evolving technology and expects that evolution to continue, and to continue on-demand!  To captivate them with your message, keep your ideas fresh and creative. This is the perfect demographic to take risks with your marketing tactics because youth have always been pretty good at sniffing out the phonies, but tend to be very loyal to those that are willing to take risks and to be real about them in the process (i.e. if it was a bad idea…admit it and move on to a better tactic…don’t wallow in a failed attempt and keep trying to convince everyone it was a good idea!).

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