By now everyone is aware that the social media space has taken off and it’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon. There’s a long list of reasons why social media is important for your business. For some, the most attractive quality is the free or low cost brand recognition social media platforms offer. For others, social media becomes a great avenue to address customer service issues and better future products. Every company that has a Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest account has their own set of reasons for initially joining the new craze.

As of late we have become consumed in trying to validate our social media efforts by defining the key metrics that we can associate with ROI. Though it is great that we are beginning to quantify the current value of social media, I believe that a majority of these social media ROI equations leave out a few key elements. The most notable is the fact that most social media and digital analytics teams are focused on the immediate value of their social efforts. This is for good reason seeing as how most clients and c-level executives want to see results and they want to see them fast.

Possibly more important than the current benefits of social media are the future benefits. Let’s take a look at the future generation of buyers who are between the ages of 14 and 24. The Pingdom Social Network in 2012 Demographics Report found that 21% of social media users are under the age of 24 (See here). Though this may not be an outstanding majority, these statistics suggest that this is a demographic that deserves some attention. The American youth are jumping into a world where achievement and efficiency are key judgment factors. Their parents are encouraging them to speak and participate, praising them for nearly everything they do. Now that many children and young adults are used to having a voice within the home, they are desperately searching for an avenue to be heard outside of the home as well.  Social media does just this.

Children and young adults have flocked to social media platforms because they want to:

  1. Find a place where they belong.
  2. Create the content.
  3. Control the conversation via posts and text.
  4. Keep up with the trends.

This is where social media becomes extremely important for brands. Most children and young adults are already making decisions about your brand before they have the money to purchase your products. Social media may have its benefits for addressing your current consumers, but it can be even more powerful for gaining the respect of your future buyers. Johnson and Johnson is a company that is widely known to have a great generational marketing strategy. Their marketing efforts target children, young adults, parents, and seniors.  Children and young adults become accustom to the Johnson and Johnson brand at a young age. Consequently, there is a great deal of trust built between the brand and young people. What is interesting is that there are many brands that do just this, but only in traditional marketing efforts. So why haven’t we applied the same strategies to digital marketing and social media? In 5 to 8 years, these children and young adults are going to be the ones buying your products. It is therefore paramount that you earn their trust now to ensure a loyal group of future customers.

So How Can You Do That?

  • Focus a potion of your social media efforts on creating content that your younger generation of customers can engage with.
  • Allow the next generation of buyers to generate content around your brand.
  • Use the fact that these children and young adults constantly need stimulus to your advantage. 
  • Make it easier to understand your new technology and innovations.
  • Be a trustworthy company! Don’t manipulate your buyers; simply be a part of the conversation.