Dear Socially Stephanie,
I am about to launch a product that I know every high school student is going to want. I can't tell you what it is yet because we are still in super stealth mode. I do know, however, that making a splash is going to be crucial to my success. I have some money to spend, but not a lot. What networks do you recommend I use to connect with my teenaged audience?
- Not A Teen In Tallahassee
Dear Not A Teen In Tallahassee,
OMG, srsly rn? R u bout that lyfe? ilysm. #Relatable. That was a test. Did you understand anything I just said? If you answered no, don't fret, but your first mission is to hit the books and do a little market research. This is really how teens talk online. Translation: Oh My God, seriously right now? Are you in it to win it? I love you so much. Can you relate?
So, now that you have the lingo down (or at least you're on the right track), it's time to determine which networks you're going to make waves on. You have to really understand the life and mindset of a teenager in order to connect with them.
That being said, first and foremost, you must go where your audience is. Nope, not Facebook. Facebook, according to the youngsters, is a dying network. While Mark Zuckerberg might not agree, it's time to move beyond Facebook. And anyway, since you're looking to make a splash, you gotta get creative.
Can you guess what I am going to tell you? Nope, it's not Twitter either. While Twitter isn't a bad option, and teens and millennials are active on it, it's not the best for your project. Remember: big splash, not small drip. We're going straight for the mobile apps. Why? Because look around you-teens are constantly on their phones. In fact, 49 million millennials use a smart phone. That's more than half of the entire teenage population. If you want people talking about your product before it's launched, mobile is the way to break in.
Teens are highly visual. In fact, we all are. The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. In a world where we only have a few seconds to capture the user's attention, visuals make an impact, and they do it fast.
Instagram is a visual marketers dream. To get your stealthy startup off the ground, think about how you can portray the idea without giving away the product. To grow your Instagram presence beyond the image, you have to think in terms of hashtags. What are people searching for? Try using hashtags like #lol #ilysm and other words you learned in your "How To Talk Like A Teenager" research. To help propel your following, start following people who are using your defined keywords and hashtags. If you're posting good content that is #relatable, there is a good chance they'll follow you in return. #TeamFollowBack!
If you need a little inspiration, follow InvadeLA, a mobile app that started following me on Instagram, posting super relevant images, and guess what: yesterday, I downloaded it. Their Insta-strategy worked.
Instagram...check! You're on your way to Guru status. Well, almost.
Don't know what Vine is? Check out this guide here. Vine is the hottest app since sliced bread, right now. And teens are flocking to it. Start creating 6 second clips that are funny and, dare I say it, #relatable. Funny wins on Vine. Remember, your videos are only 6 seconds, so you have to be snappy. Think one-liners and moments in time. That works. This is where your advertising budget comes into play. You see, there is something called being "Vine Famous." These are the people who have upwards of 3 million followers. While those top dogs might be a bit pricey, there are other Vine Almost-Famous types that could be your spokesperson or do sponsored Vines for you. In doing this, you'll have the power to tap into a network of pre-qualified and trusted individuals. They already love and trust the Viner, and if they're supporting your product, it must be good.
Lastly, I want you to create a Snapchat account. Snapchat is a mobile app that allows you to send self-destructible photos and videos to your friends. Since your product is still in stealth mode, this is a good way to spice up the allure of it, as Snapchat plays off of the idea that something is top secret. As images only last for a few seconds, you could even send real images, little Snap teases, of your product to your followers. Of course, first you're going to have to build your followers up. A little cross promotion between Snapchat, Vine and Insta, and you should be good to go.
It's totes looking like you've got some work to do, tbh. See you on my apps.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells