Many studies focus on answering the “what” and “how” of youth’s social media usage. At Mr. Youth, they wanted to uncover the motivation behind youth’s social activities in research released last year. During the research, teens were busy preparing for their lives in college. They were saying goodbye to their high school experiences and welcoming a new chapter. At Mr. Youth, they discovered that the majority of teens are using Facebook as a means of learning who their future classmates are, and some are even using social media to find the perfect roommate. Another finding was, that technology empowered youth with a sense that “anything is possible if you are willing to work hard.” A mix of both quantitative research (nationwide polls and discussions in the US) and qualitative insights were gathered through user-generated video and focus groups. As they filmed their families and friends, and narrated their journey into college, it became clear that the Class of 2015 is motivated by more than just brand marketing, according to the research (pdf).
Facts & Figures
- 67% access Facebook from their smartphone
- 59% visit Facebook during class
- 40% use Pandora
- 73% earn virtual currency (Facebook Credits (36%), Farmville Cash (25%) and Microsoft Points (17%) rank among the most popular.)
- 75% upload photos via mobile
- 80% use 2 or more devices simultaneously while watching TV
- 66% would look up a store after learning their friend had checked in.
- 43% have liked more than 20 brands on Facebook.
- 65% report researching the next model for their current product, immediately after making a purchase
- 71% report having liked a brand on Facebook just to receive an offer
- 91% make their Facebook Places and Foursquare check-ins public.
- 52% have over 300 friends on Facebook. Top 10%, over 1,000.
- 58% use Twitter “all the time”
- 40% visit Facebook more than 10 times per day.
- 73% only consider someone a “friend” if they have hung out in person.
- 76% spend over an hour on Facebook every day
Well, how can you connect with these youngsters as a brand, what are the best practices? Below, you can find 5 ways to become friends with the class of 2015:
1. Help them express their personal brand
- They live in a public world of fans and followers
- Your brand is complimentary to their own
2. Integrate organically into their world
- Know where they are and what’s hot
- Know what it means to be cool
- Allow them to co-create with your brand
3. Get in good with their friends
- Know how they define “friend” in social media
- Know the purpose of each social community
- Understand that their taboos are not what you think
4. Become an on-demand brand
- They communicate 24/7 and expect this from brands
- They are always on the lookout for what’s next
5. Get to know them before assuming what they want
- Their preference in brands has shifted
- Reaching them requires attention to detail
- Understand what incentives motivate them
About the research
The research was conducted in three phases during the Spring of 2011. At the beginning, a series of nationwide polls via Crowdtap, a start-up incubated at Mr Youth, which allows brands to reach consumers nationwide. Next, in coordination with research partner Real Pio, Mr Youth recruited a selection of college students in a more in-depth qualitative approach. The final step was to bring them into the Mr Youth office for a series of on-site focus groups.