Do You Need a New Social Media Strategy?

Carla Turchetti by Carla Turchetti on January 21, 2014

Teenagers, who spend more than $208 billion each year, are leaving Facebook in droves. This means that small-business owners who rely on the world’s most active social network to sell products or services to young customers may want to rethink their social media strategy.

Daniel Miller, professor of material culture at University College London, is the lead anthropologist on a research project that’s underway in the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey. On his blog, Miller says that his team is finding that people between the ages of 16 and 18 have abandoned Facebook for other social media channels.

The research shows that teenagers aren’t leaving Facebook because of its functionality; they are leaving it to avoid bumping into parents and other family members online, Miller explains. Which means that they won’t come across your business on Facebook, either.

“The kids have left Facebook for Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest,” says Lisa McTigue, a social media expert and consultant. “A small business should consider following them there.”

McTigue says these other networks are more interactive and engaging than Facebook, which can work in a small business’s favor. “It is easier to find the conversations and people interested in your business on these platforms,” she says.

Like other technology platforms, Facebook has evolved over time. “Social media has been great for small business because it leveled the marketing playing field with the big guys,” McTigue says. “However, we are several years into social media marketing, and the game is changing. A few years ago, if a business had a Facebook page, nearly every fan would receive notification in their news feed of a new post. Today the odds of an organic, or unpaid post, appearing in a fan’s news feed [are] incredibly low.”

That’s why many businesses turn to Facebook ads, McTigue says, although to be effective, they generally need to spend a minimum of $50 a day. This can be cost prohibitive for small companies.

Twitter remains a free marketing platform and users have the ability to easily rebroadcast your message beyond the original audience. And as the visual social networking sites continue to grow small business owners can leverage the power of pictures by developing specific  marketing campaigns for Instagram and Pinterest.

Effective marketing requires knowing where your audience is and how to reach it. If your target audience includes teenagers it could be time to rethink your social media strategy and ensure you are using the right channels to send your message.

Carla Turchetti

Carla Turchetti is a veteran broadcast, print and digital journalist who is passionate about small businesses and the stories behind them. Carla is a small-business columnist at the News & Observer, the regional daily newspaper in Raleigh, North Carolina.