Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Concepts, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter | Posted on 08-31-2009
Another week, another blog post about the continuing debate of the question “Are Teens on Twitter?”
We first heard from Mashable, who reported in early August that the “Stats Confirm It“. Then, the phrase ‘Teens Don’t Tweet’ was a trending topic all day long. Not because of the usual Mashable RT crowd, but because of teens coming out of the woodwork. At any given moment, search.twitter.com results would resemble something like this that day:
So the latest ‘research’ comes from a TechCrunch post, and it’s again spreading like wildfire. Don’t miss the first line of the article: “This guest post is written by Geoff Cook, cofounder and CEO of social networking site myYearbook.”
This research (or is it just a well-positioned promotion for MyYearbook??) is now causing people in higher ed to exclaim on Twitter that “More teens tweet than Facebook“. False. Absolutely False. According to the post, a higher percentage of twitter users are teens than the percentage of Facebook users who are teenagers. But when it comes to straight numbers, teens on Twitter don’t even compare to teens on Facebook. Not yet, anyways.
Looking at Quantcast.com data, 22% of Facebook’s 98.7 million monthly US viewers are 17 or younger. That’s 20,614,000 teens. On the Twitter side? 9% of Twitter’s 28.0 million monthly US viewers are 17 or younger. That’s 2,520,000 teens. According to that count, there are 818% more teens on Facebook each month vs. Twitter. More teens tweet than Facebook? Hardly.
Are they on Twitter? Are they not? What should we do?
Here’s the thing. Twitter should not be at the core of your marketing strategy. Yet. But should you have a presence? Absolutely. Do you need to know how to use the site? Yes. Are you building your presence and community as the site grows? I hope so.
If you use Twitter, remember the last time you complained about a bad experience with a company or site and they weren’t there to listen online? What about your favorite brands that you desire to interact with online and receive valuable information from? What do you think of them when they aren’t on Twitter, ready to listen? It’s a huge customer service opportunity. Conversations about your institution are happening all the time online, and in increasing frequency on Twitter.
Apply the same thought to your institution or office. Twitter is not going to solve all of your goals and objectives. But there are teens out there ready to engage and interact with you. They want to connect with you, and if you are not there, you’ve missed an opportunity. (Or worse, someone else takes over your brand/identity and runs with it like many universities we see in our research.)
The research is nice. But how much weight should you actually put into it? My challenge do you is this: do your own research. Throw a quick survey together and integrate it into first week activities.
IU East did, and found out that 67% of incoming students are on MySpace, while only 60% are on Facebook. (Twitter? 6%.) If IU East had just ‘followed the research’, they’d be listening to everyone who says MySpace is dead and missing out on reaching a large percentage of their student and alumni base.
Almost a year ago I reminded everyone to do their homework after a conference. The same thing goes for any research online. If you’re changing your entire marketing strategy based on what Mashable or TechCrunch posts on their site, you’re going to have some issues. And if you’re retweeting and spreading this information without even reading or confirming it… please stop.
What do you think?
Do you agree with the research that’s out there? Disagree? Indifferent? Let me know below in the comments!