An acquaintance recently stated that young people aren’t interested or involved with his product, therefore justifying his company’s lack of a social media presence in its marketing efforts.  Now, this assessment is flawed for a number of reasons, but I smiled at him and nodded while he took out his frustration on “Twits” and Facebook users.  “How do they have time to update these things?  Do they have no lives?”

Use of Social MediaDespite his relatively warped idea of social media and how people use it, this aforementioned guy is a genuinely intelligent and informed individual.  Each day after work, he most likely goes home and reads the newspaper before having dinner with his family.  Afterwards he probably finds a comfy spot on the couch and turns on his preferred news network before switching over to watch one or more of his favorite TV shows.  What he doesn’t understand is that at the same time, people all across the world are doing the exact same thing.  They’re catching up with local, national and world news and they’re finding sources of interest and entertainment.  The only difference is that, more and more, people are using the web and social media to facilitate both their conquest of, and interaction with, these things; especially young people.

So allow me to pose a question to my acquaintance and everyone who has the same mentality; if young people aren’t involved with your product, is it because you’re preferred methods simply aren’t reaching them?  Look at it this way.  Let’s assume you’re using direct mail, radio or outdoor advertising to get the word out about your product or services.  These have all traditionally been viable means of communicating with your target audience.  Though these mediums are still great ways to market a product in a lot of situations, they’re becoming less and less effective in reaching younger demographics, i.e., the 18-30 audience.  Why you ask?

Direct Mail:
It was probably thrown away or disregarded as “junk” mail.

Most people between 18 and 30 are using online services to pay their bills and manage their accounts.  This being said, they don’t pay much attention to the physical mail that gets delivered, unless they’re expecting a check.  No matter how much money you spend on creating the most appealing postcard, brochure or invitation, today’s youth simply aren’t paying attention.

Radio Advertisements:
Ever heard of an iPod?

If you’re banking on the fact that you can reach a younger demographic by advertising via the radio, you’ll definitely have better luck than with direct mail.  But you’ll have to factor out the large percentage of this group that couldn’t tell you the last time they listened to the radio… because they never leave home without their iPod or MP3 player.  Taking it along on the daily commute enables them to replace the annoying repetition of mainstream hits and monotone marketing messages with playlists containing all their favorite songs and artists.

Outdoor Advertisement:
It’s hard to see a billboard when ones not watching the road anyway.

Remember the iPod user we just talked about?  They just zoomed by your billboard, but they were either changing songs or checking Facebook on their Smartphone while they passed.  Oddly enough, had you saved the money on the billboard and spent a little time crafting the right message to put on a company’s Facebook page, the chances of them seeing it would have increased exponentially.

The bottom line is that young people live and breath the web.  They’re constantly viewing and interacting with the pages of their friends, family and favorite businesses on Facebook, and continuously keeping up with their favorite sources of news and entertainment via Twitter, and other networks.  If social media has no place in your marketing efforts, there’s a definite reason this demographic isn’t paying attention.