You’ve probably joked that to get your smartphone/printer/Facebook page to work right, you need a teenager’s help. But seriously, hiring one might be a smart business move.
Teenagers, having essentially grown up with social media, are incredibly tech-savvy, and they love showing adults how much they know. So, if you have a teen in your household — or can borrow one from a friend or family member — you can significantly improve your skills with tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Can’t find a young techie? Companies like GadgitKids are popping up to track them down for you. If you pay these kids as well you would an adult, you’ll quickly have an incredibly enthusiastic helper on your hands.
Here are six ways that teens can help you with social media marketing:
- Fine-tune your Facebook page. You can handle basics like posting on someone’s wall and leaving private messages. But do you know how to make yourself appear to be “offline” to certain colleagues who constantly want to chat (hint: see Advanced Settings) or tweak the look of timeline photos? Teenagers can teach you how to do those things — or even do the tasks for you. Teens are also great at writing quick, catchy posts, and uploading new photos of business events (so you don’t look like you haven’t updated your Facebook page since 2009). They can also make sure your business blog posts are automatically announced on your page (as well as Twitter and LinkedIn), and more.
- Tweak your Twitter skills. Hopefully you know that Twitter is more than just a bullhorn for touting your accomplishments. Teenagers, who use Twitter like, hourly, can review your past tweets and offer suggestions on how to interact more effectively with the people and companies you follow, as well as your own followers. For instance, they can show you how to use hashtags to help new customers find you and how to see what’s “trending” on Twitter (and how it might affect your company). And if you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat — a fast-moving conversation like an online conference call — have a teen tutor you before your next one. You’ll feel less lost.
- Pump up Pinterest. The more pins you have, the better. Ask your teen to scan Pinterest and the web (start them off with some good sites and search terms related to your business) for creative pins connected to your work or hobbies. Have your young assistant add the best pins to your page. Of course, be sure to approve all pins for appropriateness; kids sometimes cut and paste a bit faster than they read.
- Leverage your online lingo. If you’re using social media for your business, you’ll look more knowledgeable if you know the latest abbreviations and language. Have a teenager point out important online phrases and conventions to you. Even details like not signing your name every time you message someone can make you look less like a Luddite. A teen won’t hesitate to point out those kinds of goofs — and that’s a good thing.
- Master mobile uses. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest function a little differently on your smartphone or tablet. If you haven’t taken time to learn the ropes, a teenager can give you a quick lesson. He or she can also help you set up shortcuts, such as making sure tweets are texted to your phone.
- Judiciously mix personal and business. Teenagers instinctively know that social media shouldn’t be overly serious. They’ll tell you that the companies they like attract bigger social-media fan bases if they sometimes post things that are just fun and have nothing to do with business. If this idea is foreign to you (don’t worry, it is to many small-business owners), teens can offer suggestions of things to post or even find and create some for you. Options: Interesting pictures you snap with your phone, clever signs you see on your way to work, funny snippets of conversation overheard in the coffee shop, etc. Kids can also guide you on how to avoid oversharing: Customers and colleagues don’t really want to know what you ate for breakfast, and the world really doesn’t need another post of a cute kitty photo with a wacky saying overprinted on it. We’re just sayin’.