Last week during a meeting I was educating our executive staff on the latest Facebook business page algorithm changes. Someone asked me, "What about Twitter? What should I be doing there? Isn’t that what all the Millennials are using these days?"
Although I thought I knew, it had me thinking. So I went on a mission this past weekend to check in and make sure first hand I was tapped into the trends of the younger crowd.
I queried a handful of 20-somethings and had insightful conversations about their usage of social media.
My first series of questions included:
How do you use social media?
What platforms do you use?
Which do you like the best?
They all jumped at the chance to school me on the subject as if I’d been stuck in a hole for the past 10 years. They explained what each platform was and how they like to use them differently.
What I learned was that they saw this spaces as simply a means to an end, tools to stay connected.
Interestingly enough, most of them said, beyond being face-to-face, if they had one way to communicate they’d prefer to pick up the phone and actually talk to each other more than anything.
Next, they’d text. And then came the following, in order of preference:
Instagram was by far the favorite. They said they enjoy following their friends to see what they’re doing. Most importantly, they loved that it is visual, using photos and short videos. And it's fast and simple to use.
Next was Snapchat, though it was really more of a tie for first place with Instagram, as they use the two apps interchangeably. Snapchat's Stories, a virtual narrative of the past 24 hours of your Snaps, seemed to be its biggest draw. It was a way to keep up with their friends daily and find out what they missed, what party they didn't make, and always made for good entertainment.
In fact recently there was a study done by ComScore that 71% of Snapchat's US based users were between the ages of 18-35, well above Facebook and Twitter which are made up of 38 percent and 41 percent of users in that age group.
Next was Facebook. It isn't the end-all to their social reach like it is for so many of us, yet most of them have an account. They weren’t as excited about this space, and only logged in when they had a notification or if they were collectively trying to communicate about a group event. The collective thought was Facebook was really the "older crowd’s" space - not really a place where they wanted to share.
And finally there was Twitter. Twitter has been widely adopted by celebs, brands and those with plenty to say. It’s a 24/7 conversation, but for the average user it’s a way to tap into a stream of information unique to you. And that’s what I was hearing in our conversation.
Twitter is where they follow their fashion blogs, get the latest news, and follow brands because they can get FREE things like tickets to the next big music festival. One girl mentioned how her boyfriend was completely glued for days to his Twitter account trying to claim a prize from Red Bull for concert tickets. It reminds me of how we used to listen to the radio, waiting all day to call in and win. Same idea.
So back to the original question about Twitter usage – yes, Millennials are using Twitter, along with Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. But they are NOT using them in all the same way. They choose to use the best of each platform, and communicate differently in each space.
They consciously don't blast the same message, video, or picture in five different directions, using dashboards or linked accounts. They know their tools and use them accordingly.
But my favorite of all is that if they had a choice, they’d just pick up the phone and call.
Basics never grow old, and ultimately no matter how young you are nothing is more authentic and better communicates than a verbal conversation.