5 lessons teenagers can teach business owners about using social media

Social media

You only have to ask a person under the age of 20 whether social media is overwhelming or scary to know they don't experience the same challenges that adults do when it comes to social media. Here are 5 strategies you can embrace to make it easier for you too.

1. Stop planning and take action.

You know what kids are like – jump in and then think about it. Whereas adults tend to think about it, then plan, then learn, then plan some more, maybe learn some more, back to planning and by the time they’re ready to take action – there’s more to learn.

I hear it over and over again and the reason many businesses haven’t created a strong social media presence already is because ….. they’re still thinking about what could happen. It’s time to stop planning or thinking and take action. Get started and see how it goes.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? You might waste some time or change your strategy midway. Maybe you’ll have to learn as you go. At least you’ll have started and you’ll be that much closer to having an online presence than you were when you were still thinking and planning. Start! If you have to dip your toe in first do that but make a start.

2. Get click happy!

What will this button do? What happens if I click here? Should I click this? The answer to these questions is DO IT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

Most of us didn’t grow up with IT savvy parents or teachers and we were told “don’t click”, “don’t touch that” and “follow instructions”.

Kids today are much less likely to wait and they don’t have a fear of making a mistake like we do. They click it and see what happens.

The creation of the “undo” button was a revolution we need to embrace. Couple that with the “I can do anything” attitude of youngsters and you have a “click it” movement. And I say why not.

If you’re looking for a feature or a function and there are menus or option buttons you have two choices. Option 1, you could research and spend all day looking for the right advice, or 2 you could click it and you may just find the answer to your question. Go on, click it.

3. Life’s a game, so play.

The world has changed – yes. The way we communicate has changed – yes. Our degree of sharing has shifted – yes. And life goes on. I say stop taking things so seriously.

Social media has been in existence for well over ten years now and the impact it has had on our lives is enormous, there is no debating that. Have there been negative things come out of the introduction of social media – sure there has. But it isn’t too different to any other point in history when things change. The industrial revolution also brought change and impact but life continued. And so it will if you accept the way things are. Don’t make the change bigger than it needs to be. Embrace it and have fun with it.

If there are elements of social media you don’t like – don’t participate. If there are interactions you don’t like – don’t look at them. Enjoy the time you do spend using social media and allow yourself time to adjust.

4. Small talk is easy.

Small talk comes naturally to some and less naturally to others but the incredible thing is – small talk online brings big exposure. Is it worth learning to create conversations online if you know it could potentially expose you to hundreds (or even thousands) of people? Of course it is. The key is – engagement.

The more people who interact with you ie. join your conversation, like what you’re saying or repeat what you said to their friends, the more exposure you’ll achieve for your brand.

Don't be afraid to hear the opinions of others, even if they’re different to your opinions because just by joining in conversation with them – they’ve told their friends about you (indirectly of course). That’s pretty cool and who knows they may even become customers – now or in the future.

Join conversations, participate in chit chat, and increase the number of people who know about your product or service. I like that!

5. Say it like it is.

Hesitation, reservation and conservatism are the major differences between adults and kids when it comes to what to say. Sometimes, unfortunately kids go a little too far, not thinking at all and I don’t encourage that. But I do suggest you just say it and stop overthinking everything.

Adults tend to get caught somewhere between the spoken language and the written language.

Most business people can comfortably hold a conversation with a customer or colleague either on the phone or face-to-face. Ask them to write down what they spoke about and they get caught up in pronouns and pronunciation.

Social media is not the place to get carried away with essays and prologues. The whole energy surrounding social media is conversational and that’s the tone you need to use if you want to engage online.

I’m not suggesting you should be sloppy or use an abundance of shortened words. You’re in business and so you should be professional, of course. The tone you use should reflect the tone you use in your verbal communications, your offline conversations.

Listen to yourself, record yourself if you need to. Hear the language and tone you use in conversations and bring that into your online conversations.

Last but not least .. if a child doesn’t know how to do something, or simply doesn’t want to, what do they do? They ask someone for help. Not such a bad idea. Ask for help if you need it.


Francine Bishop

Owner at Mayvin Training

I am a trainer and the author of Social Media Evolution. I teach business owners to use social media, their website and online profile to create maximum exposure, attract more customers and generate sales. No jargon here! Just plain and simple english giving clear and actionable instructions.

Mayvin Training

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Selina Shapland

Selina Shapland , Founder, Administrator, Writer and Entrepreneur at Selina Shapland

Francine, what a great article! Thanks so much for those tips. I got a lot out of what you have taken the time to write. I particularly liked 'Get Click Happy!' I had laugh at the title of that tip and found myself thinking about all the times I have jumped in, clicked and just seen what happened. I agree, don't over think Social Media. Have fun and engage, engage, engage!

Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang , Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Loved this article Francine, also very valid points. I also want to add the conversation tone to this article is just perfect for social media :)

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