How savvy is your market about social networking?

I’m going to tell you something so shocking you’ll plotz (that’s Yiddish for burst or explode):

There are college-educated adults right here in the U.S. who have never heard of such social networking channels as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Honest.

Those of us who are acclimated to these sites, as well as similar sites, assume that almost everyone is using them.

No so.

The other day at a high school career fair I staffed a table about jobs in marketing. I discussed with teens how to connect with others in the industry and participate in conversations about where the industry is headed, where the jobs are, etc.

None of the kids had heard of LinkedIn.

Since I was surprised, I mentioned this to some teachers.

And even more surprisingly, they didn’t know what LinkedIn is either.

When I got home and did some research, I learned that you have to be at least 18 years old to sign up for LinkedIn.

OK, that perhaps explains the kids (though I had believed that kids today are born knowing everything there is to know about the internet). But it doesn’t explain why the teachers, especially guidance counselors, weren’t familiar with it.

Along the same lines, I am astounded at how many seemingly computer-literate people don’t know what Twitter is. They may have heard the word but have no idea what it does.

This means that if we intend to use these channels for marketing our services, we have to know what kinds of people are using them.

For instance, many in my target market of the newly unemployed are much less knowledgeable about how to interact online with possible hirers (for either full-time or freelance) than I would have guessed. The same may be true for your market.

That’s why it is so important to casually ask friends, acquaintances and others with whom we network about their social networking habits. Our personal experience may not be typical so we should track this kind of info on an ongoing basis.

We can’t assume that we are typical for our age, community or profession. And such erroneous assumptions can lead to ineffective marketing.

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2 responses to “How savvy is your market about social networking?

  1. Isn’t Linkedin only for professional and business people? I tried joining once when it was new, it would let me build correct profile because I was retired. Maybe I’ll try it again.

  2. Actually, I don’t know the answer to your question.

    But here’s another question that may be helpful: Is LinkedIn worth the bother if you aren’t actively engaged in a profession or business? Something else like Facebook may be a more worthwhile use of your time. Don’t know for sure … just thinking aloud.

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