Gen Y Isn’t Leaving Social Media – Are You Ready For Them?

A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project makes for interesting reading on Gen Y and their presence in social media/social networking.

Pewter Internet Gen Y social sharing survey

Using the responses from a cross-section of 895 technology stakeholders and experts, including the likes of Clay Shirky and Jeff Jarvis, the survey shows their belief that Gen Y won’t be leaving social media anytime soon. This is in contrast to various opinions on why Gen Y isn’t using social media.

According to the Pewter survey, 67% of respondents agreed that Gen Y will still be using social media and be active on networks by 2020. Not only that, but their connectivity will have grown and, even in parenthood, they’ll be active and open members of various social networks.

29% disagreed, saying Gen Y will have outgrown their current online use (including gaming) as new commitments take up their time.

The reasoning for those 67% believing Gen Y will continue to grow their connectivity is the very reason many detractors use against social networking – its openness and ability to share information. Couple that with the benefits of growing brand reputation and it makes sense for Gen Y to continue being active users in the space (and continuing to grow in uptake).

So what does this mean for you, as a business owner?

The obvious answer is that you need to take a look at your current approach and see if you’re ready for this huge potential audience (for example, half of YouTube’s users are under 20).

  • Does your company have Gen Y employees on your social media team?
  • Can you employ a Gen Y community manager to communicate your message?
  • Are you social mapping to find out where your Gen Y customers are?
  • Is your sales message adapting to also include Gen Y tastes and needs?
  • Are you taking part in dedicated chats like #u30pro to understand what Gen Y feels about business, careers and more?
  • Are you reading blogs from the likes of Matt Chevy, Lauren Fernandez, David Spinks and Teresa Basich (amongst others) to understand this audience better?

While you might not be targeting Gen Y at the minute, they will be your customers of the future. Maybe it’s time to make sure you’re ready for that future now.

You can download the full Pew Internet report here.

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