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Tapping Into Teens: Strategies for Building an Online Community

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  1. …A Division of Tapping Into Teens: Strategies for Building an Online Community Kevin Lonnie – President / KL Communications, Inc. March 27, 2007 – Youth Marketing Mega Event

  2. A Two Part Story PREMISE: • You’re looking to build or augment a proprietary community of young folks • Part One • Recruiting who we want • Part Two • Keeping them

  3. THE PROBLEM DATA QUALITY • Reaching the elusive teen • Lead crazy, multi-tasked lives • How do you get them to join an ongoing community? • Where do you find these people?

  4. THE CHALLENGE Online Recruitment • Finding teens in their native online habitats • Social networking sites: Facebook, YouTube, MySpace • Music websites: iTunes, Pandora, ???

  5. THE CHALLENGE Are we speaking to who we think we are? • Impostor is a digital Proteus who changes his persona whenever it suits his purposes. • That 21 year old co-ed from Arizona State you met in a discussion forum may, in fact, be a retired steel worker from Pittsburgh. • Impostor will claim to be black, white, rich, poor, young, old, straight or gay. • Impostor's requisite imagination and good writing skills can make him a formidable enemy. • Once uncovered, Impostor always flees the field, but he may return in another form - you just never know...

  6. THE BRILLIANT SOLUTION • We would recruit them in person and immediately offer them money to join our community • This way, instead of us being down here and the kids being up there • We’d wind up on the same page

  7. THE BRILLIANT SOLUTION • It was a brilliant plan, we were already working on our acceptance speech for the online research awards, but there was just one nagging detail… • It Didn’t Work!!! • Hokey Smokes! What went wrong??? • Now What Do We Do???

  8. THE BRILLIANT SOLUTION Take 2

  9. THE BRILLIANT SOLUTION Take 2 • Recruit them directly, but in a more appropriate venue, like events, concerts • Weed out mercenaries • Got out of survey mode, went into full blown recruitment mode • Visually screened and recruited as many folks as possible • Minimal incentive at time of recruitment • Incentive would be administered online after completion of registration/profiler survey

  10. Direct Recruitment • So we went to a music festival to recruit teens • Toms River Fest in New Jersey met our target demographic • We set up a booth at the festival so we could recruit new members directly • Also allowed us to recruit kids under the age of 13 as long as they were accompanied by a parent

  11. THE PORTAL CONCEPT • Appeal to their desire to “connect” • Supporting a cause: tap into teen activism and volunteerism • Tie the incentive to something that was earned and not just handed out

  12. 2006 Music Festival A Few of The Members We Recruited . . .

  13. 2006 Music Festival A Few of The Members We Recruited This Time . . .

  14. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  15. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  16. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  17. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  18. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  19. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  20. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  21. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  22. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  23. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  24. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  25. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  26. 2006 Music Festival Who We Recruited

  27. 2006 Music Festival • Advantages of On-Site Recruiting • Establish a personal connection with panel members

  28. 2006 Music Festival • Advantages of On-Site Recruiting • Establish a personal connection with panel members • Introduce an element of excitement and buzz

  29. 2006 Music Festival • Advantages of On-Site Recruiting • Establish a personal connection with panel members • Introduce an element of excitement and buzz • Control sample quality

  30. 2006 Music Festival • Advantages of On-Site Recruiting • Establish a personal connection with panel members • Introduce an element of excitement and buzz • Control sample quality • Ability to videotape live interviews with new members

  31. 2006 Music Festival • Advantages of On-Site Recruiting “How do you listen to music?”

  32. 2006 Music Festival • Pitfalls of On-Site Recruiting – lessons learned the hard way • Keep the survey short and on-point

  33. 2006 Music Festival • Pitfalls of On-Site Recruiting – lessons learned the hard way • Keep the survey short and on-point • It’s not about the incentive – it’s about joining the panel (practicing delayed gratification)

  34. 2006 Music Festival • Pitfalls of On-Site Recruiting – lessons learned the hard way • Keep the survey short and on-point • It’s not about the incentive – it’s about joining the panel (practicing delayed gratification) • Tie motivation to more altruistic values (e.g. environment, volunteerism, CONNECTING) and stay away from mercenary motivations.

  35. We Got ThemNow How Do We Keep Them? • At the end of the recruitment process, respondents were asked why they decided to join • Cash, gifts, opinions of their peers? • This allowed us to customize our Welcome Letter, immediately elevating our relationship

  36. We Got ThemNow How Do We Keep Them? How teens communicate seems to change radically every 6 to 12 months, so I had a crazy proposition: • When creating online communities with teens, let them run the asylum • Design the look and feel of the community • Let them establish the rules of engagement • Choose topics areas, etc.

  37. We Got ThemNow How Do We Keep Them? • All the top teen web destinations are based on Web 2.0 interactivity • My Yahoo, My Space, YouTube, etc. • Any teen community, even one for market research purposes needs to understand content & personal interactivity are king • Allowing for customization • Keeping it liquid

  38. We Built Our Teen CommunityNow How Do We Use It? • A “Web on the Web” • A spider reacts to the slightest vibration on its web • We wanted the community to provide vision as well as act as a sounding board • Typical panels are “reactive” • We needed to better anticipate interest in new distribution & technology concepts • Identify Opportunities before your competitors • Sniff out new ideas/trends before your company would ever think of asking about it in a conventional survey

  39. Final Chord • An electronic copy of this presentation is available on the KLC website: • www.klcom.com