If your child is the kind to express interest in running a “business,” you naturally want to see them succeed. Some children set up lemonade stands or sell candy on sidewalks, others might sell handmade crafts, older teens sometimes mow lawns, pet sit, or something else—but whatever they do, marketing is essential for attracting customers.
A few kids will take their businesses more seriously than others, so it’s perfectly fine if they are content with seasonal jobs, but children who are genuinely interested in entrepreneurship will need your help. A young student does not exactly have the budget for a TV commercial, but there is a free resource that the both of you are already familiar with: social media.
Pick the right platforms
Decide what social media channels you will use. Consider the demographics when doing so: If your child intends to do business with people their own age, then pick the sites that their peers are more likely to be on. However, if their products or services are aimed at adults—you might be hoping their cuteness will influence other parents in your area—then remember that Facebook and YouTube have wide user age ranges. Pew Internet reports that 68 percent of US adults say they use Facebook, and 73 percent say they used YouTube in 2018, but platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are more popular amongst 18-24 year-olds.
Keep in mind that not every platform lets children use them. Facebook asks that account users be at least 13 years old, so if your child is below this age, then you will most likely be doing much of the work for them.
Compose a strategy
Because your child or teen is most likely still in school and does not have time to manage an abundance of clients, your social media strategy does not have to be intricate. Nevertheless, it is still practical to have one. Will you post pictures of them working on Facebook and tag friends and family? Will you send out tweets to people in your community? Will you manage a LinkedIn account on their behalf and “network” with other entrepreneurs?
The nature of your child’s business is a factor, too. If your child is mowing lawns, then you should exercise a more localized approach. Join community Facebook groups or post pictures of them working on Instagram, making a note of where they are. If your kid is selling crafts on sites like Etsy, though, then e-commerce means you can (and need to) reach out to a broader audience.
Listen to them
While you may know the business world better than your children do, do not ignore their voices when it comes to their social media strategy. This business is not yours. You also grew up in a different time, so there are linguistic and cultural subtleties that your child will be more familiar with than you are. If you try to use terms that you do not fully understand, or reference events that are wrong to exploit, then you will be responsible for driving away customers.
Protect them from danger
Social media can be a dangerous place, and this fact is one of the primary reasons why you should be involved in your child’s marketing strategy. As a parent, you want to protect them from harm and probably already monitor their social media usage to some extent if they are young. If you are uncomfortable with announcing to the world where you and your child reside, or if you prefer not to post images, it is your place to decide.
Be available when it comes to interacting with customers. Your teen will probably need you less, but if someone wants to place a custom order on Etsy with your elementary-age child, then you need to be in the room. Remember to teach them about online dangers and how, while social media is an excellent communication tool, it is also subject to attacks and interacting with shady individuals. Perhaps you can manage your child’s social media strategy while they are too young to do it themselves and slowly relinquish control as they get older.
Your young entrepreneur is not quite ready for A/B testing or paying for advertisements, but there is something no one is ever too young to do: tell a story. Regardless of industry, you and your child can tell potential customers why you are doing what you are and what you both hope to accomplish with it. The best brands have compelling and empathetic narratives, so your child’s business will have an easier time finding customers if people see value in helping them out.
Your child can have fun running a business, and you can help them reach as many people as they are capable of handling. How will you use social media to market your child’s endeavors?