7 Things Teenagers Can Teach You About Social Media Success

A good way to decipher social media is to learn from young people for whom it is no mystery at all.

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By John Boitnott

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There's no guarantee of success on social media. Whether you want to generate a huge following on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Snapchat, there's no magic tool or course you can take to raise you to the level of the web's biggest stars.

What you can do is learn from many of them. Often these are folks who were born into the social media revolution, and were still in high school when they began their path to success. It's these teenagers I'm talking about today. Here are seven things that teens can teach you about performing exceptionally at social media.

1. You don't have to be a professional.

A lot of people think they have to be a professional marketer to find success in social media. But teenagers have taught us that is simply not true. You can find examples of teens with millions of followers, who rose to fame without knowing the ins and outs of marketing automation or finer details like the optimal time to post to Facebook.

Related Book: Tweet Naked: A Bare-All Social Media Strategy for Boosting Your Brand and Your Business by Scott Levy

2. A few good followers make a world of difference.

Everyone wishes that their random funny video would magically receive millions of views on YouTube, and have them instantly skyrocketed to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, many believe they need a huge following or have the backing of an established brand in order for that to happen.

But do you think Joshua Holz, the voice and cameraman behind "Damn Daniel," had a huge following before the video became an overnight success? Of course not! But what he did have were a few good friends who got the chain started. From there, his hilarious content did the rest.

3. You can't really teach social media.

Teaching social media is like trying to teach someone to be charismatic. You can do it for some, but most people are simply not going to succeed. That's because social media success is what you make of it. There are no rules that say if you do everything right that you'll gain a massive following, or create the next viral sensation. Most of the time, those things just happen naturally with the right personality, as well as hard work and patience.

Related: YouTube Star PewDiePie Posts Brilliant Reply to Those Outraged by His $7 Million Income (VIDEO)

4. Be yourself.

People can sense fakers on social media. Time is at such a premium that people learn quickly who appears authentic and who doesn't. Whether it's through video or other formats, there's a good chance you'll be ignored if you're not showing authenticity. This is a big reason why a lot of teens succeed on social media: they don't think about changing themselves to suit a specific image. They simply put themselves out there.

5. Become obsessed.

"I am not talented, I am obsessed" - Conor McGregor

There's no doubting that many teens are obsessed with social media, many to a fault. But that commitment to social media is admirable. They use the obsession to fuel their hard work and dedication to their niche.

Related: YouTube's Biggest Star Is Getting His Own Network From Disney

6. It's important to find your niche.

Speaking of niches, find yours! Whether you're obsession is make-up, shoes, technology, celebrity gossip, video games -- there's room for success on social media in any and every niche. Two great examples of teens who took their passions and turned them into successful social media ventures are Christian Bright (Bull1TRC) and Marques Brownlee (MKBHD).

Bright began posting awkward, low-quality sneaker reviews to his BULL1TRC channel on YouTube over six years ago. Brownlee took a different route, posting awkward, low-quality tech reviews to his channel, MKBHD, over seven years ago.

Both were clearly obsessed with their niche, didn't pretend to be someone else and were not professional, yet they succeeded because they kept going, learning and evolving. Now, they are professionals whose careers are making videos about their passions.

7. Get to know your audience.

Teenage social media stars are hyper-aware of how their audience feels about them and their content. They browse comments to discover sentiment, compare metrics on different pieces of content, and watch others in their niche to seek out up-and-coming trends. Sounds a lot like what real marketers do, right?

Don't over think social media. Few teenagers do, and that's one of the top reasons why they gain followers and develop strong personal brands. If you get a sense for how they do it, you may just find a similar path to success yourself.

John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

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