It’s no longer just about teens and tweens.

It’s a serious business and if you’re not at worst looking at it, then you’ll soon find yourself behind the pack.

I’m talking about the phenomenon of the ‘ naughties‘ that is…

social networking.

I can hear the groans from here already as some of you see the phrase but the reality is, your market isn’t getting older…it’s getting younger and with that transition you’ll need to find ways to attract a new kind of business.

In a world where it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get to your customers, new and innovative approaches need to be taken and it will be the pioneers that stand to gain the most at this time.

Jack in the box has had a fan page on Facebook for sometime now. Essentially it was to gain a better understanding of what could be achieved via this medium but we seem to have attracted 70+ fans without even trying and to a business that has no real appeal to the market that makes up Facebook.

More recently, we have entered the world of Twitter. Let me give you the inside run…this is the next big step in social networking. With the event of 3G iPhones in Australia coupled with ‘apps’ that allow you to update both your Twitter and Facebook status on the move, we’re going to see a whole new level of social integration in this country that is already sweeping both the US and the UK.

So how does this affect you?

Many of you may see this as totally unimportant and to be honest, some of you may be right. The fact still remains that unless you’re abreast of what’s happening, how can you possibly know if it could assist you or not.

The tween market is exceedingly difficult to attack these days. Newspapers and radio are low on the radar while more and more homes have subscription TV services which are cost restrictive for advertisers. The big three simply don’t work with these guys.

Fans and followers are the new trend and making your brand fashionable is essential if you wish to gain the loyalty of this demographic.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out over time and whether or not the social networking scene fades out like a piece of fashion or if it continues to be a stable aspect of people’s social diet. The key, in my belief, is the acceleration of mobile technology and its effect on social interaction. Good or bad, it may well be one of the strongest ways to market into the future.