by Joseph Jones February 16, 2024

How Will Social Media Curfews Disrupt Your Marketing?

Sorry marketers, but you may need to rethink your current social media marketing strategy. 

No, there isn’t a new social media platform shaking up the market; in March of 2023, Utah made history by being the first state in the nation to implement a curfew on social media access for children and teenagers. This move is part of comprehensive reforms addressing the risks associated with harmful content on platforms like TikTok and others. 

With the laws going into effect in March 2024 — which is coming up quickly — it’s important to take a step back and look into how these laws will impact your business from a marketing perspective. 

What Does The Utah Law on Social Media Prohibit?

There are two laws that were signed by Utah governor, Spencer Cox. 

The first law prohibits minors from logging into social media accounts — TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and others — between 10:30 P.M. and 6:30 A.M. without their parent or guardian’s permission. On top of that, minors will not be able to create new social media accounts without permission. 

The second law prohibits companies from using “designs or features” that may cause addiction among minors. It’s unclear what this means, and it can be confusing for marketers to know what kind of ads, for example, would infringe this law. 

Other States Could Implement a Social Media Curfew

Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri aims to leverage the recently enacted laws in Arkansas and Utah, which restrict children’s social media usage, to build momentum for the establishment of nationwide regulations aimed at mitigating digital risks for individuals under the age of 16.

Other states are also considering implementing laws similar to the Utah curfew law, including Arkansas, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas. Even California passed a law in 2022 that increased privacy protections for children online.

What This Means For Your Marketing Strategy

Under Utah law, social media strategies are going to need some serious reworking. 

Unfortunately, this can complicate your marketing efforts not just by narrowing the audience you can target between 10:00 P.M. and 6:30 A.M., but also by restricting what your ads can look like, per the second law on “addicting designs and features.”

You’ll Need To Adjust Marketing Budgets

More money today is being pumped into advertising to kids, and digital channels are playing a bigger part in this trend.

With eye-catching colors, quirky designs, and familiar characters from popular kids’ shows, advertising to children (people under the age of 18) hit a spending spree of 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in the United States in 2022. A whopping two-thirds of this cash was splashed on digital media, perfectly catering to what kids love.

With social media Utah laws targeting these platforms and digital media, you’ll likely need to spend elsewhere when it comes to your ad budgets on social media and targeting young teens and kids.

Other Ways To Tailor Your Marketing To Utah Curfew Laws

With new laws like these, it’s up to marketers to get creative with their campaigns. Aside from redistributing your budget, you can also try some of the following:

  • Diversify Marketing Channels: Explore alternative marketing channels beyond social media to reach your target audience. Utilize email marketing, influencer partnerships, or traditional advertising methods to maintain visibility.
  • Leverage Parental Engagement: Since the Utah curfew laws involve parental consent, focus on engaging with parents. Develop strategies to make your products or services appealing to parents, ensuring they are aware and supportive of your brand.
  • Create Educational Content: Develop informative and educational content that aligns with the values of responsible online usage for minors. Position your brand as one that respects and prioritizes the well-being of young users.
  • Build a Strong Online Presence: Strengthen your online presence through a well-designed website, engaging blog content, and search engine optimization (SEO). This can help compensate for potential limitations on social media marketing.
  • Explore Influencer Marketing Beyond Social Media: Collaborate with influencers who have a strong presence outside of social media platforms. This can include influencers in blogs, podcasts, or other digital platforms that are not affected by the curfew laws.
  • Monitor Legal Developments: Stay on top of legal developments related to social media curfew laws. Be prepared to adjust your strategies accordingly as regulations evolve, ensuring compliance with the latest legal requirements.

Governor Cox has stated that with the laws still not in place, they have ample time to nail them down, so there are sure to be changes by the time they’re enacted.

  • Implement Geotargeting: If applicable, use geotargeting to focus your marketing efforts on regions outside of areas covered by the social media curfew laws. This can help you continue reaching your target audience without violating local regulations.

As we learned, more states are open to the idea of implementing similar laws, so researching audiences in other states isn’t a bad idea — bonus points if you have the resources to go international.

  • Engage in Community Partnerships: Foster partnerships with local communities, schools, or organizations that align with your brand values. Engaging in community-oriented initiatives can positively impact your brand perception and create alternative avenues for promotion.
  • Encourage User-Generated Content: Encourage users to generate content related to your brand. This can create a buzz around your products or services and is not restricted by social media curfew laws.
  • Offer Offline Experiences: Consider hosting offline events or experiences that allow for brand engagement outside of the digital realm. This can be an effective way to connect with your audience without relying solely on social media.

These are just some broad tips you can use to pivot your strategies; we have more where that came from, though. 

Let’s Regroup 

While the laws are coming from a place of good intentions, they will affect how you go about your marketing, especially if your brand’s target audience is young teens and kids.

At Disruptive, we know how to pivot when the market sees significant changes. If you’re worried about how the Utah curfew could affect your company, get in touch with us today. We’ll create new strategies that will help your business navigate these new challenges.

  • Marketing

  • Paid social ads

  • Social Media

Joseph Jones

Joseph Jones

Joseph is a fitness fanatic who found his way into SEO through trial and error. A wizard, a dog parent, and a Californian turned Coloradoan, he loves psychology as much as learning new marketing tactics.

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