Paper ads and commercials might have worked for college students a couple of decades ago, but today’s generation of college kids have needs that require a whole new medium. This is especially true considering most college-aged students see paper as wasteful and hate commercials so much that they’re spending money to avoid them. With so much to be had from this audience, making that social media connection with students, is no longer much of an option for existing businesses. For startups this is doubly true.
To get your startup off the ground meet your target audience where they’re already at: social media.
98% of online US adults aged 18-24 use social media. Considering that theaverage age of today’s college student lies within this range, there’s virtually no reason your startup shouldn’t be on social media. Especially if it’s trying to target college students. The fact is, if your brand isn’t accessible to students onFacebook, Twitter, orInstagram and others, college students aren’t going to care let alone be engaged.
Get your brand in the loop on what your target audience is interested in by signing up for their social media networks. Channels like Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat are the most popular channels being used by today’s college students. If you can tap into these sites you can harness a better understanding of their interests and concerns. This understanding will be vital to marketing and fine-tuning your product so that it matches your target audience’s needs. Truth be told, if you can’t connect with today’s students by signing online, you’ll never be able to connect with them, period.
Exchange Coupons For Likes And Shares
Think about how many times you’ve been asked to “like” a company’s page on Facebook in exchange for a coupon or gift card. If you’ve ever clicked like, claimed a coupon and then quickly clicked “unlike”, consider yourself on par with most of today’s college kids. The truth is, most companies will give out incentives for social media page likes and follows only to find they’ve been swiftly cut out of the mix again once their coupons have been retrieved.
Avoid wasting your time and money by becoming the brand that is notorious for offering coupon codes and other goods when a student likes posted content. Remember, college students are mostly known for having zero money to spend. But, if you can offer them a coupon each month, not only will they not unlike your page, they’ll buy your products. If offering promotions in exchange for likes doesn’t seem like an option your startup can afford, consider implementing a common and effective strategy that retailers like Amazon andShopify use. Promote already in process deals and make users aware of new and affordable products.
Get a Hashtag
Get the word out about your band by creating a social media database via hashtag. Pick out a hashtag that is 1) unique and 2) relatable to your brand. Note: choose a hashtag that’s different from your brand name. More obvious hashtags that simply work to promote brand names will likely be forgotten about and dropped when students post images and content on their social channels. Once you’ve picked an appealing hashtag, put it on display at a storefront and use it on social media as well. Also, consider offering students coupons for first time use of their hashtag. This way, students feel the payoff of promoting your hashtag to their social group.
It’s true, social media is all about vanity and a huge part of that for ordinary followers is having proof that they themselves are a popular brand. Throw your target audience a bone and follow them on their favorite social channels. Most followers will typically follow a brand back to ensure that they themselves don’t become “unfollowed”. What’s more, they’ll appreciate your part in raising their online credibility. Just by simply following you back, followers will have access to promotions that pop up on their timeline. What’s more, they’ll likely give them more of their attention.
Comment On Their Posts
Social media users love to have their posts commented on by brands. Consider commenting on their posts about theireveryday college life obstacles. So, the next time you see a student follower tweeting about a relevant topic, comment. Consider you own a bakery and your student follower has just tweeted about how they’re hungry at the library. Tweet back at them and remind them that not only do you make great comfort food, you also deliver. Don’t forget to add your hashtag. Even if a follower doesn't’ respond to a tweet or come running to your spot at that moment, they’ll likely have you on their mind the next time they’re ready to eat.