A student studies alone in a lounge.
Share this article

How to use social media to reach niche markets- Part 3- College Students

We’ve talked about a couple of different target markets now, but what about reaching the ever elusive college student? Unlike military families and teachers, college students are more likely to be early adopters when it comes to social media. Knowing this app designers and developers have created tools that are specifically for the college student market like Yik Yak and Blend. 75,000 daily active users had signed up for Blend just three months after launch. On Blend students share their photos, receive snaps from other users, and are rewarded with free gifts from Blend sponsors. Yik Yak allows users to anonymously post messages if they are within 1.5 miles of one of 1,300 college campuses supported by the app. It makes the list of the top 10 apps most downloaded in the United States.

Snapchat, which is also relatively new on the social media scene, is used by 77% of college students on a daily basis. Unlike Yik Yak and Blend, Snapchat is not specifically for college students, which means brands can join the conversation. According to Mashable, 73% of college age Snapchat users would open a Snap from a company they know. Nearly half would open it even if they’d never heard of the brand. Instagram is another photo-based app, and it’s in the top 3 most popular social media apps among college students. In Nov 2013, over half of college students had an Instagram account.

While many social media experts and journalists are proclaiming that Facebook is uncool among college kids these days, 95% of students still have an active account. That number may be on the decline, but Facebook is still the most widely used social network among college students. Students don’t post on Facebook with the frequency that they’re posting on Snapchat, but they are still very active on the platform and 40% check Facebook 6 or more times a day according to Study Breaks College Media. 90% of college students think it’s ok for brands to post on Facebook, and 42% appreciate seeing deals in their news feeds. 56% will follow a retailer to participate in a giveaway, but only 9% are likely to click on a Facebook ad.

Twitter is also still a place where students go to chat and post their thoughts and observations in 140 characters or less. 46% post on Twitter at least once a day. According to our own survey, 83% of college students suggest that retailers reach them using Facebook or Twitter.

If your goal is to reach college students, it’s not going to be as simple as buying Facebook ads or sponsored tweets.

  • You’re going to need to interact with students in real time on social media networks and create messaging that is interesting and relevant to them. Exclusive student discounts are always popular.
  • As evidenced by the popularity of Snapchat, Instagram, and Blend, students enjoy taking and sharing photos. Strong visual imagery is going to be an important part of any college marketing campaign. Keep text short and snappy.
  • It is also especially important that student marketing campaigns are optimized for mobile. 83% of college students have smartphones, and 75% of those access social media sites and apps from their phone.

Social media is an effective tool in every marketer’s tool box, as long as you know which networks appeal to your target audience. These tips will make your social media marketing campaigns for the military community, educators, and college students more effective.


Photo credit: Flickr user COD Newsroom

Share this article