Acing the Test: What it Takes to Influence College Students
College campuses are constantly buzzing with classes, group meetings, Greek Life functions, street fairs, clubs, concerts and other social gatherings. College towns never sleep and students are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest.
The college environment can be a gold mine of eager, trend-starting consumers, but getting their attention is not a trivial task. If you can capture it, brand awareness on a college campus can have a huge impact. That’s where public relations comes in. Here are a few tactics to help successfully leverage the college audience:
- Social Media: If you’re not promoting your brand on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram already, get started. Social media is the simplest and most cost-effective way to reach and engage with the college demographic. But one-size-fits-all content won’t work here. It’s critical that you know which platforms are relevant for your campaign and you speak the language of today’s student. Every platform is different and you should have a customized execution strategy.
- Brand Ambassadors: Leaders and influencers are abundant on college campuses. They’re the fraternity and sorority presidents, the club managers, and the star athletes, to name a few. These “campus celebrities,” as they are often referred to, have already earned the attention of their fellow students and anything they say or do will not go unnoticed. Hire them. Train them. Give them “swag.” It doesn’t take a lot to capitalize on their highly visible role and your PR team can help you identify them and come up with the most effective strategy.
- Contests, Giveaways and Other Creative Programs: This is where all the other outlined tactics come together. Create a syllabus for your brand ambassadors outlining objectives and a few recommended ideas. For example, work with your PR team to organize a competition that leverages Greek chapters’ philanthropic efforts.
A college campaign can be an extremely effective PR program, but volume and execution are crucial. At Karbo Com, we have a college marketing team experienced in effectively reaching and influencing the college market. We work with clients to develop a customized implementation strategy that will garner the audience you need to be successful, without over committing yourself to the point where you’ll need to focus more on troubleshooting than growth. Once you’ve planned, trained and launched successfully, you’ll soon have the Blue Devils, Jayhawks, Ducks, Spartans, Bears and Gators backing your brand.
Emily Carey, Account Coordinator, @emclaca