Having an understanding of what drives college students’ NEED to communicate with their fellow students and peers will drive your college viral marketing campaign. Use student influencers to spread the word online and on campus.
College VIRAL Marketing continues to increase dramatically as more students become connected through social media outlets and use other forms of technology. When it comes to the 18-24 target demographic, this is even more apparent as students display a tremendous word of mouth capability, especially amongst peers and social influencers. Having the right students spread your message on campus and through social media, can make your campaign go viral.
Any on campus college marketing campaign must identify strategy to ignite traditional college advertising mediums and turn them from simple word of mouth campaigns into fast-paced viral campaigns using peer-to-peer student marketing .
Here are my 4 recommendations to launch a college viral marketing effort and boost success on campus:
1. Giving away Exclusive FREE products and services that posess value (this is critical)
The incentive can be in the form of a free offer exclusive to students, a program or a video effort. The bottom line is that the offer MUST be of value and have interesting enough content to be deemed worthy of being passed along or shared with someone else. Coupons or samples are excellent mediums for creating buzz and driving more sales to point of purchase, but often times sampling will not lead to viral buzz alone. It must be connected or associated with a contest offer to create quality videos, the best video will be rewarded financially in some regard and their video shown on Youtube or some other social media outlet.
2. Make it easy for students to share with others
Content will not go viral if it cannot easily be shared amongst students and their peers. Therefore, it is imperative that multiple mediums be situated so content can be accessed. Such mediums include Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.
3. Reach students where they already communicate using existing networks
Reaching students where they already live, work and play increases your ability for your content to go viral and spread regionally or nationally. Having an understanding of how students interact with their networks is critical. Peer-to-peer college marketing, social influencers or college student brand ambassadors are an amazing way to spark discussion. These influencers are deemed trustworthy as is the content they share, as it’s coming from student to student versus corporate to student.
Having your message come from within the college community is imperative. Using mediums such as brand ambassadors, college postering or flyering, student sampling, classroom discussions or setting up tables for experiential demonstrations are vital. This allows the message to spread in a more natural way. Students repeatedly seeing and hearing the message on multiple channels and mediums will create an atmosphere for your brand on campus and online, helping your message become viral.
4. Understanding students desires, motivations and behaviors is key
Reaching college students today has changed significantly over the last 15 years but 1 thing that remains constant is that students wish to be viewed as cool, relevant, current, interesting, hip, leaders and trend setters acting on their terms and NOT YOURS. They strive to seek information and content that others will see as valuable, so that in the end, they will get credit for making something go viral or more to the point they will jump on the bandwagon if they see their friends sharing and engaging with content; they will want to be INCLUDED and take part in the conversation.
Facebook and Twitter represent a prime example of people and status updates per topic conversations. Therefore, join the conversation and understand that the need to communicate drives college viral marketing efforts.
If you are interested in how NAM Youth Marketing can help you reach the elusive college market, set up a college marketing consultation.