Companies have relied of Facebook ads as a way to take advantage of this social media medium on college campuses but just because it is the ‘safest’ way to use Facebook doesn’t mean it’s the most effective.
Many large companies who embark on college marketing know they need to tie Facebook into their college marketing strategy which we certainly agree with, as Facebook is in very high demand among 18-22 year olds. The question is how to effectively incorporate it.
Facebook offers traditional online ads similar to banners ads on the margin of the facebook platform. Companies and agencies like this type of approach because it is familiar to them, they can gather (or at least they think they can gather) traditional type metrics to analyze and everyone will go on their merry way. The problem is that college students (and most people in general) do not go on Facebook to look at ads; they are not interested in engaging with online ads and it’s just another example of students’ being bombarded with digital ads, while they are trying to enjoy an online experience.
Don’t believe me? Just ask GM who just pulled a 10 million dollar ad buy with Facebook on the eve of Facebook going public. A recent Wall Street Journal article, “GM Says Facebook Ads Don’t Pay Off” by Sharon Terlep, Suzanne Vranica and Shayndi Raice, points out that:
- “The move by GM, one of the largest advertisers in the U.S., puts a spotlight on an issue that many marketers have been raising: whether ads on Facebook help them sell more products.”
- “GM will continue to promote its products on Facebook, but without paying the social-media company, the GM official and other people familiar with the matter said. Many companies maintain free Facebook pages.”
The proof is clearly in the pudding in that traditional Facebook ads are not as effective as the ad community had hoped from a traditional standpoint. The effectiveness of Facebook, relative to college marketing, lies in the more guerilla style marketing versus traditional marketing.
Here are a couple ways to incorporate Facebook college marketing in a more effective style:
- Free company page that will allow Facebook users to visit and follow your brand’s page at their own discretion. A free Facebook page can also serve as a landing page for students to visit via a ‘call to action’ by other types of media distributed on campus.
- Facebook Direct Connections – Utilize NAM Youth Brand Ambassador to create word of mouth viral marketing on campus by having them reach out and message their friends who are already connected to Facebook. This approach takes advantage of what Facebook was actually meant to be, a way for people to connect with each other, communicate and share information. This approach also taps into the concept that students trust their friends when it comes to consumer decisions. Having students give recommendations to each other while using Facebook as the communication medium incorporates two effective college marketing mediums simultaneously.
Incorporating an effective social media plan in college marketing takes some ‘outside of the box’ thinking and may require companies to step outside their comfort zone a bit but there is opportunity for the taking in the college market for those who are willing to take the leap.
Contact NAM Youth Marketing to learn more about college Facebook advertising and other college advertising mediums.