College Advertising: Create an Event or Contest that College Students can Truly Experience

College Advertising Create an Event or Contest that College Students can Truly Experience

College students need a reason to stay connected on your social media sites; simple sweepstakes—though great for accruing followers—will not suffice in reaching college students.

A recent Adweek article, Social Media Reach Helps, but Quality Counts More, states that “while having a large following on Facebook theoretically increases a brand’s reach, big numbers alone won’t build a brand.”[1] This is especially true among the college demographic, as they require constant engagement that they find valuable.

When I was a student, Pollo Tropical had a college Facebook advertising campaign set up in front of their location in the student union. If you liked their Facebook page, they would give you a free dessert. Of course, this attracted a great number of students; as everyone knows college students cannot resist free food. However, was it an effective college marketing plan? I would say no. A few of the students ahead of me, said that once they received their free dessert they were going to unlike them; the incentive of staying connected with Pollo Tropical ended the moment they accepted their dessert.

A company needs to build value when amassing fans through social media marketing and focus on creating meaningful content that students can contribute to and engage with. Simple sweepstakes provide incentives for students to become fans or followers, but alone will not suffice in reaching college students. College students need to know why they should stay linked with your company.

Interactive contests and events can help with your college advertising campaign. Having photo contests allows students to express their creativity and sense of humor while connecting with your brand. They will share their photos with their friends, increasing traffic to your site. College students love to express their opinions and show their personality; having a contest in which they can describe their experience with your brand—through words, music, videos, or photos—allows them to meaningfully reflect on your product and what it means to them. It lets them experience your brand in a totally new way.

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[1] McMains, Andrew. “Social Media Reach Helps, But Quality Counts More”. Adweek. 13 March 2013. <>


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