You know your students better than anyone. Everything you need to know to reach them on social media is at your fingertips. Why guess at what platforms they are on when you can simply ask them as they come into the store. Start that dialogue with students and use it to offer them a service they want through your social media efforts. Today we are going to discuss how to determine where to find your audience and how to make your page an asset to them.
In general, Facebook is the better choice for an older audience — not necessarily college students. However, your school might have a lot of non-traditional students, and that may be where they are. Or maybe the majority are on Twitter. It doesn’t matter, just make sure you go where they already are.
Why does this matter?
Apart from the obvious reason of having potential customers be able to follow you, you will reach more of their friends too. When your audience is actively engaged, you gain what I call the web effect. If a consumer sees something and they like it or comment on it, that action is visible on their friends’ timelines — an endorsement for your store by someone they trust. That friend, who might not even follow your page, has the new awareness that your page exists and can like or comment on the post as well, starting the reaction again. Much like grass-roots marketing campaigns, this direct digital word of mouth can carry a message further and with more impact than a print advertisement. It is a less obvious form of influencer marketing.
However, if you choose to only be on Facebook despite the fact that most of the students are on Instagram, you might get some page likes from people who like to hear about sales or deals, but you probably won’t get interaction with your biggest customer base.
Check out part one of the Social Media Spectacular, explaining how algorithms work.
So, what do you need to know?
- What platform do students use?
Getting the answer to this is as easy as asking students informally or talking to your student employees. We all have our favorite social media platforms. Take direction from the students. Ask for their top three and keep an informal tally to give you an idea of what platform is most convenient for the majority of them.
- What do they want to see from you?
You want to fulfill students’ expectations. Get an idea of a couple different topics they would be interested in. This will give you a better idea of how to keep your fanbase engaged. Maybe they would like study tips, ways to save money, campus trivia or special offers. Whatever it is they are looking for, assess whether or not it is something your store can provide.
- What information would be most useful for students to have?
If your school has a lot of nontraditional or first-generation students, they might not know what they don’t know. It has been shown that first-generation pay more for their textbooks than any other group. Maybe offering information about the different options available to them and how they can better navigate college life would help build trust between the students and the store. Because both nontraditional and Gen Z students are highly career-minded, you might want to offer links to books and articles which offer great professional advice.
This week, develop a plan for how you and your employees will get to know your students as well as the types of information you can share with them. Next week the third, and final part of the social media spectacular will cover how to add variety to your social media content. If you missed the first week on understanding how the platforms work, check it out here.