A commercial comes on, what do you do? Get up and walk away, fast forward because no one watches live TV anymore, or ignore it while you talk to your family or play on your phone. This is the problem all brands, regardless of size, are running into. How, then, do you reach your target audience in a way that won’t be easily tuned out?
Too few people watch commercials, listen to ads on the radio, read ads in print and 47% of online consumers have ad blockers. However, influencer marketing — a cross between a testimonial and a subtle product mention — is one way companies are reaching people.
An example of influencer marketing is when Old Navy partnered with a social media influencer who has 1.3 million Instagram followers and 2 million YouTube subscribers. They created videos for Instagram, Twitter and YouTube that showed how she styles Old Navy outfits for various holiday parties.
Where celebrities always seem a little too polished for regular people to identify with, this campaign offered real world tips from someone viewers considered to be like them. In fact, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers said they relate to YouTubers for than traditional celebrities.
In my daily life, I encounter influencer marketing all over the internet, but I hardly notice it is marketing. Whether my favorite YouTube commentator takes a brief pause to talk about his sponsors or I check out a new Instagram account because my favorite food blogger has taken it over for the week, I am being marketed to with little to no annoyance.
How is this useful for a college store that can’t afford to pay popular YouTube and Instagram stars to mentions your sales or buyback? Recruit the people around you to do it for free. The biggest influencers of student behavior on a college campus are other students. Recruit student employees or organizations to do student takeovers of your social media, like the University of Edinburgh did. A “takeover” is allowing a person or a small group of people to post to your social media account for a short length of time. Be involved as little or as much as you like in the process.
Student takeovers give your store a voice and personality it might not otherwise have. It also gives a less filtered, more honest view of life on campus — which is interesting and appealing for other students to follow. However, the type of social media you use does matter. Chances are you wouldn’t get much impact from a Facebook takeover since students are on it less as their parents are on it more. Right now, Instagram is one of the most effective social media platforms to engage with a target audience (need an Instagram plan? Read more here and here).
How to host an Instagram social media takeover
- Choose your guest host. Look for someone who knows the platform and would add value to your page. Students are a great choice for several reasons. Many are already familiar with Instagram, they have a built-in audience and they will speak directly to other students. Student organizations like the student council or student senate work well too. However, don’t limit yourself solely to students. Does your school have a highly visible mascot or a beloved teacher or administrator? They would also be great choices for a takeover. The goal is to entertain and engage. Check out the Colorado State University student who created an Instagram account for a stuffed animal of the school’s mascot.
Tip: Pictures are great, but don’t limit takeovers to just that. Instagram stories and live videos could also be a big draw. Be open to new ideas
- Promote the takeover. Let people know it’s coming. Post about it on social media, put a sign in the store and help build excitement about someone else running your page for a week. This excitement can work twofold. First, it will create interest in others to also do a takeover. Second, a well thought out takeover can increase your page’s fanbase and drive up engagement
- Share expectations. The one part about takeovers that make businesses the most nervous is not knowing what the person will post. Find a level of participation you are comfortable with. You can let someone take over your account with full access or send images and captions to you for you post. No matter which one you choose, be clear about what type of language and posts are not allowed
Setting up a takeover is simple and will have an impact on building your store’s social media image. For more information check out Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Takeovers.