As the world shifts to social media, your youth marketing tactics should as well. Generation Z looks for the recommendations of other Post-Millennials before making purchasing decisions. Hearing a brand's message from a peer group is much more effective than hearing it from the brand itself. This is what is known as “influencer marketing.” Influencer marketing relies on the authenticity of a brands’ super-fans to share a genuine brand message that would otherwise be lost if delivered through traditional advertising channels.
Influencer marketing to today’s college youth relies heavily on social media channels. Partnering with a YouTube star or an Insta-blogger popular among college students can create a direct line of communication with your brand to their fan bases. Having these popular social media stars give their honest opinion about your product or service resonates with today’s youth. You don't always have to use "stars." Often times, you can identify campus influencers as well. These "micro influencers" can pack a powerful punch as well. Replicating this model across multiple campuses can be just as effective. Influencer marketing allows brands to take advantage of the power of word-of-mouth recommendations that flow freely on campus. Word-of-mouth sway has proved to wield a 37% higher retention rate than regular paid advertising (source).
Take this example: 50 influencers posted a photo of themselves to Instagram wearing a Lord & Taylor dress all on the same day. The posts generated up to 13,000 likes on a single Instagram post. The dress promptly sold out by the end of the weekend and helped Lord & Taylor accomplish a bigger goal of introducing their Design Lab Collection.
From left, Instagrammers Cara Van Brocklin (@caraloren), Rachel Lynch (@IHateBlonde) and Jessica Ricks (@hapatime). Photos via Instagram
Here are some other things to consider while spending your social media budget for 2017:
- Ninety-four percent of those who used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective.
- Influencer marketing boosts your search engine ranking. User-generated social posts account for 25% of the search results for the world’s top 20 brands.
- It’s targetable and trackable, allowing you to tailor your message to the audience that you are trying to reach, no matter how big or small.
- Marketers overwhelmingly said Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram were their most important platforms for influencer endeavors.
- Use your digital ad creative to amplify what is working organically, and serve those ads at the campus level.
- Use campus advertising, guerrilla marketing, and campus events to drive engagement in the real world to build your influencer funnel.