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The digital youth … student recruitment or targeting teens

Teens connect via technology, a student recruitment opportunity.Student recruitment or targeting teens can be a challenge

When your job is to reach teens to invite them to discover your college, or introduce them to a new product or brand, there are channels you would expect to use, and there may be more to consider. A recent study by Forrester addressed not only the communication tools they use, but what they want to communicate on those platforms.

Student recruiters, take notice.

Forrester’s findings regarding these 12- to 17-year-olds highlight that they:

  • Are online all of the time. They have Internet access via computer and mobile phones (as expected!)
  • Are on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to post updates and to converse with friends, not to create content. They are less likely to blog or share thoughts and opinions in detail.
  • Use several social media sites; almost 75% of this group use Facebook; 40% use both Facebook and MySpace. And 17% use Twitter, partly because of the influence of celebrities who use Twitter.
  • Use social media to stay connected to friends. Only 25% of them trust brand communication on sites like Facebook. As Forrester put it: “They don’t want to be your friend on Facebook.”
  • Do not want brands to use social media to force themselves into their social groups; they prefer to see approval/brand relationships endorsed by friends in their circles.
  • Only 16% expect companies to use social media to interact with them.
  • 28% expect companies to listen, answer questions, or solve problems promptly when they initiate contact with brands. Kids’ trust has to be earned.
  • Social media sites like Facebook are used to post customer reviews. These conversations among friends yield great insights. And 74% of 12- to 17-year olds are more likely to post their ratings of products and services on social media platforms more than twice as much as on online sites dedicated for that purpose.

All these insights demonstrate that kids and teens are skeptical consumers.

digital youths: Why student recruitment today may require you to go online.They still continue to trust traditional media more than social media where brands are concerned. Smart partnering of traditional outlets with social media they’re attuned to is a huge plus for new marketing campaigns or attempts at student recruitment. In short: Kids want to be engaged — but on their terms.

This study (quoted from a posting on MarketingProfs) supports what we know from generational marketing studies … the Millennial perspective:

  • This generation is highly connected, very tech savvy
  • They want and expect straight talk and authenticity
  • They can be mistrustful of brands and don’t want to be sold
  • They are big networkers and communicators and use their technology to stay in communication

Thus using social media like Facebook to create a community, particularly one made up of the new freshman class entering a particular school, for student recruitment, makes sense. But offering coupons for a business on Facebook would not be effective.

Just another example where social media is only part of the story. It’s really about understanding your audience’s choices and how they use the media, not just which media they use. All in the name of effective marketing!

More insight on social media and tuning your  marketing to the generation you need to reach:

Want to talk about reaching your target audiences? And generating more response? Drop us an email or give us a call 866.363.4433.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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