How To Actually Reach Students Online

If you’re a teacher or higher ed administrator, you have probably tried to reach students online at some point. It’s not easy and that’s because students are smart and a bit paranoid. They can smell an adult, marketer, or school official from a mile away. Never fear, EduDemic is here to help.

Almost All Students Use Social Media

Imagine for a moment that you are in a high school classroom with30 students. How many of them do you think use social media on a regular basis?

If you said 24, you’d be right. According to a new report by myYearbook and Ketchum, 80% of all US teens use social media on a regular basis (at least monthly). As we wrote earlier today, students are truly enamored and clamoring for technology and social media. What are they doing on these sites? According to the new report (and some common sense), they’re sharing photos and posting relatively personal information but not looking to engage with third parties. In other words, teens are online but don’t want to be bothered by your school, company, or marketing ploy.

How Can I Reach Students?

So how does a school or teacher gain some traction online? Simple: by reaching out to the influencers. Who are they? The influencers are the opinion makers of the group you’re targeting. They may be the founder of the particular group (i.e. the person who started the facebook page) or someone with the most friends or followers.

The most influential users care a lot about what their friends say and are not wild about marketers. In other words, don’t use marketing speak. (Don’t only talk about yourself or your product / school. Actually respond to teens and don’t always be peddling your wares.) For example, if you’re a higher ed administrator don’t start the same link with only slightly varied text on a facebook page. It won’t gain any traction. Instead, try commenting on other’s posts and just be yourself. Gaining awareness is the crucial first step to reaching students.

Why should you not use marketing speak? Just 5% trusted what they heard from ads most, and another 5% trusted information from companies.

We’re not advocating for you to be sneaky or duplicitious. Simply be straightforward but not too stuffy. Students in the survey also expect teachers, schools, and brands to act differently from their friends. Overall, while influencers most liked to share content that was funny, they preferred these types of brands to be more straightforward. Regardless, they Still, they “also appreciate when a brand can be edgy, funny or shocking—as long as it is done well,” according to Ketchum.

“Brands hoping to keep up should find unique ways to participate in the things teenagers already care about versus competing with what’s already capturing their attention,” said Adrianna Giuliani, vice president of creative and strategic planning at Ketchum, in a statement.

Reaching teen influencers will mean taking advantage of earned-media opportunities and word-of-mouth that comes from highly trusted friends. Influencers are more likely than other teens to recommend a variety of products to their friends.

The top 15% of teen social network users are 70% more likely to share purchase decision information with their friends.