3 Ways to Get Noticed on Social Media

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While implementing a social media strategy is a great step for any organization, setting up accounts is only the first step in an ongoing process. Everyone is on social media these days and getting noticed among the millions of companies is a daily challenge for most marketers. Figuring out the right formula to attract attention and engagement is a process of trial-and-error and various strategies often land with a thud or a whimper. If you’re new to social media, but are unsure where to go from here – or if what you’re doing just isn’t working — we have a few tips to help you jumpstart your presence online.

Keep it casual. We get it – you want to push your company and products, and social media is just another business strategy for you. But you certainly don’t want to bore your audience and, these days, the organizations with the most effective social media accounts keep things fun and interesting. If you simply post about how great you are or use social media to push products on your audience, then you’ll be ignored. Mix it up with fun videos and memes, and articles that you think your followers might find interesting. This can make the difference between being a “don’t want to miss it” and a “hide from newsfeed” account.

Keep it visual. They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words and, these days, people prefer pictures and videos to articles and words. If you run a retail store, this can be a picture of a new item or if you are a financial services firm, a fun group shot of employees on a casual day or company event can go a long way. This can also include an “It’s Friday!” meme or a picture with an inspirational quote. And if you do have content that you need to post, make sure to include a picture – studies have shown that post with pictures garner, on average, 120% more engagement on Facebook than posts without.

Keep it consistent. Whatever the direction you decide to take your social media strategy, be consistent. Your users should know what to expect from you. For example, if you’re going to maintain a blog, commit to writing a post every week or every other week, and don’t let your Facebook and Twitter pages lie dormant for days at a time. Once you’re in, you need to be all in, which means that keeping your accounts up-to-date must be a priority. If you don’t have time to do this on a daily basis, scheduling tools can be your new best friend. Facebook has a built in tool and HootSuite can help you manage some of the other social media sites.

Where Do College Students Spend Their Money?

where do college students spend their money

College students are notoriously for constantly being “broke” – but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t spending money. In fact, according to a Nationwide study, three out of four college kids hold down jobs while they’re in school and 84% admit to having at least one credit card to help subsidize their lifestyles. While much of this spending goes to school expenses, 40% of it is actually labeled “discretionary” spending, which means that even though they’re keeping their college bookstores afloat, they’re also spending plenty of money at local pizza joints, bars and stores.

With this in mind, the power of the college student spender can’t be ignored. A research study from ecampus.com found that this segment of the population spend a whopping $60 billion each year on every day needs. Although $33 billion of this was tagged as “back-to-school items,” this category didn’t just include standard school supplies. It also accounted for things like dorm room furnishings and electronics.

What’s more, the ecampus.com determined that college kids spend $27 billion on things deemed to be “non-essential items.” According to the study, students ages 18-24 spend $5 billion each year on clothes and shoes, and $5.5 billion on alcohol. They spent another $2.4 billion on entertainment, which includes things like music, DVD and on-demand movie rentals, and video games.

Because college students live in that “sweet spot” of adulthood – where they have all of the freedom of being adults without any of the responsibilities – budgeting isn’t exactly their top priority and the spend money pretty much as soon as they have it. And although most of their money is earmarked for going out, they also buy plenty of other stuff, from beauty products to vacations.

The lesson to be learned here is that college students can’t be ignored as a significant market for businesses of all types to target. While they’re working their summer jobs and taking a break from classes, take some tie to evaluate your marketing strategy and determine how you can get a bigger piece of the spending pie. With the right mix of products and marketing, you can gear up to hit the college scene hard in August, when the spending cycle restarts itself and students are back into their routine of studying, working, and spending big on their lifestyle needs.

Be sure to check out the infographics below!

Hard Rock - Case Study copy

6 Tips For Marketing To College Students

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College students love to spend money – and with an estimated 18 million college students in America, there’s plenty of opportunity for businesses to capture some of those dollars. Today’s college-aged consumers are among the most tech-savvy and trendsetting in history, but the stereotype of “broke college kids” means that they’re often ignored when organizations develop their marketing plans. We have some tips on how to effectively market to this important group of consumers and get a piece of their $60 billion spending.

Provide back-to-school promotions and incentives. College students might have spending power, but they still look for deals. Take advantage of the sweep of back-to-school spending with deals and promotions. For example, if you run a restaurant, offer a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée and if you work for a retailer, promote a BOGO or half-off special.

Understand your age. It’s ok to be old – but own it and understand that you might not know how to effectively market to much-younger people. Rather than try to hard or attempt to be hip – two things that will incite collective eye rolls among college students – consider hiring a recent college grad or college-aged intern who can provide some insight into what young people want.

Keep it simple. College students have short attention spans and a lot going on in their lives. They aren’t interested in convoluted messages or taking advantage of promotions that require jumping through hoops. Keep your marketing simple and to-the-point.

Use targeted marketing. If you think back to your own college years, chances are that you were attracted to much different things, language and aesthetics than you are now. So, why would today’s college students be attracted to the same advertising and marketing as people 10+ years their senior? Develop a targeted campaign using different messaging and designs specific to college students, and – when necessary – create different landing pages and social media accounts to capture this audience.

Invest in mobile marketing. College students have never known a world without cell phones – and many of them have used smartphones for almost half of their lives. They’re used to having whatever information they need at their fingertips – which means it’s critical that you be available through that medium. Investing in a great mobile site or app can help put you front-and-center among college-aged consumers, and ensure that you don’t miss the boat when students quickly search their phones for the nearest restaurant that serves cheap hot wings.

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5 instagram marketing tips

If your business has invested any time and energy into social media marketing, chances are good that you have a fairly strong presence on both Twitter and Facebook. Navigating these networks as marketing tools is old hat by now and most businesses have figured out what works and what doesn’t – but Instagram is another story. The photo-based social networking tool boasts more than 300 million active users, which means that it’s worth your time and marketing dollars to figure out how you can make this popular social media outlet work for you. We have five tips on how you can leverage Instagram for your business.

Use hashtags. A strong hashtag game is the best way to increase your profile on Instagram and reach your target audience. For example, if you run a catering business and you’re throwing up photos of delicious food without linking to anything else, you’re operating in a silo and you aren’t getting your work out there. However, adding hashtags containing food descriptions and things like #[insert city]caterer can help you get noticed by people scouring Instagram for accounts like yours.

Be consistent with hashtags. Are you getting how important hashtags are to Instagram? Make sure to consistently include some of the same ones with each post to build a community around your brand. This will also entice followers and other peoples to join in by linking their own relevant posts back to a specific hashtag you use.

Get creative. There are only so many pictures of your products and services that you can post, right? That’s why is behooves you to be creative. For example, if you run a bar, in addition to featuring posts of drinks and events, mix it up with a “dog days of summer” post that features a dog in sunglasses next to a drink at your establishment. Instagram users tend to be young and hip, so creativity goes a long way to engage them.

Find angles beyond your products and services. Just because your company isn’t necessarily visual or glamorous doesn’t mean that you can’t make Instagram work for you – but you will need to look at your operations from a new perspective. If, for example, you’re a mechanic, showing pictures of cars over-and-over can be pretty redundant. Try mixing it up featuring an employee’s pet as the shop mascot and feature its high-jinks – even if they’re staged. For example, a cat curled up in a tool box or peering from around a tire can – when matched up with a cute caption – be pretty follow-worthy. Call it “The Adventures of Max the Cat,” slap the same hashtag onto every picture, and you’ve got yourself a pretty a “must add” campaign.

Interact with other pages. As you probably know by now, social media is a case of getting what you give – and Instagram is no exception. To focus your campaign solely on your own page is short-sighted. To improve your exposure and increase followers, it’s critical that you follow other pages—especially industry-worthy ones – give away “likes” and add comments. 

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Millennials and older generations just can’t seem to get along in the workplace. Employers nationwide bemoan millennials’ lack of a work ethic and their need for kudos and praise at the office, while the young workers have demanded that their bosses better accommodate their needs and provide a more desirable workplace. And after being met with some resistance, companies nationwide have learned that fighting against a population segment that’s currently 75 million strong is futile – and that’s a good thing.

Americans have long had a reputation for being a “live to work” society, something that some experts have argued is fundamental to very ideals on which our nation was founded. And while that might be true, it can’t be ignored that U.S. adults are more obese and less healthy than most other countries around the world. Sure, poor diet is certainly a contributing factor, but long hours at the office certainly don’t do much to promote time for exercise and self-care. So, is all of this work a good thing if we’re not taking care of ourselves and living life? After all, what’s the point of making oodles of dough slaving away at the office if you drop dead from a heart attack when you’re 55? Could it be … that millennials have it right in pushing for improved work-life balance?

Yes, they do.

Although companies nationwide don’t want to believe it, research has proven time-and-time-again that an improved work-life balance correlates with higher employee satisfaction – which increases worker production. And millennials, in particular, make the most of their personal time. They exercise, volunteer and travel more than previous generations. From these statistics alone, it’s easy to surmise that for the beat-down that millennials take for being narcissistic and unable to engage in face-to-face interaction, they are healthier, more helpful and worldlier than any American generation before them.

Millennials are changing the workplace for the better. Employees get improved work-life balance and employers get happier, more productive employees. It’s a win-win for everyone – and society.

Employers can continue to rail against a generation committed to a work-life balance, but it’s time that they wake up and realize that this is a losing battle. In five years, millennials will make up half of the workforce. They’re moving full-steam ahead and older generations can get on board with how they’re evolving the workplace or miss out on valuable employees.

Stop Waiting for Millennials to “Grow Up”!

millennials generation whitehouse report

It’s no secret that Millennials are different than every generation that’s come before them. Americans ages 19 to 36 are currently the biggest generation in the U.S. – numbering a staggering 75.7 million – have a value system radically different than their predecessors and are creating entirely new behavior and consumption patterns. Increasingly, they are choosing to spend their money on experiences rather than stuff, eschew big purchases on things like cars and houses, and aren’t particularly interested in getting married and having kids – at least not any time soon. Whereas past generations have focused on things like practicality and family, Millennials are far more interested in happiness and passion.

The Millennial generation has piqued such curiosity that study after study has been conducted to figure out what makes them tick. We have boatloads of information on their purchasing habits and value systems. And, yet, marketers continue to get it wrong when marketing to Millennials.

Because Millennials are, technically, adults, brands generally market to them in the same ways that they have to past adult generations. Companies are marketing to this demographic based on their own expectations of what they should value, rather than what they actually do value. Basically, they’re waiting for Millennials to conform to traditional definitions of “growing up.” But Millennials have grown – or are growing – up. They’ve just done it in their own way.

If brands want to capitalize on this group’s spending power, they need to conform to Millennials, instead of expecting things to happen the other way around. This generation is driven by happiness, passion, diversity, sharing and discovery, and it’s critical that they feel informed and involved in the decision-making process – simply being marketed to doesn’t work for this generation.

The brands that have understood and adapted to Millennials’ needs have thrived in the market. Uber is an excellent example of an organization that identified what Millennials perceived to be a real problem – transportation that is both easy to find and easy to pay for – and capitalized on it by providing a useful solution to the issue that engages the target audience. Other companies, like Red Bull, have seized on Millennials’ desire for experience by creating a series of signature events that connect the generation to the brand.

Brands that are frustrated by fruitless attempts to capture this critical audience take note: Stop trying to make Millennials conform to what you think they should value at this stage in their lives and instead conform to what they value. Because while you haven’t been paying attention, Millennials actually did grow up – they’re just not interested in buying what you’re selling.

White House report on Millennials: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf

Goldman Sachs infographic page on Millennials: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/

marketing tips summer months

Summer is an awkward time to market to college students. They’re out of their usual routines of school and social time, instead spread out, traveling, under the watchful eyes of their parents, and focused on internships. For organizations that rely on the college-aged consumer, this can pose a bit of a challenge. How should you alter your marketing plan to ensure that you don’t lose too much ground once the masses flock back to campus? We have a few marketing tips to help you get through the next few months.

Take advantage of the “summer fun” mentality. For most people nationwide, summer is a precious time and the only opportunity for outdoor activities. People’s moods change and their more likely to try new things. Take advantage! Host summer-themed events and contests, and offer special “summer fun” discounts. Get creative! For example, if you own a restaurant or store, offer 10% off ice cream every time the temperature reaches 90 degree.

Get outside. It’s easy to draw people into your stores during colder months – but in the summer, it’s much harder. Rather than wait around for people to step inside, get outside! Hold things like sidewalk sales, get an intern to pass out flyers on a beach announcing your drink specials and do what you can to get your products outdoors.

Sponsor a kickball or softball team. Bring name and brand recognition out to local sports leagues. This will not only provide you with an opportunity for advertising, but foster goodwill and loyalty among the community. Offer post-games discounts, like two-for-one drinks or free appetizers.

Offer special summer prices. Summer isn’t high time for college students to buy computers and other school supplies, but if you offer prices that are enticing enough, they might decide to purchase early. Be clear that these are summer-only prices to provide consumers with a sense of urgency to buy. Parents of students – who tend to be more practical – might be likely to snap up items while they’re cheaper.

Do your research on community events. Communities around the country pack the summer months with athletic events, festivals and outdoor carnivals. Find out how you can be involved, whether it’s sponsoring an event or setting up a tent with samples from your restaurant. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to remind people that you’re around and use these events to advertise any upcoming sales, events, or promotions that you have planned.