Viral Marketing Strategy for College Students
The power of word-of-mouth and viral marketing has increased exponentially as people become more and more connected through social media and other technology. For college students this power is even stronger as the youth demographic has the strongest word-of-mouth of any segment. Companies have been taking advantage of this for years by following a simple strategy.
MediaMate’s close relationships with colleges have given it insight into how information flows through a college campus. We have identified ways to amplify a viral marketing strategy through on-campus advertising to turn it from simple word-of-mouth to a fast moving viral campaign.
Below are the basic ways to launch a viral campaign and specific ways to boost that campaign and aim it towards college students for increased success.
1. Give away valuable products or services
The first step to a viral campaign is to give something that students will want to share with others. This can be in the form of a free offer, video, or program. The key is that it has to be valuable and interesting enough to tell someone about it. A half-off coupon may be effective to get more sales, but it certainly won’t go viral. Many companies have created high quality videos or commercials, only available online, that are actually entertaining to watch. A classic example is BMW’s “The Hire” videos. They featured Clive Owen and prominent film makers in high quality short films that had entertaining action but also highlighted the capabilities of BMW cars. They were produced exclusively for the internet and were successful because of how widely they were shared.
2. Provide for effortless transfer to others
No matter how interesting or valuable your content it will not have a chance to go viral if it cannot be easily transferred. Providing many ways for your content to be accessed is important, specifically when marketing to college students. Using Youtube and your own website makes it accessible. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to share.
3. Utilize existing communication networks
Reaching students where they are already communicating is the key to letting your viral content spread. Understanding how people interact with their networks, both their close network and their larger one, is vital. Using campus events or campus ambassadors is a great way to get your brand and offer into college discussions. Student newspapers are another excellent way to spread information because it comes from students and is a form they trust. In the early stages of a viral campaign it is important to display your message from inside the college community so it spreads naturally. Using school newspapers, campus ambassadors, and other campus promotions will ensure the people who view your message feel it is not only worth spreading but that it is already being spread. Which leads to:
4. Exploit student’s motivations
Understanding college student’s motivations and behaviors can allow you to spread your campaign accordingly. Students have a desire to be cool, current, and interesting. They are desperate for information that others will value so they can get the credit for spreading it. If you make it seem your information is being spread people will want to be the first of their network to mention it. Even if half the people they know are already mentioning it they will still feel the need to spread it further just to be included. For evidence of this check Facebook after any significant event occurs. Everyone rushes to update their status even as they are reading 10 other people who have written the same thing. When a sports team wins, a celebrity dies, or a famous mobster is caught after 16 years on the run there are thousands of people sending a slight variation on the same message all their friends just sent. Understanding what drives this need to communicate can help shape your viral campaign.
- Tech Trends: Smartphone Popularity Grows with Students… As Does its Marketing Reach
- Back to School – College Students Spending More than Ever!
- Sponsoring Develops Brand Loyalty
- College Events Benefit Everyone
- Big Brands Attend Class
- Cash4Books for College Students
- Campus Teez Sells the Shirt before the Shirt
- College Glow Parties Lighting Up Campuses
- College Ski Trips Gears Up College Students
- Holiday Shopping Craze Almost Here
- Another big day for our Events Division as MediaMate welcomes Ole Miss on board! http://t.co/P1d7BlhfAe 1 day ago
- MediaMate is very excited to welcome another new addition to our Events division with The University of Kansas! http://t.co/4LmyxjU28C 2 days ago
- Did you know!? President Obama has challenged colleges to "do their part to keep costs down," in his last two State of the Union addresses. 1 week ago
- "We found that ... it is the student that is about to go into college that really, really matters," http://t.co/2OKjMsmVyZ via @reuters 1 week ago
- Huffington Post survey: When asked what college students do for food, 71% either go out to eat or order take-out. Restaurants: Take Notice! 2 weeks ago