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Technology, as we know, changes rapidly; hence, the way we communicate does as well. For companies – particularly those who market towards a younger demographic – this constant change presents a challenge when trying to figuring out the best way to market to, and communicate with, younger audiences. Because of the ever-changing landscape of social media, it is essential for companies to keep a constant pulse on their audiences. This is where market research comes into play. The use of qualitative and quantitative market research gives companies the ability to better track the habits and wants of their audiences – and better communicate with them too. In Silicon Valley, the success rate for start-ups is only 25%, in other words, companies often need all the help they can get.

College students are now more connected than ever before, so shouldn’t this mean it’s easier to reach them?

Yes, and no.

Traditional modes of communication are being thrown by the wayside, making way for a prevalence of visual-based social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. In a survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire, they found that students ranked Snapchat and Instagram as their top two most important apps. Today, many universities are embracing these new social media channels to best improve their communication and involvement with students.

While students are much more “plugged-in” than they were during my days at college, the channels of communication which they use have changed drastically– it’s essential for companies to recognize and adapt to these changes; emailing students who primarily communicate via self-destructing photos and 10-second videos, isn’t going to help you (and yes, we’re referring to Snapchat).

Here at InterQ, we’ve had a lot of experience helping companies revitalize their marketing approaches, when it comes to reaching out to college students, we have a lot to say.

Mobile Usage Trends With Millennials: It’s all about the right place

When communicating with youths, their attention is the biggest cost; that means every piece of your marketing needs to emphasize why your product (or service) is important to them. Attention isn’t bought, it’s earned. Companies must be fully conversant in how to use today’s social media if they want to succeed.

Different social media platforms are used for different things. For example, half of Twitter users never tweet, they use the platform for updates and news. It’s important to understand the nuances of different media platforms, and there’s no better way to learn than with market research. While 87% of college students use Facebook daily, the most of any social media platform, students list Instagram and Snapchat as more important. Social media accounts with the highest online interactions have embraced a wide variety popular forms of media – the use of mixed media is increasingly relevant to snaring the attention of youth audiences.

Mobile Usage Trends With Millennials: A more personalized story

With social media, where people are inundated with advertisements and attempts to grab their attention, personalization is the key to making marketing attempts grab users’ attention. People want to feel like they have a personal bond with those they interact with. Companies and organizations who tell a story, and link their marketing to personal experiences of the customers and employees, are more likely to succeed. At the end of the day, people want an emotional connection.

Mobile Usage Trends With Millennials: Life is an Adventure

The proliferation of smartphones and digital photography means everyone can be a photographer – combine this with social media, and now, more than ever, people can live vivaciously through others and do so with high quality visuals to boot. A big part of successfully marketing to youth is about creating an experience; through the use of photography and social media, companies can help people feel like part of a movement. Students at Cal Poly University recently ranked Patagonia among their favorite brands – their reason? Students felt as if they were a part of something bigger. Buying into the brand of Patagonia is buying into a community and a way of life. Subscribers aren’t overwhelmed with information about discounts and next season’s clothing; they receive notifications about people’s adventures while using Patagonia’s gear; pictures of the places people had travelled; and how Patagonia is enabling people to be the most they can be. The core of Patagonia’s brand isn’t themselves, it’s their customers. Student’s attention wasn’t bought; it was earned – with an experience.

Mobile Usage Trends With Millennials: Action and Interaction

An essential component of every good social media account is responsiveness to followers – interaction between companies and their social media base goes a long way in garnering more attention. The department store Target is widely acknowledged for excelling in its active role in social media. The company’s witty comments and responsiveness to questions and needs of its followers has made greatly augmented public awareness of the company.

Baylor University, which has the most active user base of among top 10 universities in social media, can be often be seen retweeting, posting, and messaging funny content and replies to students. The use and integration of all social media networks, from Facebook and Instagram, to Twitter and Pinterest, has given the university a strong, and active media presence. Companies can learn from how universities interact with students, and use similar methods to maximize their marketing outreach and impact.

Times are changing, and your methods of communication should too.

InterQ has accumulated vast experience helping companies redefine their marketing techniques and image – now more than ever, companies need market research to succeed.

Request a proposal today!