A new semester means new generations of incoming students on your campus. We’ve all seen the research on how young adults are drifting away from traditional social networks in favor of newcomers like Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube. Recent articles from Adweek and AOL Platforms show that Instagram and Snapchat activity is thriving among digital natives, and YouTube is the leading social platform for marketing and sales.
As students evolve their use of technology it’s important for colleges and universities to monitor these trends and explore ways to create resonate content. We’ve written a lot about video advertising and the evolving use of Snapchat for higher education. One topic we haven’t covered yet is influencer marketing—and it’s a huge opportunity area for EDU.
ICYMI, influencers are public figures with klout and reach in the digital world. They range from celebrity endorsements to product reviews from widely-known social media icons. Amazon recently opened up its social media influencers program to YouTube stars. So what can colleges and universities learn from popular YouTube influencers?
Well, your students are most likely loyal followers of at least one of the YouTube sensations mentioned in this post. These stars have millions of subscribers who anxiously await the release of their next video. Here are three YouTube personalities who have gone viral and what higher education marketers can learn from them.
PewDiePie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) 54.1 million subscribers
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, famously known as PewDiePie, is a Swedish comedian and video producer who is known for entertaining his viewers with vlogs and video game commentary. In his Let’s Play video game series, he acts like he is playing with his best friend, introducing himself in a goofy high-pitched voice. His engagement with fans has earned him recognition by outlets such as Forbes and Time 100. By early 2017, he uploaded 3,500 videos to his YouTube channel, 400 of which he made privately. He is beloved by his fans because he knows how to reach his audience with the content they are looking for.
What’s in it for higher ed?
Creating the right content for your prospective students is challenging to begin with, but in-house video production is another story altogether. A great takeaway to consider from this influencer is that sometimes the best videos aren’t perfect. They’re real, friendly and fun. Check out our recent webinar on What Gen Z and Millennials Need from EDU Video for more insights on video marketing best practices for higher education.
HolaSoyGerman (German Garmendia) 31.2 million subscribers
German Garmendia is a Chilean YouTuber who is a comedian, musician, singer and writer. He creates videos under his HolaSoyGerman channel, which is the most-subscribed Spanish speaking YouTube channel in the world. He has produced numerous songs with his band Ancud, and has published a book titled #Chupaelperro, that he talks about in his videos. His versatile entertainment style has made him one of the most influential entertainers in the Spanish-speaking community.
What’s in it for higher ed?
German Garmendia is proof that there is more than one way to excite and entertain your audience. He uses all of his talents and skills to give viewers an entertaining experience with his content. The same can be said when it comes to the recruiting process for higher education. There are countless opportunities to reach your perfect-fit students throughout their enrollment journey. Think of creative ways to engage your campus influencers (like faculty, current students and alumni) and get them in front of the camera as representatives of your brand. Video webinars, live Q&As and interviews are all great ways to connect prospects with your campus community through digital channels.
Jenna Mourey (Jenna Marbles) 17 million subscribers
Jenna Mourey is one of the biggest personalities on YouTube. She discusses what it’s like to be a millennial and handles all of the work that goes into making her videos, including writing, filming, editing and publishing. She now has over two billion views on her YouTube channel, Jenna Marbles. Her videos promote her popular podcast called Jenna and Julien, as well as her music that you can find on her website. This marketing strategy has worked well for her as her podcast is just as popular as her YouTube videos.
What’s in it for higher ed?
The biggest takeaway from Jenna’s work is to take a comprehensive approach to your digital marketing efforts. The journey doesn’t end once a student enrolls. Ongoing engagement leads to brand loyalty so make sure they are fully engaged with other areas of the school and are truly invested in your brand. Jenna has proven that once you have loyal subscribers and followers on one platform, it’s easier to direct them to other channels and further enhance your brand.
Lessons in Influencer Marketing for Higher Ed
These three YouTube stars all have one thing in common: they know their audience and how to create content that engages them. Whether it’s through video or another form of content, knowing what a prospective student wants to get out of your university or program is key to giving them a stellar experience that keeps them coming back for more.
Colleges and universities have the opportunity to provide useful and engaging content throughout the entire lifecycle of a student. What touch-points are you focused on this semester and how are you integrating video and new channels to best reach your students? Tweet us @convergeorg to share your success stories. We’d love to hear from you.