How to Engage the Teenage Prospects of Colleges and Universities

Unlike most conventional marketing, directed towards a predominantly adult customer base, traditional colleges and universities aim to reach teenage prospects. Teens think differently and place different values on pricing, marketing and product selection, depending on the product or location. Therefore, marketers need to think differently, too, when engaging with younger audience.

One valuable approach to reaching teens is through social media. Social media sites are meant to share and disseminate information, and since personalized or customized marketing is here to stay, this information is great for marketers who are looking for any insight they can offer their prospects.

The survey says…

A September 2012 survey conducted by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project revealed about 80% of all teens use social networking sites. Of them, 91% post a photo of themselves, and this figure was an increase from 79% who did likewise in 2006. 71% of the teens post their school name and their city or town name, up from 49% and 61% respectively in 2006. 53% of teens post their email address and 20% of them post their phone numbers, up from 29% and 20% respectively in 2006. 84% of the teens also post their interests, such as books, music and movies they like.

Getting an in-depth profile of the young prospect or communicating effectively with them is by no means an easy task. Many teens restrict and protect their profiles, hiding information they do not want others to know. In fact, 60% of teen Facebook users keep their profiles private, and 74% of teen social media users have deleted people from their network or friends list. The marketer has their job cut-out for them trying to develop a relationship with the teen before they open up.

Higher ed marketers, admissions counselors and recruiters who target this young audience need to be aware that teens will be dismissive of the increasing adult presence and excessive sharing in Facebook. However, they are also increasingly active on Twitter. 24% of online teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011. Moreover, there is an increasing chance that their Twitter profile would be public whereas their Facebook profile would be private. Teens are also taking to Tumblr, the image centric blogging platform.

How are you engaging your teenage market?

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Lauren Littlefield

Lifecycle Marketing Consultant at Right On Interactive
With over ten years of experience in technology, marketing, public relations and higher education, Lauren joined the Right On team in April 2013. She is a 2013 graduate of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy (Ind.), and a board member of Girls on the Run of Central Indiana. She has previously served as the vice president, programming and the secretary of the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Lauren earned her BA in Communication from Hanover College. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, running, IndyCar and the Indianapolis Colts.

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