Building a loyal customer base of college students without being too cheesy or annoying can be a difficult feat. Often, the best way to tap into the college student audience is by recruiting a few students to become brand ambassadors and spread the word about your product to their peers.
“Your customers should essentially be the voice of your brand. Five or ten years ago, brands used to pay celebrities or bloggers to talk about them, and have celebrities as their ambassadors, but now I think it’s shifted,” says Hazel Francis, communications and marketing manager at the University of the Arts London, at the Digital Content Summit 2017. “It is more genuine to have your actual audience do it.”
Attracting potential and returning customers to become brand ambassadors can be accomplished for example, through kick starting a loyalty program. Once a customer purchases, initiate returning discounts, coupons and freebies to keep them coming back for more. Start a conversation by sending out surveys on how your brand can improve, or create competitions to get user-generated content flooding in. The positive feedback and good reviews that will come of this will showcase why your brand is worth buying from.
Social media channels are the perfect outlet to listen to your customers and brand ambassadors. Being present on social media just because everyone is can do more harm than good. By not engaging with your audience in a genuine way, you will either be ignored or appear as a try-hard. See what is trending and popular among your niche of customers.
“At UAL, we noticed a huge spike of people reading our articles or sharing our social media content if it was about vegan or vegetarian food. There’s been a massive increase in students buying vegetarian food at UAL. So if this is something our customers are interested in, we should provide extra content to cater to it,” says Francis.
She also says it is important for brands to show the people behind your brand. “One of the ways to do that is to show your staff. It makes your audience realize they are talking to real people.”