Preparing for Generation Z on Social Media

I was fortunate enough to sit through a presentation by BVK on The Essentials of Marketing to Millennials, which highlighted what factors Millennials find essential when selecting a college. Great presentation, but it raised a significant flag in my mind – the Millennial Generation is almost done with high school.

Generation Z

That leaves Generation Z (aka Generation Next, Generation We, Digitials, iGen or Tweenials), who are currently 14 and under, as the target audience for college admissions offices in less than three years. Being the Millennial I am, I started feeling antsy during the presentation, wishing I was learning about Generation Z and immediately began scouring the internet for more information.

I’ve come across a few good finds I wanted to pass along.

Taking it Social

In terms of applying this information to social media, both articles hit hard on the idea that Z’s are always connected, overstimulated, and digest an enormous amount of content.

Keeping social media content fresh isn’t exactly a new idea, but with the volume of content these Z’s will read, binge-watch, or browse through, increasing our frequency of posts seems likely. I’ve already seen this happen with new follows on our Instagram account. After they follow our account they’ll go back and ‘favorite’ almost every photo we’ve posted in the last six or so months.

I also think videos produced by students will be playing a much larger role. Ideas like replying to Tweets with a video from a student is genius. It gives us that sense of authenticity and the videos are quick and simple to produce.

I certainly don’t have all the answers now, but I’d love to get more feedback and a conversation started. Let me know how you think social media marketing will change for Generation Z.

Two Social Media Hacks for a One-Person Team

According to a study from Dartmouth University, 100% of universities in the U.S. are using some form of social media. No other industry can claim this level of adoption.

While universities seem to understand the need to communicate with millennials through social media, the creation of employee positions to maintain those accounts have developed much slower.

I was lucky enough to snag one of these newly created positions in 2012, but even at a large university I’m still a one-person social media team. Besides myself, most smaller universities or college-specific pages (i.e. admissions, financial aid, or college units) have to rely on part-time or student help to manage their accounts. With that said, here are my two favorite social media hacks for a one-person team to find and generate content:

  1. Facebook Interest Lists: These work like your Facebook News Feed, except you get to Facebook Interest Listspick Facebook Pages and view posted content without any of Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm to hide posts. Since I work in admissions at Michigan State University, I created an interest group with every official social media page registered with MSU. Then I can see a feed of every post coming in across campus. It makes it easy for me to find articles or posts that I can re-share or spot breaking news. You can search for existing lists or create one yourself. I’ve expanded to include categories that relate to my job – admissions specific college pages so I can see what other schools are posting about, and top social media contributors.
  2. Keyword searches on Twitter: Many people forget you can search keywords in Twitter instead of just hashtags. I spend about five minutes every morning searching keywords for tweets from someone who didn’t use our promoted hashtag (or any hashtag at all). For example, to find students who might be taking a tour of campus I’ll search “visiting MSU” and “headed to MSU” and “going to MSU.”  Capture122I’ve also had lots of success searching for keywords related to the weather or current events, “soaked MSU” or “raining on tour” to try and interact with guests. I often find when we favorite or reply to these “rogue” tweets, we get a strong positive reply from the student (a retweet, follow, or reply).