The “Meet 2015” survey designed and conducted by the social media agency Mr. Youth offers insights on how companies and brands can best reach the Class of 2015 – this year’s entering college freshmen. The lessons, however, just might cross-over to schools and teachers looking to expand online connections and make better use of technology initiatives.
5,000 students were surveyed by Mr Youth, which included conducting focus groups and using user-generated video with cameras supplied to participants. In general, the Class of 2015, is technologically savvy, fiercely independent, and expects more from brands – which could sensibly include schools – than generations past.
Mr. Youth offers ‘five ways to friend the Class of 2015’:
- Help them express their personal brand. 2015’ers have a unique place in a hyper-connected world; they’re used to having their own brand in the public sphere. Schools and teachers that work within their own framework will likely succeed more easily with engagement.
- Integrate organically into their world. This is a time-tested tradition of good teaching, good school leadership and good marketing – know your audience. Everyone from for-profit online schools to individual teachers needs to know students and understand their lives if they’re going to offer anything those students find value in.
- Get in good with their friends. This is, really, an extension of the 2nd point – knowing your community. Understand how students use tools like Facebook and Twitter and how they conduct their lives, both personal and professional, online.
- Become an on-demand brand. Mr. Youth’s survey found that students communicate 24/7 and expect that same flexible communication with brands – including schools. Programs and courses that fit are likely to appeal to a broader bloc of students.
- Get to know them before assuming what they want. Education has for decades been behind the times – and if teachers and schools are going to catch up and respond properly to student needs, they’d better know their audience before rolling out changes.
MediaPost says that, “The key, then, to reaching this demographic will be to provide something of value… or that makes a connection” – which rings true for teachers, schools and businesses alike.