Millennials are out. Of college, that is. Most industries are currently targeting millennials. They make up a huge chunk of consumers, so of course businesses want to appeal to them. Higher education institutions, however, should be thinking beyond millennials. Gen Z is the generation born between 1995 and 2012. Unlike millennials, this generation probably never knew life without a computer. Gen Zers are either ready or almost ready for college, and how universities appeal to this generation will be different than any previous cohort. These kids don’t use the internet the same way millennials do. For universities to engage with Gen Z, they'll need to learn how this generation spends their time online.
Where in the Internet is Gen Z?
Most universities probably already have a Facebook and Twitter account, but they might not find Gen Z there. Here are Gen Z's top three social media sites and how universities are using them:
Snapchat. This generation loves Snapchat, because their parents don't know how to use it. For a good example of a university Snapchat account, check out New York University. They've mastered the art of Snapchat engagement. They encourage students to make content, and prospective students can access it. That makes them feel included and excited about the school before they even apply.
Instagram Stories. This is another platform that's not popular with the older generation, so Gen Zers can use it to get away from their parents. It's pretty similar to Snapchat. The University of California, Los Angeles is a good role model for Instagram. They do a good job of highlighting their campus on this platform.
YouTube. Notice a trend? Gen Z loves visual media. A university that could engage Gen Z on YouTube would have the eyes of the biggest chunk of the generation. 85% of Gen Z watch YouTube videos. Some higher education institutions, like West Virginia University, are getting creative on YouTube. The school compiles Snaps from Snapchat into YouTube videos to engage students and prospective students.
Gen Z is actually a pretty straight forward generation. They like visuals, the internet, and places their parents aren't. But don't let that straightforwardness fool you. Colleges and universities still need to be smart about how they reach this generation.
If you’re interested in getting started we’d be happy to help improve the social media presence of your higher education institution. Contact us today.