Generation Z is on track to become the most educated generation in history. You’d assume that because they were born into a digital environment and have social media ingrained in their daily lives, the easiest method to communicate with these digitally savvy individuals who be entirely online, but that’s not the case. This means that typical recruiting campaigns alone are no longer enough. Marketers must think outside the box and communicate with students on a personal level. Not only do Gen Z students want real digital experiences, but they are also eager to interact and build intimate relationships with businesses that can add value to their everyday lives. Peer-to-peer marketing with credible brand ambassadors is one technique to develop these relationships.
What is a student brand ambassador?
A student brand ambassador (also known as a student rep) is a student who acts as a representative for your educational establishment on campus. A student ambassador interacts with students in a variety of ways, including on-campus clubs, one-on-one conversations, campus presentations, and social media. To put it another way, a student ambassador programme is a form of influencer marketing, and this word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer marketing, is extremely powerful. With a grassroots strategy, you can zoom in on your target audience, create trust with your students through their peers, enhance brand exposure through strategic integration, and drive sales by implementing a student ambassador programme. Students live in highly social environments, and they place a high value on the opinions of their peers and community. The goal is to create a community of people who will communicate about your educational establishment in natural, peer-to-peer environments. If you want to reach out to prospective students more effectively, you can’t overlook the power of peer-to-peer influence.
Choosing the right brand ambassador
You must clearly outline your campaign objectives before selecting the right student brand ambassador for your ambassador marketing strategy. What do you hope to achieve with your marketing campaign? Increasing your social media presence, advertising your product or service directly to students, or using a student to address questions or concerns from prospective students are all possible goals. After you’ve chosen your goal, you may start looking for suitable students to join your campaign. When seeking ambassadors, you should look for the following characteristics:
• A well-established online presence.
• Well-connected and involved on campus.
• An eye for design and ability to create engaging content.
• Alignment and interest in your brand’s purpose and values.
• A social butterfly – loves connecting and spending time with others.
• Some experience with marketing or interest in developing their marketing skills.
What does a student ambassador do?
So, what exactly does a good student ambassador do? Student ambassadors can assist your educational establishment in a variety of ways, but a mix of online and offline activities will be the most effective. Hosting events and guerrilla marketing on campus creating social media content highlighting your educational establishment and recruiting other students to join the team are all examples of these activities.
So, are brand ambassadors the best student marketing tool?
Show real experiences
Prospective students seek a realistic representation of life at your educational establishment. Ambassadors might post recordings of events or themselves talking about their favourite features of campus life on social media. Encourage your student ambassadors to conduct social media takeovers to create authentic, relevant content for a variety of audiences.
Campus brand ambassadors’ influence and impact are more crucial than ever. As micro-influencers, brand ambassadors can create a genuine and trusting relationship with their audience. Ambassadors are recognised as important peers who can pass on their brand knowledge beyond the educational establishment boundaries. Using brand ambassadors for a generation that is eager to learn, contribute, and ask questions allows an educational establishment to have an open and honest impact on these students. Connecting with people in an educational establishment may appear to be a difficult undertaking, but it’s no secret that face-to-face talks build a much stronger personal connection with prospective students.
Give a warm welcome
Did you know that Generation Z has a harder time distinguishing between friends they’ve met in person and those they’ve met online? A student ambassador will be enthusiastic about your educational establishment. Even if they have never met the prospective student in person, they will be glad to share their experiences and will be available to answer questions. Prospective students will feel welcomed long before they cross any threshold if the correct ambassadors are assigned to them. It will also offer them an idea of what their own student life might be like.
Using social proof
What their friends and peers are interested in has a big influence on University and college students. Although social proof has existed since the beginning of time, it has only recently become a considerably wider topic of discussion. Social proof is described as “the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it” and this reflects student ambassadors’ influential standing within their communities. Social proof is all around us without us even recognising it, from students wearing the same brand of clothing to a lecture to students all attending the same club night. People like to seek advice from their friends and hence tend to follow the same trends. Brand ambassadors are influencing their peers as they too are students, or in similar situations. By putting your educational establishment at the forefront of this discourse, you’re giving the consumer, in this case, students, the chance to connect with it.
Before committing to a university or college, today’s students require direct experience. Content created by ambassadors can give a true picture of life at your educational establishment. Even better, it can reach a varied range of potential students that a typical recruitment campaign couldn’t. It will be less expensive than traditional advertising, and it will be simple to monitor and control, which is critical when using an experience communication management (XCM) platform for student engagement. You can still ensure that your ambassador’s content is on-brand while they offer content that is authentic, inclusive, and real. Because of the highly social nature of universities and colleges, brand ambassadors can use the power of peer to peer social proof while also improving brand exposure. In reality, students are advertising to other students, and brand ambassadors are your microphone to the world.
Here are a few steps to help you start your own student ambassador programme.
How to start a student ambassador programme
Train your ambassadors using technology
Bridging the gap between in-person interactions and the online world was a skill that everyone acquired, so virtual training for your student ambassadors should be simple to implement. To make your ambassadors feel like they’re part of a team and to keep them informed, use collaboration and communication tools.
Keep in contact
Many educational establishments make the mistake of training their brand ambassadors and then failing to keep them informed. Maintain regular contact with your ambassadors to keep them engaged, interested, and well-informed. Facebook is one platform that can provide a sense of community for your brand ambassadors to stay in touch, learn from one another, and ask questions.
Define your KPIs and use software to track your progress
Implementing strategic key performance indicators (KPIs) and using tools to track them will help you measure success with any live, in-person marketing campaign. Hootsuite, Keyhole and BrandMentions, are a few popular tools for tracking analytics. You can use unique hashtags, custom links and customer discount codes to track the efforts of each of your ambassadors.
Visit this page to learn what other apps and tools your educational establishment can utilise.
Assign roles based on your ambassadors’ strengths
Assigning roles to specific strengths is a key to ensuring that your student ambassadors are successful in their roles. Certain personalities will be drawn to hosting events and giving speeches, while others will excel at social media engagement, handing out flyers, or working behind the scenes.
Gather feedback from your ambassadors
Establishing a good feedback loop early on in your campaign is quite beneficial. The link between an educational establishment and students is referred to as a “push-pull” relationship. While educational establishments are feeding student ambassadors information on the establishment and educating their peers, ambassadors, in turn, are teaching educational establishments how to better infiltrate their specific campus culture.
Essentially, your college ambassadors serve as highly effective listeners and local experts who can provide you with valuable insights on how to improve your brand’s positioning, offerings, and overall strategy.