Building Your Gen Z Audience: How to Reach College Students

By: Ty Guzman-Touchberry

May 8, 2020

Social media is the key to reaching college students and adding them into your organization’s audience. With so much information online, it’s difficult to get someone’s attention, let alone encourage them to actively participate in your activities! Adding in COVID-19, there are a lot of distractions and content to sift through. As a recent college grad, below are some tips on how to capture my generation’s attention on social and engage us in your mission. 

Why is it important to engage with college students? They are your future donors, and when they get behind a cause, there is no letting up. They’ll share your organization’s posts, create their own social media content about you, and get their friends involved as well. Gen Z is all about making sure their  voices are heard, and when they’re  with you, that means making sure your organization is heard too.

  • Brevity is your best friend. Most college students are already drowning in pages of readings, so the last thing they want is to go on social media and read long posts. The rule of thumb for social media is that your followers should not have to click “read more” to see all your messaging. Just because you can write paragraphs on Facebook, doesn’t mean you should. Keep it to a few sentences that get your main point across and you’ll start to see more people retain the information. There may even be an increase in interactions with your posts.
  • Creative Messaging & Media. We’re currently living in a “Meme Society.” Social media culture lives and breathes memes, and there’s one for almost anything you can think of. Consider creating a meme that aligns with your mission - I guarantee it’ll catch the attention of college students more than a simple tweet or Instagram post. And when simply posting information, try and attach an image along with it. College students are visual human beings.
  • Interactive Posts. Social media is all about connecting with people and organizations that traditionally would not interact with your organization. Create polls or fun questions pertaining to the mission or values of your organization to increase engagement. While it may feel like pulling teeth to get donations from college students, they are more inclined to give when a clever tactic, such as a bingo board, is involved. For reference here’s a link to a bingo board I included in a recent campaign. These are great to post on social media to get people interested!
  • Use hashtags...but not too many. Including hashtags on your posts is important, because it increases the reach beyond your followers. An acceptable number of hashtags is anywhere from one to three and make sure they are relevant to your organization and your post. Creating a unique hashtag for your organization to be used on every post will help keep everything consistent and is something your audience will come to recognize as important to your brand.

Have questions on social media or other things Gen Z? Find me on twitter at @ty_guzberry or email me at ty@focus-fundraising.com.