Communicating with Generation Z: A ‘How To’ for Universities

First and foremost, it’s important to define Generation Z as those who were born after 1995 and live in a world where Internet and digital technologies have always been prevalent. And contrary to older generations, more than 80 percent of Generation Z students agree that a college degree is key to future success. With all of this in mind, universities must reimagine their marketing strategies for obtaining these potential applicants.

While communicating with Generation Z students proposes new marketing challenges, it’s truly not as hard as it seems. The implementation of strategy through various channels provides a range of creative opportunities to reach this diverse group of people.

Creating actual value for prospective students is a tremendously important step in communicating with Generation Z. As they already know the value of education, more students are looking at what career-prep resources higher education institutions can provide in a post-graduate setting. Emphasizing tangible results and post-grad placement rates can deliver the information that they find significant when applying for colleges.

Above communicating value, universities must reach these potential students in more than one place. On average, this group of people regularly view five screens — phone, laptop, tablet, television and desktop devices. This being said, universities must have mobile-friendly websites as many applicants are getting their first impression from a mobile device.

When implementing communication and marketing strategies for Gen Z students that revolve around digital campaigns, consider the following:

  • Grab and retain attention quickly with great content. Gen Z has an average attention span on roughly eight seconds when browsing the web.
  • Use social media as a tool to relay information and to communicate directly. Many students research prospective colleges’ social medias during the decision making process.
  • Consider what they like to see when being marketed to. Clean images and branding are a must.
  • Peer opinion relatively important and creates a trustworthy source when current students or alumni are involved. Videos and graphics used on appropriate social medias can easily help in building this relationship.

“University leaders who understand the connection between digital engagement and student experience will cause dynamic changes within their organizations,” says Eric Stoller, a higher education thought leader. “Student-focused efforts, led via savvy social media practitioners, will win the day.”

By Alysha Rice, Digital Content Specialist, Capture Higher Ed