Higher Ed Branding: How to Become More Gen Z Friendly

Students of Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2012 and represent about 75 million Americans. Though younger than millennials, Gen Zers are already reshaping higher education in the United States. But how can higher ed branding be more effective in attracting them? Here are 3 ways to better market to and engage Generation Z.

Embrace New Media

Gen Z’ers use of social media is more diverse than previous generations. Based upon surveys, they spend about 74% of their leisure time online and the majority of that time is on social media.

YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, the holy trinity of Gen Z social media platforms, give you an abundance of opportunities to reach potential students in a modern way. Adding a Facebook live stream or publishing a campus video tour on “IG TV,” Instagram’s own version of YouTube within the app, could set your institution apart in the eyes of this generation.

Also, be sure your Instagram page capitalizes on the new “Stories” feature. Instagram has said that since launching this feature, they’ve acquired around 250 million daily users. If you’re not using these basic tools, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with Gen Z.

When marketing your brand across these new media platforms be sure to:

  • Keep content succinct, yet entertaining.
  • Always use links.
  • Explicitly ask them to share.
  • Post content on a regular basis, but be careful not to over-share.
  • Constantly test different content and imagery formulas.
Encourage Entrepreneurship

Gen Z is entrepreneurially minded, career focused and is around 55% more likely to start a business over millennials, according to research reported on Small Business Trends. So, if your institution wants to win over the hearts of this generation, play to their entrepreneurial spirit.

Consider partnering with alumni who are successful entrepreneurs to use as brand ambassadors for your college or university. Get them vlogging, posting pictures, podcasting — find a way to tap into their network! You could even hand over the keys of your institution’s Snapchat or Instagram account for a day.

Also, we can help! Capture uses data to show what majors your audience is interested in to provide more relevant ads about your degrees and how that program will prepare them for their career.

Spotlight Affordability

Today’s teens grew up hearing horror stories about how many millennials ended up living at home after college, sitting on a mountain of debt. They also spent their early years in the great recession, so they tend to be frugal and outcomes-based.

Want to keep these thrifty teens engaged? Try shifting your marketing approach to affordability for Gen Z, in both your communications and delivery. Try focusing your content solely on promoting your most recent tuition freeze or a scholarship calculator. Or show value in a fun way by displaying scholarship and affordability statistics in infographic form throughout your institution’s website and marketing materials.

In conclusion, to appeal to this generation, higher ed branding must embrace new media to tell a brand story that speaks to the entrepreneurial and frugal psyche of the world’s youngest generation. Hopefully this blog will help you and your team understand how to position your institution and capture the minds of this important audience.

By Chelsea Grider, Senior Graphic Designer, Capture Higher Ed