The collegiate audience is one of the most complex and untapped resources for marketers, mostly because of the lack of research and understanding of college students. Why? Simply put, the landscape changes too rapidly. With social media revolutionizing the way marketers communicate with younger audiences in the last decade, strategic approaches to reach college students in effective ways also need to change.

As The Black Sheep specializes in collegiate marketing, we have pinpointed certain tactics that can help marketers reach college students and drive impactful results.

social media, college social media, twitter, instagram,

Kings of Social Media: Instagram and YouTube are the most popular social media platforms for college students, and are here to stay. So, if you haven’t leveraged one or both of these platforms in your collegiate marketing efforts, you’re missing a major and obvious opportunity to reach your target audience.

Social media management, quarters east lansing, running social media accounts, brands, brand account

Your Audience Is Smart: College students are very knowledgeable when it comes to ad recognition and identification. As a result, brands need to be creative with how they advertise to avoid their ads being skipped over. Consider creating funny content out of an ad or positioning your ad with funny content. A great example of one brand changing its approach is our client, the Quarters East Lansing: Old Content vs. New Content.   

Flip instagram, moonpie, Steak-Umms, Twitter, funny social media, being funny on social media

Talk The Talk: College students dislike social media that doesn’t speak their language. Brands often fail to build a connecting voice by trying too hard to pander to youth culture, leading to feelings of being disingenuous, and even cringey. College students want to be entertained on social media, period. When strategizing, brands need to prioritize original humor or video elements. By creating original, genuine, captivating content, target audiences are less likely to skip over an ad or create negative associations with a brand. Great examples of brands approaching social content creation in authentic ways are MoonPie’s Twitter account, the Flip Instagram account and the Steak-Umms Twitter.

Adidas, value, brand values

Creating Brand Value:  College students are practical and don’t have blind brand loyalty for brands that they love. Think about it, every time someone follows a brand on social media, they’re choosing to do so because they believe a brand will instill some sort of value in their feed-scrolling experience. For example, if you love ADIDAS, but ADIDAS consistently only tweets tone deaf, boring and unengaging content, you’re going to unfollow ADIDAS at some point. However, if ADIDAS creates value in the lives of their followers by posting content that’s entertaining, informative, inspiring, or gives followers the chance to win something, the audience will stick around.

So, what makes us the experts of collegiate marketing? We applied the above tactics to our own social channels and saw incredible results over the course of one quarter:

  • Increased overall followers by more than 38,000
  • Increased Twitter engagements by more than 58.9%
  • Increated Instagram impressions by more than 70.9%

What are some of your favorite social media accounts? We love fail-whale examples, and successful campaigns alike!  Connect with us on LinkedIn if you have questions on this, or any of our other blog topics. We love making new connections and talking shop.

You can also check out more of our work via, and reference some recent surveys about the importance of social media here and here.

Until next time,

-The Black Sheep Team