December 11, 2019 Guest Blogger

How College Students Can Become Social Media Influencers

Due to the nature of their lifestyle, habits and communication skills, many brands love working with college students.

The idea to use a celebrity’s fan base for brand promotion has been around for some time. Ever since there were celebrities, brands and businesses have been utilizing the power of their influence to promote their product. So, even though we think it’s a modern, college, millennial thing, the history of celebrity endorsements goes really far back, even into the early 1900s, although not yet dubbed social media influencers.

What’s unusual and so appealing about our times is that you don’t have to be a famous actor, singer or model to endorse brands. With the power of social media, you can build a strong follower base even if you’re a person with a normal everyday life and a boring 9-to-5 office job.

Still, there are social groups that tend to dip their toes in the pool of social media influencing more often than others. One of the most notable groups is college students. Due to the nature of their lifestyle, habits and communication skills, many brands love working with college students who are social media influencers.

We will use this blog post as a guide to show you how a ‘regular’ college student can become a highly successful social media influencer. But first, let’s start by addressing some common questions.

Why Do Brands Love Working with College Students who are Social Media Influencers?

If you’re active on social media and follow particular social media influencers, it’s likely that many of them are college students. This is no coincidence, everyone from the smallest local brands to massive multinational brands love cooperating with college students. Here are some of the primary reasons:

  • If they live on campus and are social, college students usually have a big community around them, even if they’re not social media influencers.
  • College students are often more relatable when sharing content than famous athletes and celebrities.
  • Their promotion services are more affordable, which is preferred by smaller, local brands.
  • They tend to have a high engagement rate. College-student influencers are more likely to respond to messages and participate in discussions than celebrities.

How Can College Students Become Influencers?

Many people wrongly assume that you have to be mega-popular to become an influencer. There’s also an assumption that only big brands like Coca-Cola or Samsung work with social media influencers.

Both of these assumptions are wrong, and that’s what makes it possible for college students to become social media influencers, too. In July 2021, the NCAA implemented a policy change allowing student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL). Many brands have since begun tapping into college athletes as brand partners.

To become a high-earning influencer as a college student, consider these steps:

 Step One: Learn The Basics

It’s great that you use social media every day, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes if you run a business or brand’s social media account.

In order to become a successful influencer, you will first have to learn how social media networks work in terms of promoted content, analytics, and audience engagement.

If you don’t know where to start, there are loads of free and premium guides that will help introduce you to the wonders of social media marketing. Be sure you pick a recent resource (this year or last) because algorithms and marketing techniques tweak all the time when social media platforms are updated.

“I started learning about social media marketing way before I ever started posting on social platforms and eventually endorsing brands. Even for micro influencers, it’s crucial to know all of these basics and apply them in your everyday work. Without this knowledge, influencers who develop great content can lose a big chunk of their potential follower base due to inefficient marketing,” says Marie Fincher, a blogger and writer at BestEssayEducation and Grab My Essay.

Step Two: Start Small

After you’ve built a decent follower base and you want to try promoting brands, don’t expect you will get a jaw-dropping deal with Disney immediately.

You will probably have to start small and work with local, micro-brands, but you can quickly advance and land higher-value contracts with regional, national and multinational brands.

Specialists from Writing Judge say that frequent cooperation with small, local brands can in many cases be more lucrative than a one-off promotion for a big brand.

Step Three: Expand To All Social Media Platforms

As someone passionate about social media, you probably have a profile on every platform. However, depending on the type of content you post, one platform probably outshines the rest.

For example, health and fitness influencers are may be focused on Instagram and Facebook rather than Twitter.

If you want to tap into the potential of a wider audience, you will have to expand to all social media platforms where your content can succeed.

“A couple of years ago, I was running a WordPress blog coupled with a Facebook page. At that moment, it didn’t make any sense to start fresh on new platforms as a writer, especially not YouTube. When my friend, who works as a marketer, suggested that I post my blogs on YouTube, I thought he was crazy – how do I even do that? However, some of my top articles in list form adapted for YouTube as a presentation video turned out to be among my most successful pieces,” says Kristin Savage, a writer at Wow Grade.

Step Four: Tailor Your Content to Specific Social Media Platforms

In order to become a social media influencer, you will have to learn what type of content works best on each social media platform.

Also, if you post the same thing to all your social channels, followers will have no reason to engage with your brand on all of them; it will be enough to just follow one.

It’s important to always post high-quality content that will be valuable for the audience. However, what works on one social media network doesn’t necessarily have to be successful on others. Here are some examples:

  • Facebook: after years of spending time on Facebook as a personal user, you probably already know what kind of content works here. Sharing links to viral articles and videos, quotes, quizzes, giveaways, and contests are go-to ideas for Facebook content.
  • Instagram: obviously, Instagram is all about the visual content, so even if you’re a content-based influencer like a blogger, you will have to present your content in a photo/illustration form. Industries and niches that currently are Instagram’s darlings include Food, Travel, Health & Fitness and Beauty. Check out Design Wizard’s great guide on How to Edit an Instagram Post, which shows you how to edit your Instagram caption, add spaces and apply the right filters.
  • Twitter: this popular platform will work wonders for you if you constantly post funny and relatable content that users can retweet. Of course, you can also aim for other types of posts that are likely to be shared by followers, such as news or links to your articles.

When it comes to social media influencer work for college students, the sky’s the limit. If you utilize the power of all social media platforms, you can quickly grow your follower base and start influencer partnerships with brands.

You will have to start posting high-quality and relatable content that will provide value to the reader/viewer.

In this competitive moment for social media marketing, where influencer pages are cropping up every day, it’s simply impossible to get by with low-quality posts. In the beginning, make sure you focus on quality rather than quantity and the audience will immediately recognize you for this.

Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Diana Nadim.