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According to new data from Pew Research, when it comes to the news, younger adults prefer words over moving images. 42 percent of 18-29 year olds said that text is their preferred news consumption format and just 38 percent said that they preferred video. This research may fly in the face of what you may ‘think’ about young people, ie they like everything in modern formats like video – this isn’t the case.

At the same time, recent study by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism revealed that more than a quarter (28%) of young people consider social media to be their main source of news, overtaking television for the first time. 

Could this be because young adults are not used to watching TV news, instead scrolling through it on their mobile devices? For marketers aiming to reach young people, this means creating mobile friendly communications that are perfect for sharing on social media.

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Earlier this year Channel 4 and Starcom aimed to expose what young consumers value the most and how advertisers can engage with them. After the most important value was listed as ‘security’, ‘building good relationships with others’ came second, followed by ‘significance’, ‘novelty’ and ‘integrity’. Young people want something that they can believe in, not necessarily something novel.

So how can colleges and universities use these stats to make sure they are reaching their target audience? It’s increasingly important to think of innovative ways to get and keep the attention of a younger audience. How can colleges and universities produce their news in a way that will drive engagement and sharing from their target readers?

  • Hit them with the headline
    It might sound obvious but getting the headline right is the first step towards grabbing your audience’s attention. There are lots of facts and figures about the right words to include; you, this,
    wh-questions (who, what, where, why), video. Keep it topical, break some rules, get emotional, sound like a human. No so easy, you may say, when you are an education establishment, but being a college or uni on social media mean you need to be corporate and formal – you deal with young people on a daily basis, so there is no excuse for not getting the language right. There’s a science to getting it right on social media, do some research and some experimenting and see what works best. 
  • Don’t veto the visuals.
    While young people may not be looking to source their news from videos, it doesn’t mean that visuals should be completely eradicated. Make sure any news that you are sharing still has images to break up the content. Whenever possible, add an image to any social media posts – overlay an image with a quote from the article or the college/university logo. It’s a way to guarantee your post will be more eye-catching and if it’s shared it will be immediately obvious where it is was sourced from.

  • Make your meta data detailed
    When posting college or university news on your website, make sure that you’ve got the meta data right. While all of this is useful for SEO purposes, it’s also essential for making sure the snapshot link preview is perfect on social media. It will typically grab a description and image from the page but upload and edit yours to make sure it is as interesting as possible and offers a summary that will pique interest. 

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The key to ensuring that a younger audience responds to education marketing is to give them the text news that they want and resist the call of typically popular video content. Win them over with an eye-catching headline and image that summarises the news and offers them an easy route to read the rest and engage with it. 

Interested in education marketing? We’ve got a selection of blog articles you may find useful….

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Getting the message right at a top FE college

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