Keeping your social media strategy aligned to your audiences…

27 February 2023

Here at 106 Communications, we spend a considerable amount of time researching the social media landscape in order to support our clients with the design, execution and management of their Early Careers social media campaigns. To ensure your socials are as engaging, informative and effective as possible read this quick round-up of our thoughts.

Be selective with your organic channel choice…

… and try not to be everywhere all the time. We know that UK students aged 16-24 are spending most of their time on 6 key channels according to the ISE: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tik Tok, WhatsApp and YouTube. Alternative research including Cibyl and High Fliers also cites Twitter as one of these top channels. Trying to cover all bases jeopardises the quality and suitability of content you can realistically produce. Instead, be selective and focus resources on 3 primary channels to maximise effectiveness.

And remember the difference in channel effectiveness…

…between paid and organic media. Although the amount of time spent on channels such as Instagram and Snapchat is high, employers should be mindful of how “reachable” these audiences are via paid advertising. For instance, as females spend more time on social media it may be worth tweaking your paid media audiences to account for the groups who spend lower amounts of time. Further, assessing which channels your target audience uses is important for effective targeting. Pinterest and TikTok have a much higher reach with females compared to men for example, so organic reach is likely to be better here for them.

Think about why they are there?

It is worth thinking about your audience and why they are on social media…

According to the ISE, 50% of 16-24-year-olds use social media for brand research… This presents a brilliant opportunity for brand engagement, but we must consider how we reach the 50% who aren’t engaging in careers planning. You should carefully blend the content to accommodate the different audiences who will be interested either actively or passively.

At an ISE webinar last week, Springpod presented a lovely piece of persona research related to LSE audiences; here at 106 Communications, we curated similar persona definitions after conducting research with Not Going to Uni, accounting for over 1000 Years 11-13. We discovered Ostriches (those who reach year 13 and haven’t started to plan yet) will need content that is more experiential, immersive, and entertaining compared to Planners (those set on a particular path) who will need more detailed and differentiating content. If your content fails to accommodate for these differences, you risk missing out on some great talent who are, for a variety of reasons, not engaging in the careers process yet.

Who are they following?

A third of females follow at least one influencer across different social platforms, compared  with only a quarter of men. 106 Comms ran a series of focus groups recently for a legal client and noticed this stark difference. One student from Southampton followed Partners, Associates and other students with useful opinions about a career in law to “give [them] the edge, to find out information that maybe other students who [they] are competing against for a training contract, won’t have”. Employers who have built a great internal community of ambassadors can augment their social presence by identifying micro-student influencers to follow and amplify stories and commentary from their own people.

Creating “discovery friendly” content…

…is a really popular way to get students, such as our Southampton focus groupees, to engage in your brand as they search for that elusive “edge”. This is most authentic when it comes via your own people e.g., collaborations, live streams or “reaction content” or from influencers whose opinions students value in honest, unbranded reviews.

To find this content students aren’t just navigating social media via google searches; Tik Tok is rivalling Google as the go to search engine… Google’s Senior Vice President, Prabhakar Raghavan, revealed: “almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, don’t go to Google Maps or Search — they go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Also, as students search for that nugget of gold in pursuit of individualism they are drifting increasingly to “unseen” content or content that blends IRL (in real life) with URL.

Our audiences are increasingly cynical and are pushing back against paid for influencers

According to the ISE, micro-communities are displacing those millions-of-followers influencers paid for by the big brands to sell their reputations. Instead, Gen Z are more likely to be part of small, interest-led communities that have “cultural clout” and that ooze passion and motivation for the subject rather than paid for typical advertising. Gen Z is savvy to broad marketing messages and are unlikely to pay much attention.

If you would like to know more about how 106 Communications can help you with your social media marketing, do let us know by emailing Jayne, our Early Careers Consultant and we can organise an informal coffee chat with one our lovely team.


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