College Students To Marketers: ‘Cut The Clutter’

Andrew Kordek

2 minute read

Looking around the web, there is no doubt that companies have, in fact, gotten on the proverbial social media bus. Look around. Everywhere we turn there are buttons to Fan, Tweet, Like, Share, Follow, Connect and Subscribe.

But this is missing the point because marketers aren’t telling anyone why the heck they should do so.

Enter a new study from user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group on “College Students on the Web.” (Yes, I shelled out the $128 for the full report and the insights it provides are definitely worth the money.)

The news reported by Online Media Daily earlier this week, “Social Networks No Place For Marketing To College Crowd,” runs contrary to our marketing sensibility when it comes to social media. We know that college students are heavy social media users. The report confirms this. The college students they observed keep a Facebook or MySpace tab open throughout the day. Problem is, they think of these social networks as a place to socialize with friends and family. They aren’t making the mental leap as to why they would want to click these links and they don’t understand how these social sharing buttons littered throughout the Internet help them!

Which means that marketers, by in large, have fallen victim to non sequitur (Latin for “it does not follow”). According to Wikipedia, non sequitur “is an argument in which its conclusion does not follow from its premises.” In modern marketing communications, the argument might sound like this, “College students use Facebook, therefore, they will want to connect with us on Facebook.” (The same could be said for YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, text messaging or anything other emerging technology.)

But as I read the report from Nielsen Norman Group, it struck me that we have done a pretty poor job explaining the value that they can derive from making this connection. They are wondering:

“What will happen when I share something?”

“”Do my friends care?”

“Are they trying to use me?”

“Why should I even pay attention to these links?”

Continue Reading on MediaPost: GenY

Originally from “College Students To Marketers: ‘Cut The Clutter'” | Published December 17, 2010

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Kordek

Andrew Kordek is a Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive.

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