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Freshers 2022: 5 top tips for brands

If you want to market to Gen Z students, we’ve got a date for your diary – Freshers 2022. With millions of students entering the next phase of their lives, it’s a pivotal moment for making first impressions and cultivating habits that will last way beyond university. Here’s how your brand can get involved.

Two students looking at electronic devices

Balance online with in-person activity

Gen Zs are digital natives – they’ve never known a world without the internet, and have grown up using social media, smartphones and tablets. This generation of students will bring unprecedented digital connectivity to campus. But make no mistake – digital isn’t their only way of connecting.

In fact, this generation prefers a hybrid approach to connecting with their peers – and also with brands like yours. We know that 97% of Gen Zs use social media as their primary source of shopping inspiration , but social is a deeply-saturated world, with stiff competition for brands looking to engage new customers. 

During Freshers, when campuses are bustling and students are open to new experiences, you have an unique opportunity to meet students at the heart of their community. Bolster your digital activity with a comprehensive in-person marketing campaign – such as a campus tour, gamified stand or ticketed event. 

Give your brand a familiar face

Whether or not your brand has dabbled in influencer marketing, there are a few pointers to be aware of when marketing to students – particularly during Freshers. 67% of Gen Zs actually prefer to get shopping recommendations from someone just like them – as opposed to a celebrity influencer. 

The perfect solution? Brand ambassadors. During Freshers, campuses are hubs of activity, with new and returning students descending on Freshers Fairs and exploring their university environment. Students aren’t just your target consumers – they can also be instrumental in marketing your brand to their peers. 

Connect with university societies

If you’re looking to connect with students during Freshers 2022, you’re going to want to go where the students are. And in those crucial first few weeks of term, they’ll be figuring out which clubs and societies they want to join. 

Societies are a sure-fire way to find the most interested, hyper-engaged students. There are plenty of creative ways to match your brand with societies – from athleisure brands working with sports teams to food & drink brands catering for society meetups and events. native has connected multiple brands to societies within our Students’ Union network – feel free to chat to us for more info.  

Show, don’t tell

One of the biggest ways to leave a lasting impression on new students in Freshers is to give them something tangible. In fact, Marketing Week research found that 80% of students miss tangible brand experiences . This Freshers is your chance to leave them with something real. 

Whether you choose to give out freebies at Freshers fairs, provide essentials via a dorm drop, or build up a buzz by giving away a high-value item in a competition, samples are a fantastic way to surprise and delight your future customers. 

Tell an omnichannel story via Students’ Unions

In Freshers 2022, there’s one destination that will be top of students’ list – the Students’ Union. As a physical and digital hub for all new and returning students, this is the go-to destination for advice, entertainment, society memberships and more.

Students’ Unions will see a lot of footfall for events like Freshers fairs, mixers and orientation – and their digital presence is huge. Many SUs have their own social platforms, engaging with future students before they even arrive. 

The Students’ Unions across the UK are your brand’s biggest asset this Freshers – create an omnichannel campaign with touchpoints that span digital and in-person, reaching students wherever they are. 

Ready to reach 2.4 million UK students? Let native show you the way. We’ve helped launch some of the biggest brands on UK campuses across the country – and we’d love to do the same for you.