It’s not a question that you’re asked every day. But we’re not talking about the Brad Pitts, Miley Cyruses or Lionel Messis of the world. Instead, the ones right under your nose. In your lecture theatres, your library and your dorms. Yes, we’re talking about the generation who knew how to Instagram before they could ride a bike, who are now followed by tens of thousands of their peers online. Those who now dream of being social media influencers and YouTubers ‘when they grow up’, instead of vets and teachers. The once rare ‘celebrity’ status has quickly become more reachable than ever before and it’s time for colleges to acknowledge this recent culture change and understand that there are countless celebrity brand ambassadors at their very fingertips.
So where has this all new-found celebrity status come from? Turns out it all started when UK parenting blogger Sarah Willox Knott began a snowball effect when she recently fell foul to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) (the English equivalent to the Federal Trade Commission), setting a precedent for social media creators everywhere. When pulled up for failing to disclose a medicinal endorsement, she argued that she ‘only’ had 30,000 followers. Which therefore made her just another internet-user sharing their recommendations, rather than running an ad campaign. ASA fought back with the notion that there are strict laws banning celebrities promoting medication and anyone with “over 30,000 followers [is] considered a celebrity”, redefining what the official body constitutes as a celebrity figure. In today’s increasingly connected world, those followers aren’t all that uncommon to amass.
But we hear you. Why are we talking about parenting bloggers and non-disclosed medicinal adverts? How is all of this related to student marketing? And will it make an impact in America? Well... if harnessed correctly, it has the potential to change a whole lot. With this new definition, colleges globally now have countless celebrities roaming around their campuses at any given time. Take a look at Reese Regan from Temple University who’s college move-in vlog accrued over 1 million views on youtube. She can be considered a celebrity in today’s world, where students have single-handedly carved out a whole new online niche of “study tubing” and “studygram”ing.
Students now have the very real capability to be personal brands, college advocates and company ambassadors. Creating the perfect foundation for successful, authentic and engaging partnerships between university and student. And with the likes of student takeovers, open house vlogs, and student-generated content, it really is the future and a strategy that has already had some amazing results.
“We’re so excited to see the industry of study tubing really take over. It is such a strong community of like-minded students, that love to share everything from exam techniques, application journeys and mental health experiences. It’s really powerful to see this grow from strength to strength. Especially in a time where this generation of students aren’t always so trusting of brands and institutions. But study tubers and ‘grammers are a way to unlock their audiences in a way that’s authentic and real. Students really listen to these new-age celebrities for recommendations and tips on life, and if colleges can work with them, to convey some really positive messaging, audiences will be really open to that in a way they just aren't towards traditional advertising anymore.”
- Chloe Hashemi, Creative Content Manager of Student Hut
If you’d like to find out more about how you can use this UK news revelation and engage with your student audience on American campuses going into the new academic year, get in touch with our experts today.