How to engage Gen Z students with influencer marketing

Gen Zers have short attention spans and high brand expectations. Discover how TOMS, Open Universities AU and Pepsi partnered with Vamp creators to reach these young consumers.
How to engage Gen Z students with influencer marketing

Any brand that caters to students has their work cut out for them.


They’re tasked with capturing the attention of the customer cohort notorious for their short attention spans and high brand expectations, Gen Z. 

Aged between 6 and 24 years old, this generation has grown up with online content and social media. They’re fast scrollers. If you can’t capture their attention quickly, you’ll miss your chance.

But if a brand can get it right on social media, there’s a lot to gain. Since 88% of Gen Z learn about products they’re interested in buying on social media and 72% follow influencers (teenagers are more likely to follow many).

Brands are increasingly turning to influencer marketing as a way to reach, engage, earn trust and drive action among Gen Z. Here are some tips from brands who have nailed it.

How to engage Gen Z students with influencer marketing

Use attention-grabbing sales incentives


No one loves a bargain more than Gen Z, especially students on a budget. These young consumers are among the most financially savvy people and tend to take control of their finances as young as 13. When you take this and their tight student budgets into consideration, you’ll likely find them shopping where the sales are on.

To run an influencer campaign that will capture their attention, align the live dates with your next sale, or use exclusive incentives that they can’t get anywhere else. Remember unique discount codes can also help you track which influencer is driving the highest conversions.

When TOMS Australia wanted to showcase their new styles as the perfect back-to-uni shoes, they partnered with a pool of Vamp’s fashion influencers. These creators enticed their followers to shop by driving awareness around the brand’s O-Week sale in collaboration with Openpay, which offered shoppers up to 50% off. This strategy resulted in over 115k impressions and achieved a Story view rate of 4.5% and a post engagement rate of 1%, both outperforming industry benchmarks.

How to engage Gen Z students with influencer marketing

Create #relatable social content


 A stella shoe sale isn’t the only thing that will win the hearts of Gen Zers. These meme-loving and emotionally-driven social users are hungry for relatable influencers, who can create relatable content.

Make their thumbs stop mid-scroll by partnering with authentic influencers, who can share open and honest stories for Gen Zers to relate to. They’re more likely to listen to creators who care about the same issues and share similar personal experiences with them. 

Open Universities Australia recognised the power of relatable influencer content in driving brand awareness among students. The uni collaborated with Vamp influencers who focused on communicating the flexibility that OUA offers to students. Creators produced relatable content that focused on emotions, felt by many students. Such as the feeling of trying to study while working or the need to study remotely. These organic posts were then boosted by Vamp and achieved a 6.9% engagement rate that was 93% higher than the industry benchmark, and over 3k link clicks making the CPC 10% cheaper than the industry benchmark.

How to engage Gen Z students with influencer marketing

Tie in relevant school and uni events


Not only are Gen Zers fast scrollers, they’re also a very sought after demographic. They live in a world where brands are trying to reach them left, right and centre. So it’s important you find a way to break through the clutter and meet them where they are.

With the majority of Gen Z spending most of their time at school or in uni, why not catch them there? Link your influencer campaign to a relevant school or uni event to increase your discoverability, brand awareness and become one step closer to being their go-to brand.

When Pepsi wanted to drive excitement and awareness around their Pepsi Max Taste Challenge, they ran the event at Gold Coast Schoolies (where thousands of high school leavers celebrate graduation) and collaborated with Vamp creators who participated in the challenge and encouraged their audience to join them. The strategy achieved the brand over 40k impressions and a Story completion rate of 94%.

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