Social Media Insights From College Students at MediaPost Search Insider Summit

Pass the beer, censor the Facebook post and ignore the ads. Life without social media? College students say they can’t imagine it! The first generation of consumers who grew up on social media and mobile phones graduates next month and smart marketers are searching for clues on how to influence the young and social savvy.

MediaPost Search Insider Summit brought students together to explore the next version of the social-search engine in the eyes of the next-gen consumer.

How does the next-generation of consumers react to the increasing social prowess of search and the ability to find content online? Do students LIKE to search online, and what reaction drives them to PLUS a purchase, TWEET a message, or take some sort of action. Is it different on mobile device, compared with desktop? Does knowledge from strangers and friends prompt them to try new products or services?
A panel of Florida Gulf Coast University seniors took center stage for a close up on how they use social media and mobile devices for school, work and play. The Panel: A Social Search Engine Through the Eyes of Next-Geners was moderated by Michelle Prieb, Account Supervisor, Edelman @meprieb who asked provoking questions that gave marketers valuable insights on how next generation of consumers and professionals make social media part of their everyday life.

When it comes to social media, college students say

  • They use Twitter more for professional purposes, to follow real world and business news. They are more apt to follow a company on Twitter versus Facebook.
  • Facebook is used primarily for personal use, reserved for friends and family.
  • Facebook ads are “creepy” and might cause a virus! Four out of six students say they have never clicked on Facebook ads.  One of the students said that they clicked on an ad once; and it was by accident.
  • Common interests motivate them to LIKE a company, but they don’t necessarily LIKE a brands on Facebook just because they like them offline.
  • Keep in mind they grew up on Facebook, they do not know many people who are not on it other than a few “older” friends who are around 30-years old!
  • Teachers are  showing students how to use because “it will be critical in a career.”
  • Social media makes their life easier, communications would be harder without Facebook and Twitter.
  • Without social media they might go out more often.
  • They think email is “old school” and use Facebook versus email in all school projects because it is quicker and offers better conversations and allows for instant communications.
  • While waiting for class to start, students will use mobile phones and devices as a learning tool to easily look up information, research read articles anytime from anywhere.
  • Students organize news feeds with apps such as Flipboard which creates a personalized magazine out of everything being shared with you.
  • Check ins are random and scattered. When they are in a cool spot, they tend to Checkin on Facebook and don’t really see  the need for Foursquare
  • Learned they need to keep their social media networks “clean and sober” and understand the value of personal branding versus college grads from a few years ago.
  • They all LIKE and <3 Groupon and Living Social, saying they use Groupon more.

Looks like the college graduating class of 2012 will be bringing some social freshness and prowess to the online marketing world. Social media resumes are the new black.

Check out the MediaPost session on Ustream.

Video streaming by Ustream

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