Imagine this: you’re a student travel or tour company and you need to get sign-ups for the next season. The next trip is a few months away and you still don’t have the minimum required number of students signed up. What do you do?
Here at ShareSomeFriends, we’ve worked with numerous student trip and group travel companies that absolutely rock. We have been able to build a few awesome marketing strategies that they use to get everyone signed up before the new college semester even starts.
Luckily we wrote them all down in this step-by-step post that will 10x your college student travel trip.
Let’s dive in.
1. Create engaging social media posts
Students are building online communities everywhere they go and you have to learn how to speak their language. It’s not enough to throw some content up on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and assume that it will stick. Your content has to be engaging enough so that the student will want to like it and comment on it and preferably tag their friends as well.
One great way to do that is by using Snapchat geofilters. A geofilter is a template that will show up on every single image or video that’s created for your event. You can create a quick geofilter, select the area and date of your event, and all your attendees will then be able to use that filter. Here is an example from cru.com:
Another great way to engage students on social media is by using an Instagram photo booth. You can get one on Etsy for only a few dollars. It’s basically a frame that you can use to take pictures with and every photo will show your profile and name of the event.
These are great to use for a stand on campus or as a cool activity at a recruiting event. Here is an example from Etsy:
2. Social media targeting
Another great way to get more student sign-ups is through targeting students on social media. One way to do this is to join online communities of various college organizations and clubs and ask if you could post some content about your upcoming trip.
Another way to do this is by targeting all the “friends” that have engaged with your past content. Look up and send a friend request to everyone that commented and liked your posts. Reach out to the student community as much as possible, stay active on social media, comment on peoples’ status updates and posts to get more eyeballs on your page and on your content.
If you are a tour guide, a recruiter, or a manager at your student travel company you need to start your own Facebook profile. You will get more organic reach (as per the new Facebook algorithm change) by posting on your personal profile rather than your business page.
Here is an example of a post from a tour guide from International Student Tours:
3. Increase presence on campus
If you want to successfully recruit enough students and grow your college student travel trip it is paramount that you have a presence on campus. Students need to see you in person as often as possible. There are a couple of ways to do this:
If you are based on campus:
Set up tables in the beginning of each semester to talk to students
Set up interactive fun events several times a year to get students involved
Post fliers and posters around the campus
Sponsor an event by a related student organization
If you are a national company with no full-time staff on campus:
Set up a few events close together so you can come and speak to multiple groups in 1 week.
Post fliers and information before your event
Set up tables before your event
Offer a trip discount for those students that attend the event
Offer a referral discount for students that refer their friends to the trip.
4. Create an intern sales team
Who is going to market you better than the students themselves? A number of the organizations that we work with pick a few student alumni from their trips and hire them as interns. They sometimes pay them per hour or per student that they are able to recruit. The interns put on events, table on the campus quad, and reach out to all their friends and classmates en masse.
Here is how you combine all the marketing tips in 4 easy steps:
1. Have your interns speak to people on campus and add their names to a sign-up sheet.
2. Target the list of leads you get from your interns on social media.
3. Use Snapchat geofilters and Instagram photo booths and have your interns post the content on social media.
4. Create Facebook ads using the user-generated content that you got from your recruitment events.
5. Get referrals from the last trip
The most massive difference we’ve seen is when our clients use the ShareSomeFriends app to get referral leads from their trip participants. The best time to get referrals is towards the end of the trip when everyone is super excited to tell their friends about it.
Get your group of students together and ask them to download the app and select those friends that will actually be interested in going on the trip. Phrase your pitch in such a way that the group knows to invite only the qualified or interested candidates. Also, offer a cool reward like a pizza party or an Amazon gift card. If you do it right and if your trip rocks then you will get thousands of students’ names and numbers before your trip is over and you will be all set for the next season.
Here is a story of how one of our clients got 20,000 referral leads in under 30 days.
We hope you’re super excited to implement all these ideas. The one thing to remember is that you do need a marketing budget. Talk to your team and set aside some money to hire interns, to advertise on social media, and to hire a designer if you don’t already have one.
If you have any questions about our app or have any marketing tips to add to the list then leave us a comment below =)
Ben Kazinik is a marketing manager for ShareSomeFriends, a referral app and lead management platform. He enjoys hiking, cooking, soccer, and visiting his family around the world. Email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on my LinkedIn.