influencer marketing

Your Guide to Using Students as Influencers

Here are some free tips to get you started with student influencers.

Influencer marketing is nothing new. Even if you look back to the 1920s, there is evidence of the American Tobacco Company partnering with strong, female influencers to challenge the belief that smoking should be exclusively for men. And it worked!

Here’s why:

American Tobacco Co. used women that their target audience could identify with

In the Torches of Freedom PR campaign, George Washington Hill (who was the brand’s President) hired his secretary to be the first woman to spark up a cigarette at the Easter Parade. He then hired ten other ordinary young women to follow suit.

They used women that had the power to influence

The women who lit the cigarettes were seen as performing an act of defiance against gender inequity. At this time, there were cases of women being thrown in jail for daring to smoke in public. So these women were commended by other women for taking a big risk in their fight for equal rights.

This event was highly publicised (thanks to the media also getting tipped off in advance!) As a result, females across the nation felt revolutionised and cigarette sales among this demographic soared.

The influencer marketing that we see today has a much bigger presence online – specifically as social media continues to thrive – and influencers hold greater ownership over their channels.

Below, we give you the ins and outs of student influencer marketing in a quick Q&A.

How does influencer marketing work with students?

Most brands will approach the people they want, work out a contract with them and agree a price – which is fairly simple. But if you’re looking to specifically target students, you could approach a load of “Instagram celebrities”… but you’ll need to accept that 90% of those followers may not be students.

Whereas if you are a sport brand, for example, and ask a student in a sports society with a strong social media following to post about your brand, you’re going to have a higher level of engagement with the audience that you want.

These types of influencers are known as Micro influencers.

What are Micro Influencers exactly?

Micro influencers tend to have much smaller sets of audiences but they normally have a higher level of engagement than big time influencers. On top of this, they have also already built up trust and authenticity with their followers. The student market is where micro influencing flourishes because students are particularly interconnected.

Why does it resonate with students?

Students have been one of the biggest adopters of ad-blockers. So if you’re a brand using ecommerce or pop-ups, then chances are your efforts are being wasted if it’s the eyes of students you’re after. The reason why is because while they don’t mind spending money with the brands they love, they don’t want to feel like they’re being “sold to”. They’d rather use their own research to make the decision for themselves.

That’s why having an influential student talking through a service they’ve used, recommending an event or demonstrating how a make-up product looks on your everyday person (rather than a model), resonates with their peers much more than a slick piece of marketing.

How can brands make student influencer marketing authentic?

Follow these golden rules:

  1. Make sure you pick an ambassador who actually fits with your brand.
  2. Allow the student ambassador to try out your product or service and work out why they really genuinely would recommend it to a peer.
  3. Don’t try and hide your partnership! Get your influencer to be transparent and announce or tag that they are working with you. Students have a lot of time for honesty but no time for trickery.

How can you measure it?

Look at the number of followers your influencers have and the level of engagement their post receives. This includes the number of likes, shares and clicks through to your landing page.

This is another form of word-of-mouth marketing and so it’s all about the number of eyeballs who see your campaign.

Who has done it well?

Check out this NYX campaign which used several student influencers to promote their new makeup range:

To speak to Campus Media about how you can up your student influencer game, call 020 8265 0130 or email

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay