Students and social media: how do millennials really use social?
01 Jun 2016

Students and social media: how do millennials really use social?

According to new stats, Millennials actively use MORE than four social networks. As a soon-to-be graduate, I feel I can

01 Jun 2016

According to new stats, Millennials actively use MORE than four social networks. As a soon-to-be graduate, I feel I can offer some first-hand perspective on this issue, and I’ve looked at a number of the key social media used by my peer group, including Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Yik Yak to provide you with the inside track on exactly how we use these tools. Well, for now at least, by next month I’m sure the trends will have changed again!

Snapchat

Hannah and Natalie using geo-targeted filters

From filters to face-swaps, stories and even texting, Snapchat is now one of the most popular ways we communicate with each other. It was recently reported that 77% of students use Snapchat every day and I can confirm that this is most certainly the case. However, it’s not only the ‘sending photos’ feature on Snapchat which is regularly used, with the instant messaging element of Snapchat also big news.

I’m not ashamed to admit that we also use Snapchat to follow celebrities, this includes: Kim Kardashian, Calvin Harris and even Justin Bieber. If you are interested to see what celebrities are on Snapchat, Capital FM has put together a great list, with Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore recently hitting an impressive one million followers on Snapchat.

And what about brands? Snapchat is the perfect way for “big bus

iness” to target the lucrative and elusive millennial market – from filters to live stories, these are all ways brands can interact with consumers. I’ll give you an example that grabbed my attention: in 2014,

Having a bit too much fun with the facial recognition

Hollyoaks was an early adopter to Snapchat and increased its following and awareness by revealing “Who Killed Fraser” before the TV programme was aired. Hollyoaks has continued using the app by giving away spoilers of the upcoming episode.

There’s one main reason I believe Snapchat is becoming more and more popular and this is due to the limited advertising on the platform. You can watch Justin Bieber’s Snapchat story four or five times, send numerous selfies and even catch up with the latest stories from The Daily Mail, under the discover function, and only see limited adverts. If users do see one they can easily skip past the ad or they tend to be included in a fun filter, which  makes the whole experience very un-obtrusive. Bonus!

 

Facebook

Facebook still wears the crown, even among us millennials. Although, Facebook is probably not used
in the same way as it was five years ago, it
Facebook 2was recently reported that 88% of millennials get their news from Facebook; whether that’s about brands, families or upcoming events, chances are it’s heard here first. More anecdotally, Facebook seems like it has turned into a cook book with millennials interacting with thousands of videos, which simply explain how make a meal/dessert. Useful given the BBC is said to be cutting its recipe section online.

I believe the reason why Facebook is still number one, with a massive 92% of millennials actively using it, is because it is still incredibly effective at connecting people. Given the majority of my peers are going through a transitional period; either moving to university or gaining their first job, Facebook still plays a role in helping people stay in touch. Adding new friends on Facebook seems less intrusive than asking for a phone number but with the use of Facebook Chat, writing on user’s walls and updating status’ everyday certainly seems to be a thing of the past – supported by stats that we’re collectively sharing less on this platform.

Twitter

ITwitters Twitter dying for millennials?  Personally, I would say yes in terms of us actually sending tweets and interacting. Twitter’s shares dropped by 13.6% recently as the company did not exceed the forecasted revenue while its user base is plateauing across the globe. According to Contently, 19% of millennials rarely or never use their Twitter accounts. However, it would be interesting to see how this has changed over time. From my own experience I believe it could be since the algorithm was put in place, which doesn’t allow you to see all Tweets in chronological order. Twitter states that the algorithm ensures that you see the most important tweets from your favourite people, but if we all see it this way is certainly questionable.

 

Instagram

INSTA2

Instagram and millennials work together like selfies and millennials – the older generation don’t seem to really understand it. This is reflected in the stats; 53% of users are 18, and it is estimated a further 11 million users are under 17.

So how and when do we use Instagram? According to Iconsquare, we use Instagram all day, every day: 69% look at Instagram when we’re at home, 39% while going to sleep and 33% of when we wake up, which could be mid-afternoon for many students.

From sharing our own pictures, to browsing for fitness inspiration and funny memes, Instagram provides endless hours of fun. It’s also a great chance for brands to show their personality and interact with younger demographics.

For now, at least, Instagram really is a win-win app, for users and brands. Let’s just hope the new, algorithm and increasingly aggressive advertising model doesn’t have a negative effect on us.

Yik Yak

Yak2Yik Yak is an app which was designed to help people discover their local community. It was created by two students on a university campus and targets students specifically. It is very similar to Twitter, however, you have the choice to be anonymous and the majority of users take up this offering.

So what do we Yak about? Well, everything and anything. From funny comments heard in the library, to moaning about family members or simply updating users on their day. The idea is that you write an original, humorous Yak, and other users can “up or down” vote it. If your Yak gets five down votes then it gets removed, and if gets a certain amount of up votes it goes on to the ‘hot’ tab. Strangely enough, the University of York was the first university in the UK  (and the only I believe) to appear on the “Peek near” list. This basically meant that every single Yik Yak user was able to see the Yaks which were sent on the University of York campus.

Yik Yak has recently pushed out a chat function which allows anonymous 1:1 chat. Although I’m a Yik Yak fan, I am a little skeptical of this as it feels a bit like a dating site but am interested in seeing how successful this element is going to be.

So, there we have it, that’s how us millennials are currently using social media – from my experiences at least. What do you think will be the next big millennial app? Will Facebook be number one in five years’ time or will it get overtaken? We’d love to know what you think!

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Chris Norton

Managing Director at Prohibition
Founder of Prohibition, listed in the world's top 30 marketing bloggers and an award winning online PR and crisis management specialist. Co-author of Share This Too.
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