After 13 years of running the Freshers Festival across the UK, we have listened to thousands of 16-25 year olds give their opinion on what they expect to see from brands at live events. Most Universities and Colleges run fresher’s fairs with free pizza and plenty of pens but is it enough? Here are 3 quick tips on how to make your stand more engaging for students, from students.
1. Make Your Message Relevant
Hundreds of companies large and local exhibit at welcome weeks across the country however not everyone understands the audience they are speaking to. It isn’t enough just to assume that a student is going to stop by your stand because you are a well-known brand. Even if you are a national name, you have to think what it is you can do to get students to look up from their smartphones and engage with you.
Think about what you can say out loud that will stop a student in their tracks and encourage them to spend time talking to you. Of course, this message should be on brand but think about why they would be interested in what you are offering.
“There are so many companies at these events that it is hard to visit all the stands. Most of the time, unless their brand or stand is out there, I will probably walk past. Especially if it is a company I think that I already know.”
Photo from Freshers Festival London – Fika
2. “There’s So Much Room for Activities”
Now that you have managed to get the student to stop and talk to you, why not engage them with an activity? From the Domino’s spinwheel to the Deliveroo static bikes we have seen a lot of amazing experiences for students to interact with, so it is important to think outside the box and go big.
There are some things that you will always see at welcome weeks and freshers’ fairs like pens, pizza, totes and tumblers so MIX IT UP. Make your activity or giveaway relevant to your company and what you do. For example, if you are a tech company why not hand out portable chargers or phone stands with your branding on?
“I’m not going to lie, most of the time if I attend events with loads of freebies, most of them end up in the bin when I get back. If it isn’t useful or cool, I stick it in a drawer and throw it away when cleaning my room out at the end of the year.”
Photo from Freshers Festival Glasgow – Deliveroo
3.Think Picture Perfect
There is a very large chance that students will be on their phones whilst walking around the event so why not take advantage of it? Encourage them to take a picture of your stand or to join a selfie competition and share it on their social media sites with a specific hashtag.
Make sure your stand is #ready. If you are a cosmetics brand, why not have live festival make up sessions complete with a photobooth? Or, if you are a drinks brand, why not turn your stand into a beach bar or VIP area?
Amazon is a great place to source last minute props on a budget, they are cheaper than party shops and have a huge selection of items.
“The best thing about meeting brands at events is seeing all the exciting things they have on offer. Taking part in online competitions is easy and I love growing my follower base by using event hashtags and seeing who else is taking part.”
Photo from Freshers Festival London – YADA Events