YMC’s interns work closely with our team, learning about marketing to Gen-Z and Millenials from many different angles. Our Summer 2021 intern, Kelsey Thorpe, is a rising senior at American University, majoring in French Studies. Check out Kelsey’s take on making your next campaign on campus a total success!

Potential for Campus Events

As college students prepare to return to campus after over a year of virtual classes, there will be many opportunities for brands and organizations to promote themselves to a broad audience and spread brand awareness. Most college students are tired of learning and socializing in an online environment, so their return to campus presents an opportunity to harness the college students’ excitement for in-person experiences.

Engagement is Essential

Events are one of the most engaging and fun ways to spread brand awareness. A perfect example of this is Maybelline’s College Campus Pop-Up Tour. YMC worked directly with its campus partners to host a Maybelline experience in high traffic areas of campus that allowed students to experience and sample their products. They were able to distribute retail coupons and hand out over 23,000 free samples to students.

It’s also important to consider that students are more likely to stop and chat or even engage on social media if they hear about your brand through other students. This is where campus ambassadors come in. Having students help promote and market your brand will help you gain more traction, as they have the best insight into what’s happening on campus and can easily tap into different student groups. You can also build out gifting campaigns utilizing college student ambassadors and influencers to boost UGC. Makeup brands, like e.l.f. Cosmetics use this strategy to showcase their products by giving TikTok and Instagram influencers products to use on their social media channels. Word-of-mouth is one of the easiest ways to tell students about your brand, so creating fans is much more efficient and impactful with their help.  

Instagram and TikTok Takeover

Instagram has been and will continue to be one of the most popular social media platforms for college students, but now TikTok has proven to be just as influential. It’s no surprise that social media use has increased significantly over the past year—it’s the easiest way to stay connected to your peers during the pandemic. 

Insta-graphics that are cute, eye-catching, and shareable are an easy way to promote your brand. Posting stories is easy, and students are much more likely to share a story than a post in-feed. Another great option for utilizing social media is a TikTok challenge. TikTok is continuing to gain popularity, and many of its users participate in TikTok challenges. We’ve seen brands like Kate Spade New York succeed on TikTok by creating the #katespadenyhappydance challenge, in which they used ambassadors to promote their brand and, in turn, increased engagement from Tiktok users.  

Make Your Mark on Campus

Experiential events and campus ambassadors are a very effective way of grabbing the attention of college students, showcasing your brand, and making a lasting impression on a college campus! Gen-Z students are craving experiences, and holding a memorable event on college campuses will be guaranteed to make an impression. Google embarked on a pop-up tour to showcase their Chromebooks and Chrome browser. Students and faculty were able to check out Chromebooks for multi-day trials, which created a lot of buzz around their product and brand. Leaving a lasting impression will keep students talking about your brand for years to come and give your company the chance to cultivate loyal fans. 

How Can YMC Help?

If you’re interested in developing a campus ambassador program, creating brand experiences and events on college campuses, or optimizing your social media presence to reach new customers, we’re here to help. At YMC, we specialize in connecting brands with Gen-Z and Millennial consumers, and we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!

TikTok has dominated the social media scene, quickly establishing its spot as the 7th most used social media platform. While Gen-Z dominates the user demographics, Millennials, Gen-X, Boomers aren’t far behind. Many companies have flocked to the app, posting organically and putting ad money behind sponsored posts and hashtags. As your company considers establishing a presence on TikTok, let’s look at one highly effective way to show up: utilizing influencers.

Company TikToks

The meteoric rise of TikTok has led many companies to expand their digital presence to the app. You can find everyone from mega-corporations to small and fledgling businesses carving out a space for their brand. Some of the most popular content includes new product reveals, behind-the-scenes into production processes, team introductions, and fan features. TikTok has been hammering it into brands to create TikToks, not ads. Rachel Karten explored why certain companies are creating an impression on the platform and found that the brands that are succeeding are treating their TikTok accounts as a creative, experimental platform with a personality that extends beyond branding.

Many companies find the delicate balance of content that best encapsulates this phrase, playing off tried and true content strategies from platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Others are expanding their range with experimental content and interactive approaches while leveraging influencers in new ways.

Influencers and TikTok

Instagram has long been considered the influencer-driven social platform, and TikTok is completely rewriting the rules. Its unique algorithm has given rise to unlikely influencers, breaking the mold of what many would expect an influencer to look like and behave. These influencers have audiences that range from tens of followers to millions, providing more opportunities for nano- and micro-influencers to flourish. Influencer programs are also looking very different on the app, with fans becoming accidental influencers through a mix of TikTok’s enigmatic algorithm and the ability to easily create content that resonates.

Who is Doing it?

We’ve seen some impressive and inventive influencer programs emerge on the app, and YMC has had the privilege of working on a few hugely successful campaigns for great brand partners. 

Kate Spade New York has seen a lot of success utilizing influencers on the platform with their #KateSpadeNYHappyDance campaign, earning them millions of views, engagements and putting new faces to an iconic brand.


🕺🏻When in doubt, dance it out.. WITH @katespade! *squeal* so pumped about thisss 😍 #ad #katespadeny #katespadenyhappydance

♬ Happy Dance – Kate Spade New York

Polo Ralph Lauren’s #PoloU TikTok campaign has captured the attention of young audiences, showcasing their newest lines. As the official outfitter of the United States Olympic team and their deep ties to the sports community, Ralph Lauren has been able to use its influencer network to tie into major sports events, like the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, the US Open, and more.


So excited to be a @RalphLauren #PoloU Ambassador! Make sure you tap the link in my IG bio and stay tuned for more! #PoloSport #Ad #fyp #foryou

♬ Upbeat Indie Folk – Soundroll

Aerie has had an explosive launch on TikTok, gaining a loyal following within two weeks. Aerie launched the #AerieRealPositivity hashtag challenge following their account creation, with mega-influencer Charli D’Amelio kicking off the campaign. The brand capitalized on a loyal following from other platforms, using a mix of well-established and emerging influencers, which showcased their inclusive brand values with real, authentic people.


share what you’re doing to stay positive right now by tagging @aerie and #aerierealpositivity #ad

♬ 100% Real Love – PopUpGirl

How Can You Do It?

The first step is recruiting the right influencers. If you don’t have existing relationships or the ability to recruit from your own community, finding the right partner will be key to your campaign’s success. Defining the criteria of who makes a perfect influencer for your brand and campaign goals is vitally important, as these consumers will become the face of your brand to their peers. You’ll also want to ensure they represent your brand’s core values and that their interests and passions align with the products or services you’re featuring so that the content they produce is more authentic to their followers. 

While mega- and macro-influencers have millions of followers, often, their engagement is very low. Additionally, TikTok provides an incredibly unique opportunity for micro- and nano-influencers to achieve equal reach. Long story short, never discount the potential of creators with smaller followings. There is a ____-Tok for every niche out there, and each user has their own ability to speak to their selected audience. Expand the breadth of your influencer program to include those that do not fit the mold of what you think a typical influencer is. Ensure that you are prioritizing diversity and inclusivity in your campaign. Consumers take notice of who you select to represent your brand.

What Are They Creating?

Building campaigns that allow your influencers creative freedom is vital to ensure that they can present your brand in the most authentic way possible. Providing them flexibility in the time and day they post is also crucial, as they know when their audience is typically the most engaged. Hill House Home is an excellent example of a brand with an influencer program that gives its influencers freedom to create the content they want, which sends a message that the brand supports the influencers beyond a business transaction. TikTok’s audience responds very well to sponsored content as long as it reflects the established personality of the creator, as opposed to a script from a brand.

How can YMC help?

If you’re interested in building out your influencer program on TikTok and other social media platforms, we’re here to help. At YMC, we specialize in connecting brands with Gen-Z and Millennial consumers, and we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!

7 Ways Online Sweepstakes Grow Your Youth Customer Base

While contests and online sweepstakes are nothing new, they’ve taken on a new life with the continual growth of social media. Now more than ever, online sweepstakes are easy, affordable, and effective. As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, sweepstakes will serve as a helpful strategy to increase the number of people who interact with your brand and deepen existing connections.

When executed correctly, online sweepstakes create a win-win situation for brands and entrants alike. Most often, they are used for the following reasons:

  • Increase brand awareness and generate word-of-mouth “buzz”
  • Deepen engagement
  • Nurture prospective customers through email capture or text opt-in
  • Drive customer conversion and sales

If your brand is trying to engage with Millennials and Gen-Z, you must execute in a way that feels authentic and relevant. Below are eight tips for capturing the attention of these demographics, while also creating a lasting impression that will keep your brand top-of-mind.

1. Make It Easy

Don’t ask for too much from entrants. When utilizing an online entry form, minimize the number of form fields to increase completion rates. Only ask for the information that is absolutely necessary. The more questions you ask, the less likely your participants are to complete the form. When entering an online sweepstakes, your entrants will weigh the amount of effort against the value of the reward, and you want to balance that scale in your favor. Whenever possible, integrate a social sign-in option to further ease the process.

2. Ensure the Prize Feels Attainable

Wondering what factors influence participation? According to a report from HelloWorld, 72% of people will enter an online sweepstakes if the odds of winning are high. Sixty-seven percent of people will enter based on the size and price value of the reward. As you can see, it’s important to structure your sweepstakes in a way that makes the prize seem both attainable and valuable. Consider offering a higher volume of a mid-range prizes to increase the likelihood of participation (as opposed to offering one top-tier prize).

3. Bigger Isn’t Always Better

While second to the odds of winning, the actual prize is important. When choosing between gift cards, physical products, or experiences, it’s important to know who you’re targeting in order to align the prize with potential interest from the desired audience. To help inform your decision, you can simply survey a subset of customers on what types of prizes and incentives would motivate them to participate. And don’t worry if your budget is tight, the prize is not the sole driver of participation—a quality and meaningful prize is key.

4. Bring the Prize to Life

If Millennials and Gen-Z are able to physically see what they might win, it becomes more tangible. Consider announcing or promoting the online sweepstakes at physical events.

5. Lean into the Power of Social

In addition to utilizing your brand-owned channels to promote the online sweepstakes, you should also encourage entrants to share the sweepstakes with their social networks. If your budget allows, utilize relevant, brand-right social influencers to increase awareness within your target audience. Newer or small brands will especially benefit from the automatic validation of being associated with a well-known peer or public figure.

6. Optimize Your Entry Page for Mobile

Millennials and Gen-Z use their phones more frequently than their laptops, so having your sweepstakes’ entry page be mobile-optimized is critical. Don’t make the assumption that participants will be entering the sweepstakes on their laptop, especially if you’re collecting entries at a physical event. Make the entry experience both smooth and intuitive. If your website is confusing, people will likely drop off and participation will decrease.

7. Bit.ly or URL

On the topic of mobile, if collecting entries at a physical activation or extending the reach through social, ensure that the website is easy to access and remember. URL shorteners like Bit.ly allow you to shorten and customize the link, which also makes it easier to share.

Like other tactics, online sweepstakes can be extremely effective when used as a part of your overall marketing strategy. Consumer facing brands, as well as many business-to-business enterprises, can take advantage of sweepstakes by using the seven tips highlighted above.



Want to engage the coveted Millennial and Gen-Z demographics? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—and we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!