Hosting a college event isn’t easy. You have to compete with other on-campus activities for attention and work around the various commitments students already have if you want a big turn out. In addition, it can just be hard to get anyone excited enough to actually commit to attending a college event.
The good news is, there are a few brilliant strategies out there that can help you draw massive crowds. Check out a few of the tactics we’ve picked up from our years of booking college entertainment.
1. Social, Social, Social!
With 90% of young adults using social media, there’s no way around it. If you are marketing to college students, you need to use every social media platform you can to spread awareness of your event. But how?
Take promotional pictures and post them to Instagram, send out Snapchat and Facebook Live videos, tweet daily about the event—basically, do whatever you can to spread the word. Engaging students via social media will ensure more students know about your event and actually remember to attend when it comes.
Note: When we say every we don’t mean EVERY. Find out where your target audience “hangs out” online and use these specific platforms to connect with them regarding your college event.
2. Get teachers and students involved
Teachers have been known to give out extra credit and course points in exchange for students attending community and campus events. In fact, many General Education Humanities courses REQUIRE students to attend a number of cultural events.
If you can get into contact with the right faculty members, you may be able to drive students to your event. When it comes down to writing a paper or going to some random “thing” on campus, students will choose the random thing every time. You just have to make sure that your event is that random thing.
Also, find a way to incorporate students into your event in some way. For example, you could ask students to help manage social promotion for your event. Or to help set up chairs so that people have a place to sit while they watch the entertainer you booked. It doesn’t matter how insignificant that job is. If students are involved word will spread.
But don’t stop there! Ask the involved students to share what they are working on via social. One Snapchat or Instagram post from the right student could boost awareness of your college event by astronomical proportions.
If you don’t have room in your budget for a big name entertainer, though, hope isn’t lost. There are other ways to put an entertainer your audience will know in front of them:
1. Get someone who is “hot” with your audience. With a little research, you may be able to find an entertainer that is famous to your crowd, but not famous anywhere else. Someone like Sydney Adeniyi is a great example. He’s a talented comedian with a dedicated fanbase, but doesn’t have the name recognition that warrants top performer fees.
Brad Wenzel is another not-famous comedian who is popular amongst the college crowd. His offbeat one-liners have helped him win contests and perform on Conan, but haven’t yet brought him national acclaim.
2. Help your audience know your entertainer. By posting videos of your entertainer on social media and spreading their name around via word-of-mouth, you may be able to generate a buzz. You might even be able to generate enough buzz that students research your entertainer for themselves. Who knows? They could become fans of the performer you book before their performance and decide to come to your college event to see them live.
4. If you can give something away for free, do it.
If you want to entice a college student, you have to think like one. College students see themselves as incredibly broke (the average college student graduates with approximately $37,584 of debt.) Because of this, they will do almost anything if you offer them something for FREE—especially if that something is food.
If you can manage it, provide a free or cheap meal with or before your college event. Students will be coming out of the woodwork to snag a slice of pizza or a freshly grilled hot dog. It is a lot easier to keep a crowd than to generate one out of thin air.
5. Make it beneficial to bring friends
College students travel in packs. They don’t like going anywhere alone and if they can help it, they never will.
What has a tendency to happen with college events is this: One student is genuinely interested in attending the event so he goes to a couple of his friends and asks if they’d like to join. Friend 1 doesn’t have five dollars (the price of the event) and Friend 2 “has better things to do.” So our original student ends up not going to the event because he has no one to go with.
If you want to get more students to your event, offer groups deals. For example, groups of four students or more get $2 off of each ticket. By doing this, you’ll provide students who have the desire to attend your event with more incentive to get their friends to go, too. You will also give students who don’t want to pay for the event an opportunity to pay less.
Host a better college event
College students aren’t all that hard to understand once you know how they think. Using food, grades, and friends, you should be able to pack your venue. Now all you have to do is book an entertainer they actually want to come see. We can help with that!
Funny Business has been booking must-attend college events for the past 11 years. We can connect you to the top performers and help you negotiate a fair price to work with them. We can also help plan and market your entire get-together if you like.
Contact us today and we’ll work together to host an amazing college event for your campus!