College students regard social media sites mostly as means for catching up with friends and family and amusing themselves in their spare time. Shopping activities and connecting with brands and companies don’t rank very high on their list of primary reasons to use social media.
According to the December 2015 monthly survey fielded by NACS OnCampus Research, most students don’t mind that commercial entities are staking out turf on social media. Only 8.3% of students agreed or strongly agreed that companies, brands, and/or retailers don’t belong on social media.
About 42.7% of students responding to the survey said they don’t interact with any company, merchant, or brand through social media. The rest, however, indicated they have contact with companies and brands on Facebook (40.8%), Instagram (22.3%), Twitter (13.1%), LinkedIn (8.4%), YouTube (6.9%), Pinterest (6.9%), SnapChat (3.1%), Google+ (2.1%), and less than 2% for other sites.
It’s hard to say whether social media is helping companies attract more business from the student demographic. More than 77% of student respondents said they liked or followed a commercial site on social media because the brand or company was already one of their favorites, but about 60.7% also said they did so to get a coupon or free item. Some 38.8% clicked Like or Follow in order to enter a contest.
Many students are interested in learning about new products through social media sites (53.9%), as well as gaining tips on how to use products (42.7%).