The Daily Gamecock

Column: College students should market themselves across multiple social media platforms

With TikTok facing a potential ban, influencers should expand their platform to other social media outlets. But college students can benefit from multi-platform marketing as well. Having a presence on social media that reflects a student's passions and career goals makes them more attractive in the eyes of future employers.

Exposure is arguably the most important aspect of any influencer, and remaining active on multiple platforms is how they will achieve high exposure to viewers. Simply posting consistently on a single platform is not enough, especially in light of TikTok's potential ban. 

The fate of TikTok remains unknown, left in the hands of legislators. The House of Representatives passed legislation on March 13 that forces the China-based owner of ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, to sell the app’s stake to an American buyer or face a nationwide ban.

The reasoning behind the legislation is concern from political parties that Chinese authorities could force TikTok to hand over American user data, according to AP News. Requiring the app to be owned and operated by an American company would prevent this potential situation from actually happening. 

The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, who said he will sign the bill if it gets to his desk. If that happens, ByteDance would have 180 days to sell TikTok to a suitable buyer.

If the ban is taken into effect, TikTok influencers will have to flock toward other apps to continue cultivating their brands. While Youtube and Snapchat are good options, Instagram is the perfect app to do so. 

For one, it operates on a larger platform than TikTok. As of January, Instagram surpassed TikTok users by almost half a billion more. Using Instagram allows creators to connect with more people than they would be able to on TikTok. 

Four years ago, Instagram launched a short-form video feature called Reels. It seemed like an effort to compete with TikTok's short-form video format that skyrocketed the app's popularity. This has allowed many influencers to share their TikTok-based content on Instagram in a virtually identical manner. 

This idea of becoming active on multiple platforms, in addition to Instagram, is something all influencers would benefit from by allowing them to spread their personal message or brand to a broader range of people. 

Jeffrey Rehling, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and director for the Center for Marketing Solutions at USC, said the average consumer needs to be "touched" about seven times by a brand in order for them to change their behavior. And multiple media touch-points would help achieve that goal of a consumer interacting with someone's media. 

"If marketers are putting all their eggs, or most of their eggs, in a TikTok basket, that's probably not healthy to begin with. And it's certainly not healthy now with what potentially could be happening,"Rehling said.


While TikTok's potential ban is an indicator that influencers should be active on multiple social media outlets, it is something they should be doing regardless. 

College students should learn from influencers and also market themselves across many different apps in order to build personal exposure and network with companies. 

According to Continuum Outpatient Center, social media platforms allow an exchange of various opportunities on a campus, which can positively contribute to a student's overall university experience. This potential to connect is not limited to friends and family, but extends to employers and companies as well. 

Find Your Influence, a marketing solution company, cites some reasons as to why brands are inclined to work with college students. These points include the fact that college students are more relatable amongst their peers and are more likely to respond to messages, leading to a high engagement rate. 

Many brands today are targeting younger audiences, Rehling said,so if companies wish to appeal to younger audiences, college students are their best bet. 

But working with brands is just one way college students can reap the benefits of marketing themselves online. Increased outreach will lead to increased exposure to potential employers and figures within their career field. 

U.S. News & World Report said a student's social media should reflect who they are as a person, as well as their desirable career field, so employers will find them appealing. It also states that social media platforms are a way to network with others in their desired profession who are posting tips and information about their industry. 

Ultimately, college students should market themselves across platforms in order to reach a wide variety of viewers. The first step is figuring out what they want to brand themselves as and what their purpose is. 

Lorne Hofseth, the associate dean for research within USC's College of Pharmacy, has amassed a substantially large TikTok audience of 37.7k followers. His content focuses on his cancer research, namely colon cancer and ongoing developments with treatment options.

"Find your passion and start talking about it," Hofseth said. "Everybody is passionate about something, and sometimes you find other people passionate about it.

Any college student can post what they are passionate about, whether it’s writing, dancing, photography or sports. There is no wrong way to market one’s social media. As long as students are staying true to their “brand,” their message will be clear to anyone looking over their profiles.

The benefits of becoming active on multiple social media outlets for college students will help them to network and appeal to employers. 


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