Below is my proposal for extending the reach of Studentbeans.com to encompass students and non-students in the 18-24 age bracket.
Studenbeans.com is a leading student web portal primarily designed to provide a resource that is as essential to student life as a can of baked beans.
The website is widely known for an extensive range of discount vouchers and promotional offers from top UK brands, which are in turn given unique access to a large student audience.
The website has more recently begun publishing editorial content and resources which readers can take advantage of for entertainment, advice and money saving opportunities. The content is intentionally looking beyond traditional student focussed news, avoiding topical issues like the NUS protests, and instead offers light-hearted entertainment.
This marks a transformation for Studentbeans.com from a student-focussed discount site into a youth lifestyle site. As such, Studentbeans.com is now cultivating a youth brand that can cater for both students and non-students.
To extend the website’s reach and to attract new users to this much changed service I propose adopting a digitally led strategy that broadens its user base through integration with other media platforms.
REACHING NEW AUDIENCES THROUGH FACEBOOK APPS
The Washington Post built the ‘Social Reader app for Facebook’ as a complement for its website. Within a few months the application had drawn more than 3.5 million monthly active users. The use of Social Reader has grown among international audiences and most crucially among younger readers, with 83% of readers using the app under 35 years old.
Studentbeans.com could adopt a similar approach to highlight its new youth focused content.
Studentbbeans.com can leverage existing users with a Reading app and then through the use of Facebook ‘recommendations’ to engage new audiences. Through recommendations users can share content from Studentbeans.com with their friend list and direct traffic to the app.
The content displayed on the app should be designed to provide a social experience that encourages connecting to the main Studentbeans.com website, for example, through highlighting promotional offers or other interesting editorial content.
FACEBOOK BRAND PAGES
The Studentbeans.com Facebook Brand page has approximately 50000 likes and is a regularly active page. The posts shared, however, are typically news stories and do not encourage participation. In comparison, Umbro’s Facebook Brand page regularly post questions to football fans with responses typically higher than with their news posts. Studentbeans.com already post surveys to their users. Transferring this conversation online in the form of Facebook polls and questions could be an effective way of encouraging greater user participation.
Facebook’s new timeline format for brand pages is a great tool for leveraging the evolution of a company. Strong visual elements, such as through a screenshot of the ‘new’ Studentbeans.com site, could convey the transformation StudentBeans.com has accomplished.
Studentbeans.com has been a primary tool for discounts with major brands. The user of vouchers could be made easier through the use of a mobile application. At the moment if a person wanted to get a voucher for a restaurant they would have to print the voucher and locate the nearest restaurant that it can be used with.
Apps benefit a consumer as they make their phones more useful. By adopting a mobile app, a user could find the location of restaurant that they were close to and obtain a voucher code for it instantly. As vouchers can then be obtained on demand through a much simpler process, it will increase the frequency of user participation with Studentbeans.com.
LAUNCH AN ONLINE MAGAZINE
When you think lifestyle, you think lifestyle magazine. Broadening the app development to include a digital magazine of their news content could be a good way of encouraging users to read articles more regularly. Mashable have an intuitive app and articles written in a similar style to StudentBeans.com and could act as a template for a digital magazine.
I believe Studentbeans.com can provide a greater social function for young people by adopting a digitally led strategy. It will enable their website to be more accessible by providing the opportunity to receive traffic from multiple platforms. Digital media can also encourage greater participation with brands through a more intimate engagement than when compared to a TV campaign.