By Dan Blevins, @DanBlevs

What is Yik Yak? Yik Yak is a geographic-location based app that allows users to write anonymous posts (Yaks) for other users in the area to read. Since Yik Yak has become increasingly popular throughout college campuses, local businesses around these colleges need to learn how to utilize Yik Yak to increase branding among the next generation.

Before providing you with 5 creative ways on how to use Yik Yak to promote your local business, it’s important to understand the college student mindset. As a Yik Yaker and college student myself, I’ve come to realize a few insights on how college students interact and disregard business marketing and advertising on college campuses.

Let me tell you from first hand experience: it is crucial to know that when you are practicing Yik Yak branding strategies, the Yaks must be manipulated in a way so that it doesn’t feel like branding at all. College students HATE when a business tries too hard to get their money. If college students even get a whiff of unappreciated advertising, we will disregard any marketing or advertising efforts from that company. 

Here are the 5 creative ways you can use Yik Yak to boost your local business to the next level.

1. Utilize Storytelling

Storytelling is all about making a deeper connection with your audience. It’s that “hahahaha” moment or that “oh shit” moment. With Yik Yak, storytelling is about making your Yak relatable. If you can make your Yaks relatable, short, and simple then I’d say you’ve won the hearts of many users. Something that college students can relate to may just be the attention your business needs to gain some customers.

2. Post Nostalgic Pictures

Yaking images along with your post is a good way to stand out. But you can’t just post a random picture. It needs to be meaningful, something that will strike a positive emotion in your audience. Since Millennials are still human (shocking I know) we love getting into our feelings and remembering all the laughs we used to have. This is why posting images like funny childhood cartoon characters or pictures of your pet puppy can be your gateway to a top Yak and many viewers.

3. Use Emoticons In Your Yaks

Emojis have become a popular way of communicating and expressing emotions. But did you know they could also be a means to grab reader’s attention? In the same way Periscope users add emojis into their titles, adding a couple perfectly placed emojis in your Yaks can really catch the user’s eye and make them more engaged.

Beware: Don’t go overboard with the emojis per yak. Too many emojis will get down voted quickly, so a couple of emojis should do the trick!

4. Consider Flash Yaks

What is a Flash Yak? Flash Yaks are a series of posted Yaks in a short amount of time that deal with the same subject. When used in the correct manner, and only on occasion, Flash Yaks can really benefit your business’ branding efforts. They can all be sent from one user or multiple users. The interesting thing about Flash Yaks is, with enough Yaks about the same topic, users will believe what they are reading or become curious about what they are reading. Flash Yaks become powerful when there is some potential for credibility.With the right Flash Yak placement, news can be spread that people wouldn’t necessarily care about or know about.

5. Keep It Casual And Tap Into Users Curiosity

In my experience, playing it casually is the best way to brand your business without seeming like you are pushing to brand your business. 'Keeping it casual' means that your Yak will consist of a picture and a question or statement about the branding strategy in just the right way. It instills curiosity in users about what you are asking. This will lead users to engage with the Yak or possibly check out where the event is happening.

Here’s an example of keeping it casual, while tapping into users curiosity. Yak something like:“What’s this tent giving out for free?” And then have a picture of your tent with a few college students getting your free product.

There you have it! 5 creative ways to use Yik Yak for your local business. So let's recap: 
- Be short, sweet, and simple with your Yaks
- Don’t Yak too much or else it will get annoying
- Be creative and keep it casual

Try all these strategies to see which one works best. Yik Yak is an app that is here to help your business grow. So, take the advantage and get your business name out there.