Social media has become an integral part of 21st century learners life. According to wearesocial and hootsuite, there are currently 4 billion people who are using internet of which 3 billion are active social media users. The number is huge considering the population of the world which is around 7.7 billion.
Considering these stats it is clear that social media is one of the best platform for any industry to increase their reach and awareness among their audience.
Education enterprises can also dive into this social media pool when it comes to reaching and engaging with their prospects, current students and alumni. This will not only help institutes to establish their brand but also help you in attracting and possibly turn prospects into your future students.
Attracting students through social media sounds easier than it actually is. Many education enterprises don’t have a social media strategy in place which they could execute. Let’s define the loosely used term “social media strategy” first according to our understanding.
“A social media strategy is one where the enterprise has found a repeatable, contextual & relevant way to engage with their audience on a regular basis leading to eyeballs, business opportunities & brand awareness.”
Below we have listed a few ways which you can attract and engage with your prospects on social media and turn them into enrolled students.
Be Active, Relevant & Engage with Students
Your institute’s website has most of the information that you have to offer. However, your website is not the only contact point where your prospective students learn about your college. To further research about your institute they are going to look for resources other than your website. Those other resources are primarily your social media channels.
Why social media? Look at the number of users on different social media channels,
It would only make sense that you communicate and engage with them over there. A website can only do as much when it comes to the exposure it can give. Students want to see what goes around in your college.
What’s the campus like? The atmosphere in your college? What goes on in your college apart from just lectures? What do alumni students have to say about the college? How much fun did students have during their tenure? And many more….
Parents, but most importantly students want to know what goes on around in your college apart from curricular activities. Apart from everyday social media posts, you need to also post stories, candid images, influencer experiences etc on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat which gives you better exposure compared to your normal feed posts. This is the first step towards awareness which will slowly position your brand deep in the minds of students & parents.
Give Them a Peek Inside Your College Campus
Stanford is known for its beautiful bay area buildings & cool climate, MIT goes through the tough winters with scenic mason buildings, Oxford & Cambridge have the picturesque British countryside towns. Amity and Manipal have a beautiful view from their campus. Each institute has a story told by its campus.
When I say give them a peek inside it doesn’t mean your classrooms and practical labs. Sure these too can be included, but I’m talking about campus life. Your social media can leverage various aspects of the infrastructure, life at the campus etc that can be felt by the prospects via some beautiful images and comments – give your prospects a glimpse of that! . Everytime you indulge in extra-curricular activities, sports days, tug-of-war ensure that your social channels such as FB, Instagram or Twitter share that.
Share pictures, videos and results from the events and other seminars that go on in your university. Go live with the event, interview students about their excitement for the same. If possible, make a trailer for your upcoming event apart from just banner promotion. You could encourage students to develop creative videos and Giffy’s and also post them on their own pages tagging the college thereby creating influencers.
Now when it comes to sharing images of your campus, be unique.
“Look at our students studying hard for the exams”
“Work hard, Play hard”, etc is not original and unique
Be creative about it, look at this post from Yale University,
A simple post with a unique copy and eye-catching photos. You can do something similar but don’t put too much focus on your students studying, because that’s something that happens in all colleges. Rather focus on the surroundings, that’s what your prospect students want to see.
Share News, Events and Informative Content
When it comes to being active on social media, remember, you just cannot keep on adding promotional posts. Too much of promotions will just make you look like an advertisement firm. Having a regular monthly newsletter instead really works well.
Don’t be like one of those monotonous universities, be sure that you share something worth reading and valuable (Refrain from political news if you can) for your prospects and current students as well.
Articles must contain information that is helpful for the students, like
“Getting started with college life: Do’s and Don’ts”, or “Places around your college worth visiting”.
Your page can act as a source of sharing news that your prospective students might be interested in.
Take a look at this post from Harvard Business School,
Student, Alumni & Faculty Generated Content
When it comes to convincing prospect, no one better than their peers can sway their decision to your university. In comparison to your admissions counselor, your current students can make a larger impact on them.
Putting up a small article about students describing their campus life can be an effective way to attract prospects. A video can also work where students discuss their career and goals. Interviewing ex-students who were a part of your organization and where they are now will help you reach a wider audience while the student shares it on his profile.
Another great tool to use are #hashtags. You can create a hashtag trend for your institution which can be used across social media by students, alumni or teachers during any events, seminars, or graduation. This is one of the easiest ways to generate content from your faculty and students.
Check out the number of posts #harvarduniversity has
Nearly 124k posts made by the university, students, and people talking about Harvard. This will help the university to build awareness amongst their prospects, helping them to make the right decision for their future.
Engage with Students – Q&A, Webinars and Live Sessions
Choosing the right college/institute is one of the biggest decision that a student has to make in the course of their lifetime. They obviously must have a number of questions regarding it. It’s a good thing to have a FAQs section from the start, but each and every candidate that you approach, will have different queries and concerns.
To attend these burning questions immediately you can have a Q&A session on facebook or twitter. This will help your institute to engage with prospects and get to know the most common problems/questions they have.
Engaging with your prospects, current students, and graduates will help your institute to be known for being socially active and helpful when it comes to a brand prospective.
Figures from Pew Research Center suggests that 88% of the population between the age group of 18 to 29 years use any form of social media. This stat alone should be enough for you to put more efforts into your social media presence.
Social media will play a fundamental role in education marketing strategy for brand conscious education enterprise. The ones who embrace it will leverage the power to build a robust, brand focused & relevant voice among the student & parent community. The ones who don’t will be missing – the next generation of education marketing wave.