Dynamic, fast and ever-evolving, social media marketing has taken the digital world by storm. The younger generations’ primary means of interaction in the digital space is through social media. They are displaying their love for social media in their everyday lives by active interaction through various channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
It has come as no surprise that institutions that offer higher education like colleges and universities have embraced social media to recruit the right kind of students. Using the power of engaging content on different social media platforms, educational institutions are interacting with current students/faculty, staying connected with their alumni and attracting prospective students to their doors.
An innovative social media marketing strategy needs to be conceptualized and implemented by universities and colleges to expand their social presence. Educational institutions should use social media as a powerful tool to strengthen their communication, recruit the right kind of students and offer solutions for overcoming challenges. Social media can also help universities and colleges increase their own engagement, following and generate a greater ROI.
Social Media – A Powerful Tool for Student Recruitment
Recruiting the right kind of students is always a major cause for concern for colleges and universities. There are several factors that have contributed to this pressure namely, facing increased competition from online providers in education and campus engagement drives. Today, educational institutions are flocking to social media to showcase their curriculum, facility and campus culture. Advertising on social media should be the main recruitment strategy to target and attract the student audience.
According to reports, teenagers spend as much as nine hours a day on various social media platforms to engage and interact with peers. This helps them gather information on what’s trending in their communities to make important choices that will shape their future. When it comes to admissions, there is an authority that comes when students recruit one another and it is called viral marketing.
Today’s generation is more interested in learning about a prospective institute on their own terms and in ways that matter to them. To utilize tactics on marketing through social media, start by examining these following factors and some relevant examples.
- Identify your institute’s social media structure – Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, Pinterest, Instagram and the list goes on. Find out the platforms your target student audiences are interested in. There may be industry-trends that are popular, but you need to identify where there is a high or low volume of followers and engagement in your social media pages. The University of Berkeley showcases the achievements of their current and previous students on their Facebook page to draw in followers and increase engagement.
- Form a social media task force – Recruit a team that understands the core concepts of offering social media marketing services and collaborate it with those who understand the crux of student enrollment and recruitment. Professional social media consultants will be able to deliver the right kind of information at the right time to students and appeal to the general audience as well. The University of Berkeley undertakes cross-promotional activities for all their social media accounts maintained by a social media agency. During the beginning of the academic year, when its move-in week, the university called for new students to post their moving day pictures using the hashtag #BerkeleyBound to drive traffic on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This unique strategy developed by their agency, culminated in increased social media activity for all their accounts.
- Form a social media marketing strategy – As an educational institution, you need to perform an audit of your social media presence across all the platforms. Check whether any holes/gaps exist and if your current social landscape is aligned with your recruitment plan and mission. To highlight an example, The National University of Singapore has implemented their core strategy by posting excerpts on student activities, research notes/insights, alumni achievements, etc. to give students a bird’s eye view of what they can expect or relate to in regard to choosing the program they desire. This way, the university makes sure that their target audience, which is in this case their prospective students get exactly what they want to kickstart their career.
- Match student recruitment goals with social media – Social media management is not a one-way street. The platform is a forum to facilitate interesting conversations and interactions among the student population. You can tell your story and the core message of your institution which is critical to recruiting the right kind of students. Students are excited to see action in the digital space, so make sure your educational institution offers relevant and relatable information on any social media platform. They should have the opportunity to explore what you have to offer as an institution that matches with their aspirations and goals. For e.g., The National University of Singapore offers undergraduate and graduate programs that is broad, rigorous and involves in-depth research in science, medicine, technology, finance and the humanities. The university is internationally respected for their high-quality research that continues to grow over the years. Their social media content aligns with their unique selling point of providing potential students the opportunity to take up education programs that focuses on critical and complex issues confronting Asia and the world.
Your educational institute is a business and if it doesn’t capitalize on social media tactics and strategies, it will become void among students and in the digital space. Find out How Social Media Can Influence The Business Strategy and the parameters that need to be followed to make your institution virtually visible on different social media platforms.
For a more elaborate understanding of social media management and its influence on businesses