When it comes to social media chances are rare that you would find someone not making use of social media space. After all, it’s not called social media for no reason and which is why it’s considered to be a great space for connecting with friends, family, colleagues or just acquaintances. But now that social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest have come to be known as spaces for information and business revolution, the University officials, scholars and educators need to invest their time and money into the right kind of social media marketing strategies.
As such no one marketing strategy has ever worked and so efforts must be made to use a mix of the strategies which I will be discussing in this blog. But before I get on to discussing the tricks of the trade in social media space, let’s look at the following statistics.
As per Statista.com, the top five social media channels has the following number of monthly active users.
- Facebook is one of those social networks that has the highest number of monthly active users — 2.38 billion.
- Instagram has about 1 billion monthly active users.
- YouTube has around 1.9 billion million active users.
- LinkedIn has about 310 million monthly active users.
- While Pinterest has about 265 million monthly active users.
Now, when we dig a little deeper, we get to know that in the past few years, these sites have become so popular, that whether it’s a teenager, young adult or a senior citizen, not one can live without using a social media channel of their choice. From the viewpoint of students (either school-going or in college) or parents of those students, these social media sites are considered great from the purpose of gathering information about any particular University. But, this begs an important question — how to attract the attention of those parents and students in such a vast and competitive online space?
So, let’s get into the understanding of following social media strategies.
Establish Your Identity Through Alumni Groups
The research has shown that most prospective students make use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with their older friends or seniors in their school to get information on different Universities. So, the best way to undertake social media marketing on any channel is to post the success stories of students who have graduated recently from your University. Posting details of former students along with their work details do not just make those fresh graduates, their parents and friends feel proud, but allows prospective students and their parents to make better decisions. For example, if it’s an alumnus who is currently working in the Google or Microsoft, there’s a rare chance that somebody wouldn’t take notice of your post.
Create a Curated Content with Hashtags
In today’s competitive atmosphere, you can not be the leader unless you publish blogs on your University website and create web pieces that can provide loads of accurate information related to a particular course. Also, along with the content, you must make use of hashtags as this is another great way of establishing your identity as the most sought-after University. The hashtags are used as metadata tags to enable words or phrases more searchable on the social media channel where they are being used. A study by Utah State University has shown that about 43% of users find hashtags quite useful and also actively share them. An informative content on any trending event when used with popular hashtags can create a spark in the minds of admission-seeking youths.
Encourage Participation in Your Live Social Media Events
Most students want to see the realistic side of any University which may mean a webinar being conducted by an admission counsellor of your University and when students can get answers to admission queries in real-time. Though this trend has picked up in the last few years, for the most part it still remains underutilized. Live streaming on a regular basis will help build your institution’s brand image. For such webinars, it’s important that you choose topics relevant to career options for students and undertake Q & A sessions. Such live events especially those that you take on Facebook can be recorded by you for later use when you can rerun such webinars for the benefit of prospective students who missed watching you the very first time.
Appoint Social Media Managers To Effectively Manage The Target Groups
Granted that if you use paid advertising method on any of the social media channels such as Faecbook or Twitter or LinkedIn, you will have your target groups well-defined and easy tracking of user behavior, the organic way of generating leads can also bear returns, albeit in the long-run. For example, when Universities appoint their own social media managers, they work around posting the latest news through the social media newsfeed or through online newsletters. In this way, you can highlight the benefits on a daily basis. Universities like Colorado or Westminster take an active interest in posting stories on Snapchat and Instagram respectively to spark interest in the minds of users. An important point to keep in mind is — on what frequency will you be posting such news or stories and are you posting them in the right way. By all means, creating visual media files, filters and geotagging to show the main attractions, libraries, labs etc. of your University would be a smart idea. In order to maintain a consistent presence on social media channels, you can also create social media calendars and schedule your posts by automating them.
At the end of it all, whether you make use of some or all of the above social media marketing strategies, the only way to track your business progress is to correctly identify and measure the KPI’s against the goals set by you in the very beginning of social media marketing. Universities at times do report that despite the heavy user engagement in social media spaces did not pave the way for high lead-sales conversion ratio but may be that’s half the story behind their failure. The other side of the story is that without having a well-designed landing page for your website all efforts will turn out to be sisyphean.