Social Media Marketing for Higher Education refers to the use of social media platforms to promote and market educational institutions and programs to prospective students, current students, alumni, and other stakeholders. This can include creating and managing social media accounts, developing content, and running advertising campaigns on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
With a treasure trove of data available in user profiles, it is easier to target quality leads directly. For enrollment marketers, it becomes much easier to search for and pitch to leads rather than spending a large chunk of time on organic marketing. Enrollment marketing teams can present their offerings directly to students based on their interests and searches.
Another important element of social enrollment marketing is its ability to provide leads by location. This way university’s social media strategy can focus on ideal regions and audiences based on where they are located, or which location they want to study in.
What is Social Media Lead Generation?
Leads are people who show interest in educational institutions and their content, hence they find a certain university or college brand engaging. Social media marketing for enrollment provides schools with a complex and highly intricate set of data that can allow marketers to create more focused content while allowing enrollment officers to engage with audiences when they are ready.
Just to be clear, leads are not conversions. They have either a high or low propensity to convert in the near future. Social media marketing for higher education allows marketing teams to filter a huge number of qualified leads into their sales funnels, with higher chances of conversions.
Social media strategy for higher education institutions is a strategic marketing plan that attracts leads with the most potential to their branded social media profiles.
Unlock the Potential of Social Media: Discover the Benefits of a Strong Marketing Strategy
There are significant benefits of having a sound strategic social media strategy for generating leads for universities, here are a few popular ones:
1. Elevate Your Brand Awareness
Social media marketing for higher ed branding fills a large gap for institutes, as it allows them to engage with audiences directly. It leaves a lasting impression on students as they can follow feeds and talk to institutions on a personal level.
2. Establishing Trust by Building Relationships with Leads
Social marketing allows universities and colleges to humanize their brand. Students can give the institution a personality, hence building trust with them every time they interact with the social profile.
3. A Better understanding of Audience Behaviors
Social profiles provide detailed and intricate insight into student behaviors that identify their interests, likes, dislikes, aspirations, and motivations. Marketers can identify what students demand from universities and what motivates them to pursue a higher education program.
4. Increase Qualified Traffic to Landing Pages
Social profiles can considerably improve qualified traffic to landing pages, as students browse through the important course information.
5. Additional Source for Marketing and Lead Generation
Social media profiles are now a rich source of qualified traffic, allowing marketers to immediately reach out to audiences, and generate ideal leads that will convert at the right time.
6. Improves Social Learning and Listening Activities
Marketers can directly monitor the behavior and activities of audiences and learn from them. By closely listening to what prospective students are saying and sharing, marketing professionals can get a clearer picture of what type of content marketing for universities is ideal for social platforms.
Challenges to Higher Education Social Media Marketing
Although social media is being used as a marketing trend in higher education, there are certain challenges that restrict marketers from what they can achieve. Here is a list that marketers should plan for:
- A decline in engagement and conversion rates of social media audiences
- The imperative needs to stand out from competing universities
- Engagement on a consistent basis causes time loses
- A constant need to develop creative content magnets for students
- Mitigating social media & PR disasters
- Need to consistently improve social media marketing strategies
15 Best Practices for Social Media Marketing for Higher Education
Being social media is an essential component of digital marketing for higher education institutions, social media marketing requires marketers to follow recommended best practices to be a success.
When conducted the right way, social media marketing can be an invaluable tool for higher education institutions.
1. Know your audience
The most important aspect of the higher education social marketing campaign is knowing your audience. This is usually achieved by creating personas and understanding the dynamics of different social media campaigns.
Marketers can strategically identify the right platforms, and the audience behavior in addition to the content they engage with. Social media has the potential to present the right message instantly to the right audiences, and with modern social tools, higher education marketers can immediately identify the stage of the student journey by simply researching their audiences.
2. Choose the right Social Media platforms
Choosing the correct social media platform is essential to minimize marketers’ time losses while getting the highest ROI from their engagements and content.
Global Web Index identified that internet users have an estimated 5.5 social profiles, which take up close to 30% of their online browsing time. Reachforce mentioned in research that 39% of marketers generated leads through Facebook, while 30% secure leads through Twitter campaigns.
When it comes to recruitment strategies for students, higher education institutions can use social media to target prospective students.
LinkedIn is by far the largest contributor to B2B sales, or in our case institution-to-student conversions. LinkedIn campaigns according to a Lithium report generated more than 80% of B2B leads.
Facebook is the leader when it comes to social lead generation, celebrating over 3 billion users. Search Engine Journal establishes that enrollment marketers looking for lead generation should consider Facebook as one of their primary platforms, with over 200 million businesses already engaging with audiences.
YouTube ads reach somewhere around 2.3 billion people, according to the Search Engine Journal. 62% of US audiences visit the platform daily, making it an active platform to engage audiences and nurture them towards conversions.
Instagram has already established that 90% of its audiences follow favorite brands through its platform. Instagram identified that 87% take an action or convert.
3. Make your Content Strategy around Admissions
The social media marketing strategy is generally built around content, so what should higher education marketers create to engage students?
A content marketing in higher education focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined target audience. In the context of higher education, this can include creating blog posts, infographics, videos, and other types of content that provide information and resources for prospective students, current students, alumni, and other stakeholders.
A chunk of social media marketing campaigns should be built around valuable content that includes:
- Course outlines and learning objectives
- Interactive campus tours
- Student testimonials
- Overviews of academic programs and degree requirements
- Information about campus life and student resources
- Tips and advice for prospective students and their families
- Success stories and profiles of current students and alumni
- Announcements and updates about events and activities happening on campus
- Research and publications by faculty and staff
4. Be consistent with Hosting Online Events to showcase your Programs
Virtual events in higher ed are an effective way to engage and connect with students while social distancing. For successful social media marketing leads generation campaigns, enrollment marketers must be consistent with webinars, video packages, video guides, and ask-me-anything events.
Fulfilling the needs of the student by giving them a clear answer to their pain points is a great way to engage them in the enrollment funnel. As students discover more and see the benefits of joining a university, they are more inclined to engage with branded higher education profiles.
5. Use effective calls to action on your Social Media posts
Having clear and effective call-to-action buttons is essential to generating quality leads over social platforms. These don’t necessarily have to lead audiences to an enrollment page, but providing them links to official websites, mailing lists, video guides, dedicated landing pages, and course material is a great way to build trust with students.
6. Post Student and Alumni success stories are also a great way to attract new Students.
Case studies, alumni stories, and student testimonials are highly engaging content types that almost all brands use on social media profiles. Providing students with social proof of success, excellence and growth is one of the most effective ways to engage and convert them to enroll.
7. Allow Students on Social Media: So they highlight campus life and share their learning experiences and journey.
Allowing existing students to engage on social profiles is a very effective way to let leads see how life is on campus. As we discussed above, social proof is a very persuasive way to engage more leads and convert, with over 61% of online customers reading reviews before they purchase something.
8. Use Paid advertising on Social Media Platforms to Reach more people quickly
Paid ads are very effective on social platforms, especially because social platforms carry very complex and personal data that delivers ads to the most relevant audiences. Facebook ads for higher education institutions can be an effective way to reach and engage with potential students, current students, alumni, and other key audiences.
In addition to audience behavior, social platforms carry important details including personal interests and demographics that are not easily attainable through organic marketing.
9. Analyze the Results of your Social Media campaigns and adjust as needed
It is a very important practice to keep an eye on social media campaigns and track essential metrics to ensure the ROI of these strategies. Due to the monotonous nature of social media marketing, it is essential to improvise and improve strategies based on results.
Enrollment marketers should gauge the results from higher education social media campaigns by measuring leads, conversions, engagement, likes, and click-throughs to ensure that invested time and resources are paying off.
10. Keep an Eye on your Competitor’s Social Media Accounts
It is a very effective tip to keep an eye on the social marketing activities of the competition. A lot can be deciphered simply by looking at the content, event marketing, and engagement being conducted by competing universities.
Competing social media profiles provide insights that lead to more creative content, unique ways of engaging students, and how to establish a student journey through social feeds.
11. Be Responsive and Engage your Audience
Being active is essential on social media profiles, leaving social platforms for longer intervals can cause students to shift their attention to competing universities. Engaging your audiences by answering their unique queries, addressing criticism, and responding to grievances can have highly advantageous effects for university social media marketing.
It is not always about content. Students want value through meaningful interactions that appreciate their interest in a brand. Answering simple questions, providing feedback, and solving student issues can lead to a positive brand image.
12. Integrate Chatbots for quick response and Lead Generation Process
Chatbots are now an essential element of almost every business that engages audiences on social media. Not all institutions can offer 24/7 support and assistance, hence it is a great idea to answer common questions, solve common issues and deliver custom messages through these chatbots.
Many organizations are even replacing meaningless forms with highly intuitive chatbots that not only respond to queries but also gather critical data that can allow enrollment marketers to improve their social media marketing campaigns.
13. Collaborate with higher education experts and influencers for sign-up drives
Influencer marketing has become a leading driver to improve social media marketing strategies. Partnering with higher education professionals and influencers can provide a great platform for social proof while sharing great content to reach larger audiences than academics already have.
Influencers bring trust and engagement to universities & colleges and collaboration. Experts can have a significant impact on enrollment drives during admission seasons.
14. Host Giveaways, a referral program, and fun trivia to keep your audience engaged.
Although giveaways and referrals are not an ideal part of the higher education social media marketing mix, it is a great way to engage students with the brand. Publishing giveaways, competitions, trivia and quizzes allows higher education marketers to keep their audiences engaged with their brand.
Another important aspect is publishing scholarship programs on social feeds since these are bound to attract massive attention from target audiences.
15. Promote your Big Events and What happening on campus
A very popular tip is prompting events and life at the campus. Students love to engage in extracurricular activities and the surrounding attractions near universities.
Announcing and marketing big university events through social media platforms can not only attract engagement but also allows prospects to come and experience life on campus.
We hope you now have a better understanding of social media marketing for higher education institutions. Social enterprise marketing has fast become a major tool in the enrollment marketers’ arsenal, simply because of its massive global reach.
However, for many institutions, creating and executing a successful marketing campaign can be a daunting task, requiring a significant investment of time and resources. In such cases, one option to consider is partnering with a specialized higher-education marketing agency. These agencies have the expertise and resources to help universities and colleges create and implement effective marketing campaigns that drive results.