Which social media platforms can prove effective for higher education institutions?
13 Aug 2019

Which social media platforms can prove effective for higher education institutions?

Used regularly by a worldwide audience, it’s hardly surprising that social media platforms are rapidly becoming one of the most

13 Aug 2019

Used regularly by a worldwide audience, it’s hardly surprising that social media platforms are rapidly becoming one of the most vital aspects of digital marketing. Enabling brands to connect with consumers, drive sales, and raise their profile locally, nationally and potentially globally, these platforms are driving the way we think, and that influence extends to users research into brand reliability.

If you or your marketing team need training or help with developing a social media strategy for a University, then please feel free drop the team a line as we would be happy to help..

Here’s how social media platforms can be effective for higher education:

Increase Student Engagement for your University

Engagement is vital in establishing a successful online presence which displays your University as a leading establishment in its field. Social media platforms can implement an effective communications system to connect with your target audience, proving particularly useful in crisis response situations as a way of distributing accurate information to a large audience of students and, if necessary, the media. Posting updates regularly enables students to become aware of upcoming events held at your institution and, therefore, increases involvement and interest in the University.  Moreover, social media platforms are regularly evolving, adapting to suit audiences through a range of new features, helping your school or University to connect directly with its audience, e.g. questions feature on Instagram stories.

Build a dedicated University community

Building a dedicated online community across your University’s social media channels will optimise the use of each channel, making it more popular amongst your audiences. This will only be possible through posting relevant and interesting content and maintaining an excellent level of responsiveness, the key to a successful social media presence.

Engaging and interacting with followers who view the platform as a way to directly communicate with the University will aid in heightening your University’s reputation whilst publishing the correct results to any questions asked.  Additionally, this extra social media activity will benefit your University’s awareness where, through observing activities on your pages/profiles you will see audience interests and opinions, helping you to understand how to create even more relevant content for your University’s social community.

Improved brand awareness of your University

Having a social media presence allows those interested in your educational institution to easily find and connect with you, helping to expand the University’s recognition. It also enables you to increase your brand visibility through the use of particular hashtags, topics, and locations across social platforms which have relevance to the location your University is based whether that is Oxford or Manchester. Moreover, through the correct use of social media, your University will have the opportunity to establish a voice and distribute an image of your brand, helping it to be seen in a more positive light – you can bring a human element to an educational institution. This will drive traffic to your University’s website as better quality content will generate a higher amount of traffic.

Drive Student Enrolment

Social media platforms are highly beneficial in driving student enrolment as they enable you to present visual content displaying ‘University life’ to prospectus students. This can be aided through regular use of a university hashtag, allowing past, present and future students to post their own experiences making your platforms appear more trustworthy. Reposting and keeping an excellence response record can help your University to develop connections with students whilst standing out from the rest of the crowd with unique content, increasing the likelihood of students wanting to attend your institution and maintaining contact with alumni.

Adapting different social media strategies for each platform

Whilst it is important to understand how you can use your University social media channels to benefit your institution, it is pivotal to use the correct strategies across each. Strategies which may work on Instagram will not necessarily create a positive outcome on LinkedIn. Setting up new social platforms can feel overwhelming, so it’s best to start by considering if social media is the right fit for you. Whilst many Universities do benefit from social media marketing, this is a result of finding the right strategy and knowing your audience. With careful consideration of your audience and allocating a set budget, it’s possible to boost brand awareness and drive enrolment numbers with some clever social media marketing.

Ultimately, the success of your University’s social media presence comes down to how it is presented across each of the different platforms. Each platform has its own unique benefits, and it is vital you refrain from pushing your audience into one monstrous social page. Knowing whether your audience would be targeted better through images and videos (e.g. Facebook, YouTube and Instagram) or written, data-based content (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn) is vital in determining success. This can be corrected through creating subcategories (i.e. multiple groups) with specifically selected information and knowing how your audience differs across multiple platforms to keep them interested and connected with content relevant to them.

LinkedIn and Facebook allow your University to both establish a professional profile online whilst building networks with prospective, current and student alumni. These pages benefit predominantly through posts which gain a response from its community, e.g. questions and links to university updates. This can help in building a dedicated community where your audience feels safe in asking questions and establishing a connection with your institution.

Additionally, Twitter can enable you to quickly reach students to share content and provide information. This particular social network can help you to expand your University’s brand awareness and increase student engagement as Twitter provides the ideal settings to ask questions, have conversations, join discussions or debates across a multitude of areas, not only on your own page.

The increase of visual platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, are ideal as they enable you to present a true image of your University and its activities with a real-time, authentic presence. This can benefit you by driving enrolment as prospective students will be able to search hashtags and story locations to view events at your University. Moreover, the use of short video content produced across these platforms through ‘stories’ combined with added features can be the perfect solution to getting students involved with creating and distributing their own engaging content which resonates with others who are in a similar position to them, showcasing your university at its premium standard.

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