A higher education establishment without a social media presence is like a broken abacus: ineffective and old fashioned. With Millenials living more of their lives on the internet than any other generation, social networks are without a doubt the number one way to reach out to current and prospective students.
Social media provides an opportunity to engage with students more deeply and meaningfully than through traditional print and poster marketing. This gives colleges and universities the opportunity to promote their emotional intelligence and highlight the human touch of educational establishments. In a way, social media is more than a marketing tool, it’s a new way to continue the task of teaching, and to push an institution’s values further than ever before.
Three Ways Colleges Can Use Social Media
1. Student Recruitment
The most obvious use of social media, and one that most colleges and universities have cottoned on to already. Attracting students to apply to your college or visit your campus has never been easier than with social media.
Cheryl Martin, a social media expert at Studydemic and UKWritings, says “never underestimate the power of visual content. Instagram has become a market leader when it comes to engaging young adults, and its content revolves around highly-shareable videos and images. Find ways to promote your offering through visual content and you can reach much further than textual marketing ever could.”
2. Engagement & Community
The next way in which social media is indispensable is its potential to reach students on an individual and personal level. So often the greatest challenge facing an education institution is demonstrating its human capacity. A college is made up of human beings, but at a certain point humanity is lost behind bureaucracy and you lose the students’ trust.
Social media can help you regain this trust. Social networks were designed (supposedly) with the intention of putting your real life on show and connecting meaningfully in online spaces, so use that to your advantage.
Do this engagement right and you can make a long-term impression on students which can continue to thrive online. This is where alumni networks are so valuable: a college’s social media presence can be a place to reunite current and former students and allow them to share experiences on the institution.
3. Promote Values
This shared community links to a third use of social media for colleges: the promotion of values and actions relevant to students. Social media is like any other marketing tool in that it is a way to show off your institution’s best side. By displaying your institution’s capacity for human personality, your values of education and inclusion can really come across and stand a better chance of resonating with students.