Trying to increase enrollment? Of course you are!
Social media can help you do just that and it’s a tool that every institution should include in its digital marketing arsenal.
But how are you supposed to get the most out of it?
You want to connect with your audience where they are. Over 84% of your high school prospects are on social, and 71% of them are active on multiple social platforms. Over three-quarters are highly active on their phones, as they send an average of 30 text messages per day. If that’s not enough, Facebook is now the most popular mobile app in America.
Ok so if your students are all online, does this mean print is dead? Well, not quite. While digital is playing an exponentially larger role, it just means the landscape is changing. And as marketers, we need to adapt or get left behind.
On the groundswell of mobile and social media usage, we need to take a 360 degree view of the print and digital experience. Teens switch between both digital and physical worlds easily. Institutions of higher learning, in turn, must think from the social handset up, and provide a stellar real world experience.
Here are some of the benefits of social and how you can integrate it into your next campaign to help supercharge your results.
There are plenty of steps in the recruitment funnel, and throughout the process, students have plenty of questions. The quicker you can respond, the longer you can keep them engaged, and social allows you to do this immediately.
Keeping a sense of humor and honesty about everything helps as well. They might even share your conversation – turning what could have been a negative interaction into a positive that could not have been possible on any other medium. In the exchange below, the Bradley University social media manager, kept the conversation about Search emails light, human and honest.
Monitor Perceptions and Activity
The beauty of social is you can see in real-time what students think about your school – from a wave of excitement about the school’s big win in the NCAA tournament, to a single disgruntled student upset about his lunch that day. Knowing what people are saying about you will keep your finger on the pulse of your audience, and can help you adjust your strategy accordingly.
Monitor Your Competition
Similarly, you can monitor what your competition is doing as well. Whether you watch from afar as their latest hashtag sinks, or want to imitate one of their more successful campaigns, it can help you gain an edge in the crowded field.
If you want to stand out in the competition to enroll the best students, you have to separate yourself from the pack. Prospective students are overwhelmed with mail pieces and social is the perfect way to rise above the clutter from other schools – pretty literally. Personalizing your approach through social can go a long way in recruiting the best talent.
Support Other Marketing Efforts
With all the preaching I’ve been doing on social media, I still don’t believe it should be the only medium you should use in your strategy. However, it should complement your marketing efforts to create an integrated campaign that can be translated across multiple channels – including mobile, desktop, tablet, and yes, even print. Integrating a social element instantly provides the opportunity to expand the reach of your campaign. Adding a hashtag for users to follow, or encouraging students to create their own content can produce significant results for a relatively low amount of effort.
Drive Traffic to Your Digital Properties
You certainly can’t click on a link to a website on a piece of paper. But with with social, it makes driving traffic to your site seamless – and that’s what your audience is looking for. Want to get prospects to sign up for your next recruiting event? Social can help. Want to drive students to your shiny new landing page? Social. Want to encourage them to deposit and enroll? Social can even help there.
No matter what your digital strategy looks like, social media can and should be an integral part of your campaigns. Use its features wisely, and watch your enrollment numbers rise.