As digital marketers, we’re always looking for new and next ways to reach our target audience; to meet them where they’re at with a message that’s most relevant to them. With 70% of students using social media to research colleges and universities, the opportunity for higher ed marketers to begin a dialogue with prospective students begins long before they schedule a campus visit.
But the social landscape is ever-changing, often leaving us wondering which channels are most effective for our unique audiences. Strategic efforts through both paid and organic social media can be influential in engaging your potential students. However, paid social can get you in front of users that may still be at the very beginning of the recruitment process. To determine the best practices for budget allocation across social media platforms, consider your overall recruitment budget, number of platforms, geographic targeting, target audience age and type of program.
Navigating your way through these social channels is no easy task, but we’ve created this overview to help you understand the capabilities of each platform, the demographics of its user base and some general trends and best practices across the different social channels.
Social Media Channels for Driving Brand Awareness
With the roll out of self-serve ads, the option to advertise on Snapchat is much more budget-friendly for higher ed, and the swipe-up rate is 5x higher than the average CTR on other social media platforms. Using Snapchat in combination with other platforms can boost branding for undergraduate schools and programs and help nudge consumers toward the next step of the enrollment funnel. Now that’s something to snap about!
Twitter typically works well with undergraduate arts and education programs by targeting the younger audiences that are more active on this platform. Utilizing informational or entertaining content can help to engage these users while providing value to get them connected to the brand.
Spotify is a growing advertising platform, out-pacing radio for younger audiences and constantly becoming more mobile among listeners. Marketers can gain access to user listening habits to inform ad space buying decisions and increase brand recognition. Because this platform is popular for younger listeners, it works well with undergraduate campaigns or programs that require little work experience.
Combined with the ability to target audiences by topic, keyword and demographics, YouTube has become an influential platform in boosting awareness, improving reach and capturing your audience’s attention. YouTube can work for a variety of undergraduate or graduate programs to give exposure to key aspects of your offerings.
Prospective students and alumni utilize subreddits to discuss many education related topics ranging from program acceptance to admissions processes, and marketers can target by these niche communities with specific interests. Reddit can be a great place to gather prospective student information, generate a sense of community and engage with users in real-time for a variety of programs, especially those in tech and STEM fields.
Getting Social in Higher Ed
Students make decisions for enrollment based on hundreds of factors, and oftentimes these decisions are rooted in brand familiarity and recognition. The opportunity to place your advertisements on a variety of social channels not only communicates the value of your program, but builds a foundation for your relationship that can impact every decision made moving forward.
This post is part one in a two-part series designed to help higher ed marketers make sense of social channels. Read part two to understand which channels help generate leads!