While most universities have embraced social media for branding and alumni outreach, it’s also a crucial method for reaching out to prospective and incoming students. Using a data-driven approach to learning about your audiences and then delivering the best content at the right time can help your school achieve admissions goals and build relationships even before students step onto your campus.
Understand your audience
Each social network has a different audience overall, and different brands can have disparate audiences, even on the same platform. For example, an account for business alumni will likely have a much different group of followers than the account for an incoming freshman class! Using a social media analytics tool can help you identify which types of content perform best on each of your social accounts, on every platform, so you can continue to create content that resonates with each particular audience according to your primary KPIs.
Content (still) matters
While creating memes to hop on the latest social media trends can bring you short-term success and engagement on social, it’s important to make sure the content you’re creating is serving the message you’re trying to convey to prospective students and parents. Include student and alumni success stories, information about campus life, student testimonials and events where everyone – even prospects – can get involved. And if you do decide that memes should be part of your content mix, make sure the story you’re trying to tell about your institution doesn’t get lost.
Same message, different delivery
If you really want to drive home a message – whether it’s an important enrollment deadline, a big game, or an alumni success story – consider diversifying the content for each destination. Use square images for a carousel on Instagram or LinkedIn. Create vertical videos for TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Facebook and Instagram Reels, and Instagram Stories. Vary the types of posts you publish on Facebook, LinkedIn and X by mixing link, image and video content to give your posts a better chance of reaching varied audiences who tend to interact more with particular types of content. Whatever type of content you’re publishing, you can schedule the content all at once using an effective social media management tool, to ensure the message gets out at just the right time.
Take advantage of student-generated content
Encourage your current students to share their favorite parts of university life on social, and amplify their best posts on your brand accounts to help tell your school’s story. Offering real-life rewards – like university swag or on-campus perks – can give students a little extra push to make their content shine.
Build student communities early
Using a student-friendly platform like Instagram or TikTok to create social accounts for each incoming freshman class can give your new students a way to get to know each other – and the campus – before they even set foot on campus. Share insider stories from upperclassmen and alumni while using well-timed posts to remind students about important dates and events to get them integrated into campus life, right from the start.
Keep an eye on the competition
Prospective students have thousands of options when it comes to choosing a university, so be sure you know what your competitors are saying. Identify other universities of similar size or with similar student populations, and build lists of accounts to track their successes alongside your own. Using SND’s Search and Listen makes it easy to create and share lists, plus sort by engagement to understand the content that’s resonating with their audiences.
Ready to learn how SND can help you level up your social media game? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a demo.