Recent research has confirmed that Millennials are a social bunch. A whopping 75% of Millennials (or Gen Y-ers, if you prefer) are on at least one social networking site, and as the digital and social space continues to expand, it’s not unreasonable to expect similar social trends with the Gen Z-ers. Why does this matter? As younger generations gravitate more and more to the social space, the brands that target them need to do the same — this includes colleges and universities.
Unfortunately, there are a surprising number of institutions that don’t have a strong social presence. Although this may not have as much of an impact on the amount of applicants a large, popular school receives, it can make a world of difference in getting potential students interested and engaged. We did some research and found these four great tactics that socially successful schools are using to get students talking.
Address common questions
Universities and colleges field a lot of questions, from class registration to financial aid, and they can come from anyone from the greenest applicant to the most seasoned senior. Although sections of the institution’s site are often created around answering these very questions, younger users are more apt to connect with a brand or institution via their social accounts. Yale University has recognized this, and is using it as an opportunity to create polished imagery and answer common questions, while also pointing readers in the right direction to learn more.
Share tips for new students/applicants
One of the most confusing things for teenagers applying to colleges (and their parents) is making sense of the application and financial aid process. Since more and more students are turning to social media to learn about schools before applying to them, schools have the opportunity to address their concerns with just a status update. Once again, Yale has stepped up to this challenge by regularly sharing resources of interest with applicants — like the financial aid calculator referenced in the post above. Tips, tricks and links like this go a long way towards putting the applicant’s mind at ease and building a great relationship between the institution and the student before he or she even steps into the classroom.
Highlight students for their achievements
Students can accomplish a lot, so why not highlight their achievements? Whether it’s an athletic, academic or extracurricular achievement, institutions that craft posts around this theme see a lot of engagement. Stanford University regularly highlights present and past students, from race-car drivers to filmmakers, as illustrated in the examples above. Not only does this give the university and those being recognized a sense of pride, it also gives potential students an idea of what their peers have accomplished while attending the school they’re interested in.
Give Pinterest a try (or embrace fun content across other social networks)
Yes, Pinterest makes an appearance once again. Although it may not make sense for every school, the content being shared in the pinboards can be used across other social platforms. The University of Michigan has used its boards to show off a little school spirit, its Intagram feed, glimpses of student life and the school’s history. Cute, interesting content will always be well received no matter the platform, so get creative and showcase the unique elements of your college.
What effective social strategies does your alma mater use? If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of social media marketing, check out our guides.