Social media can be a powerful tool for the education industry, especially when student enrollment is a goal. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and others offer a place to showcase your students, courses and school experience. Being active on these platforms and making smart social advertising decisions can help fill your classrooms.
No two schools are alike, and education level, course offerings, and other important school features will influence marketing decisions. However, there are some general tips any school marketing director or department should keep in mind when using social media for student recruitment.
Set Recruitment Goals
When using social media for student recruitment, be specific. For instance, is your goal to improve enrollment for the coming school year, or to increase enrollment over the next five years at a measured pace? Your definition of success may be increased awareness or positive word-of-mouth about your school, specific student numbers or other outcomes you’re interested in tracking.
As an example, the New York Military Academy wanted to increase enrollment, but it first needed to increase awareness and combat false rumors in the community that the school had closed. Marketing goals included driving traffic to the school’s website and increasing inquiry calls. Whatever your objectives, ensure that you and your team are clear on what they are and how you will measure them.
Target Your Audience
Always consider who you are speaking to when using social media as a marketing tool. For example, if your school serves younger students, your primary target audience will be parents. If you’re recruiting for a private high school, college or other post-secondary schools, your target audience is likely to be a mix of students and parents. Consider geography as well. If yours is a private elementary, middle or high school, chances are you will be focusing recruitment efforts in the surrounding neighborhoods, whereas higher education and other institutions may have bigger, broader awareness goals.
Social media platforms provide powerful targeting capabilities. For instance, a private elementary school could use Facebook Ads to target parents in nearby neighborhoods based on demographics (location and age of children in the home), plus relevant keywords. Higher education organizations may target parents, high school students or even current college students who may be interested in changing majors or continuing their education.
Use social media to inform and educate your audience, not just to sell your school. In addition to describing the benefits and specific offerings of your school, use your social media content to share tips and resources your target audience needs and wants. Share testimonials, photos and videos of actual students at your school (not stock) engaged in real classes, events, meals, and extracurricular activities. Help prospective students get to know the staff and teachers by featuring them in social media content. Post content that’s relatable and helps them imagine what it’s like to attend your school.
Use Social as Part of an Integrated Approach
Working with TEGNA, the New York Military Academy launched an integrated campaign featuring PPC search engine marketing focused on keywords like “military school” and “military academy,” combined with Facebook Ads to leverage the platform’s advanced targeting. This integrated approach provided them the ability to reach and influence both the families and students most likely to enroll at the school in a cost-effective way.
Read more about how search and social helped the New York Military Academy achieve its marketing objectives, increasing website traffic, call volume and enrollment inquiries at a critical time. Click here to get the full story, or click below to view more marketing success stories.
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