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Attracting Potential Students via Social Media in Higher Education

Mac and plantsThe majority of your current potential students have grown up surrounded by quickly developing technology, and they can interact with it on a more natural level than any previous generation has ever been able to; they are the millennial generation.

Following this tech-savvy age we have the digital natives. These guys have grown up in the age of the smartphone and the apple watch. Technology is second nature to this generation; their understanding of it is almost intuitive, and they will be your potential students in just a few short years. As such, integrating the digital world into your marketing mix is crucial.

Why is it important that we understand the world that younger generations live in?

We hear the terms ‘millennial’ and ‘digital native’ thrown around all too often, but as an education provider, this is your target audience. As a higher education provider, you need to actively attract members of these generations to your higher education institution – a feat that high schools and primary schools escape, as the decision does not fall to the student in those cases.

Students are more connected to the digital world than ever before, and they are using it as their first point-of-call when making decisions about where to study for the most important qualification of their life.

How should you go about this?

Be approachable: potential students are looking for somewhere to begin their adult life. They need to feel comfortable and looked after – for many of them this will be their first time living away from home. As such, you need to ensure that your social presence is friendly and personable. This means interacting with students when they put questions to you on your social media channels. These platforms are not news channels, they are social channels.

Share blogs and FAQs: answer questions before they are even asked. This will build trust and instil a level of confidence in potential students. In this instance, transparency is key, ambiguity will ruin your marketing efforts.

Use your brand advocates: by this I mean your current and previous students. These guys will be able to connect with potential future students in a way that tutors can’t. They are relatable and will portray a level of honesty, as they have no vested interest in attracting new students – unlike your marketing team. Use a mixture of high-achieving students and socially active students, such as sports team captains or society committee members. You need to show the work-life-happiness balance that your institution offers. Higher education is not just about getting a degree, for most of your potential students it is a life experience, and a huge step.

Share news and events: Create a buzz around higher education institution, show what is going on and what you have to offer them. Remember, they are paying for this degree; with the huge number of institutions and opportunities out there, the student is more like a customer than ever before. Your institution is bound to have loads going on, so let them know about it and get them excited about being involved in such an exciting community!

What other ways do you use social media to reach out to potential students? Have you tried any of the methods above? Let us know in the comments below.



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