Social Media Campaigning for Higher Education Marketing

Colleges and universities marketing to prospective students need to go where the students are, and they're online. Pew Internet notes that 95 percent of teens that between ages 12 and 17 use the Internet and 80 percent use of teens engage in social media. More and more academic institutions are relying on diverse social media platforms to learn about, reach out to and retain students. Successfully target new students by strategizing with these common social media threads.

Pinterest Social Media

Tell a Story

Promote your college or university by going beyond an online persona defined only by pristine campus photos and educational marketing messages. With a social perspective, a college can foster a friendly relationship with students. Sharing candid photos to tell your school's story can help build that relationship and make an impact. Show the range of activities and culture a prospective student can be a part of. Fun and informal pictures can have an emotional impact on a student as they picture themselves on campus.
Example:
Harvard University's Facebook page depicts a lively campus that cares about social issues and community. A candid photo showing university dignitaries sharing a light-hearted moment with prospective students is a much more effective than the standard formal portrait of the dean. Online schools also maximize social networking sites for marketing purposes. PennFoster.edu effectively uses Pinterest by spotlighting an array of career paths. The online college's Pinterest tells stories through pictures while also providing a social networking space.

Use Influential Infographics

Infographics stand as hot social media marketing tools, and higher education institutions aren't exempt from promoting academic content through this type of tool. Sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are particularly suited for sending messages to audiences with an infographic. Identify a factual theme and design your infographic content to relate to one concept. Inofographics can be designed to convey serious topics, such as how to stay safe on campus, as well as more lighter subjects, such as how to adopt good study habits.
Examples:
The College Infographics Pinterest page provides inspiring infographic pins that touch on subjects such as "The Trouble With Tuition," "Student Debt" and "Daring Degrees." Effective infographic designs strike an appealing balance between text and graphics. Designing infographics with school colors evokes school spirit, and make sure to cross-share your pins on other social networking sites.

Promote Perks

Replicate the lead of businesses that leverage social media by offering "extras" for fans and followers. For example, share easily accessible and exclusive information, host fun giveaways and promote perks for people who "like" or comment on a post. Companies know consumers like free. Approach potential college students as potential customers and apply similar marketing strategies, such as free school swag or discounted game tickets.


Example:
On its Facebook page, Johns Hopkins University gets it. The university promoted its online application feature through a Facebook announcement. John Hopkins University fans can easily access the form to apply for admissions by simply being a Facebook follower.

(Photo: commons.wikimedia.org.)

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