Social media is a powerful tool that, if utilized properly, can promote your institution.
Studies show that Generation Z is more connected to social media than any other generation before them. Making sure your institution has a recognizable and relatable social media presence can give students a glimpse into what life is like at your institution and potentially show them that your institution is the right fit for them.
But attracting potential students isn’t as easy as simply having an account; you need to make sure you’re appealing to the right audiences and using social media to your full advantage.
Why Does Social Media Matter?
Social media can be an added boost to promote attention towards your institution. However, it can also be a direct way to introduce your institution to potential students. The right social media presence can have a huge impact on attracting new students and retaining current students.
If a student sees an outdated or barely-used social media page for an institution they’re considering, it could deter them from exploring your school further. On the flip side, a savvy, fun social media presence could peak their interest.
It’s important to be relatable in your posts, and that starts with understanding the wants and needs of your targeted audiences. For attracting students, make sure you are highlighting all the best features of your institution, social events and campus culture. All students know what a typical institution is like, so what makes yours recognizable? What makes it stand out?
Making sure your social media presence is recognizable and engaging can help your institution stand out to potential students. Beyond attracting students, using the stats on social media can help you determine if you’re reaching your target audience. It can also show you how many people are interacting with your posts and if your social media strategies are effective.
What’s the Best Social Media To Use?
The three main social medias that will give you the most traffic are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But how can you use them? What’s the best strategy for each one?
Twitter is great for written content as well as sharing others’ posts. Use Twitter to livetweet campus games and use hashtags to increase engagement and visibility. Use a LiveTweet App to create a Twitter wall for your events to show potential students what others are saying about your institution.
Instagram is one of the most creative and customizable apps to attract students. This platform has a ton of features that can help your institution. Features such as Instagram highlights and stories can make information about your institution more accessible. The photo grid on each Instagram account creates the opportunity for you to craft a unique look to attract new students.
Facebook should be the most professional presence you have out of all the social media platforms mentioned. Studies show GenZ doesn’t use Facebook as much as older people do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Even if your content doesn’t reach a potential student on Facebook, it may reach a parent or relative. It’s generally a good idea to share your Instagram posts to Facebook to make sure you’re reaching all your audiences.
TikTok has the potential to be a great social media platform for institutions because of its “For You” page. The “For You” page uses an algorithm to show the user videos similar to ones they’ve interacted with. It can also show content related to topics they’ve shown interest in. TikTok’s algorithm may help you reach your target audiences quicker. It also means you don’t need to have tons of followers for your video to gain views – giving your institution more visibility.
Not all social media is created equal when it comes to reaching your targeted audiences. It’s worth noting which ones may not be the best platform for your content.
Although this is a popular social media platform, your content isn’t accessible to people who aren’t following you, making it harder to reach potential students. Instead, try adding geotags for people to use when they’re in the school’s vicinity.
Research shows that Pinterest is popular with older generations. While some older adults go back to school, it usually isn’t your target audience. Pinterest is also not ideal for content creation.
Tumblr isn’t as commonly used as other social media platforms. While it may work to use as a website to promote a service, using a similar photo-sharing app like Instagram will generate more engagement.
How Can You Promote Engagement on Social Media?
Promoting engagement on social media can help your page gain more traction, and with more followers comes a more recognizable presence..
To promote engagement, make your page as interactive as possible. Instagram stories are a great way to pose questions, create polls or quizzes and interact with your followers.
Giveaways on social media for school swag are another way to promote engagement. Try making some rules for the giveaway that will increase engagement. Ask followers to tag a friend in the comments or add the post to their story.
Using hashtags can help get your page on more screens, but be weary of having too many in your captions. Use a few simple hashtags at the end of the post or incorporate them into the caption itself to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.
Features To Take Advantage Of
- Twitter/Instagram Polls
Polls are a great way to promote engagement. You can use the poll feature to ask institution-relevant questions, such as whether your team’s going to win the next game. However, to attract new students, make sure to keep some questions more broad to keep potential students involved.
- Live Videos
The live video feature is on multiple platforms and is a great way to show prospective students what your school is like in real-time. Whether you want to record a game or other campus event, use this feature to highlight campus culture.
- Instagram Highlights
Instagram Highlights are a convenient way to organize and archive past Instagram stories. You can use this feature to give a potential student a quick way to access information. Take some time to make well-designed stories that highlight all the best parts of your institution and answer some FAQs. Be sure to keep your Instagram highlights up to date.
There are benefits and drawbacks to any social media you may choose, but each post is a chance to attract a new student to your institution. If you’re looking to create a Real, Recognizable and Relatable social media presence to attract more students, PivotPath can help! Check out our social media management services here.
Alison Roller is a recent graduate of the West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.