How Colleges Can Use Social Media to Attract Applicants

Almost three-fourths of high school students are influenced by social media when they research the colleges they might attend. If you’re not taking full advantage of social media platforms, with a measured eye to the particular sites on which your prospects spend most of their time, you’re missing out!

Here are 5 ways you can use social media to attract your future students right now:

Choose the right channels. You could have a killer presence on LinkedIn but if the high school students you’re trying to attract haven’t discovered the channel yet, it might be time to get on Instagram or Snapchat. Go where your prospects already are. You’ll have a chance to teach them all about the benefits of LinkedIn once they become your students.

Use social media channels to show off campus life. Do you have a variety of programs and majors? Are you an art-focused school, or heavily weighted toward technology? Are you D1 with a huge athletic fan base? Take to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media channels to show future students what they might encounter on campus. Prospective students want to get a picture of what their lives might be like if they attend your school.

Use photos and video. When those prospects do picture themselves at your school, they want actual pictures! Content with relevant images receive 94 percent more views than content without images. And students, in particular, look for pictures and videos. Provide your prospects with campus images through Facebook and Instagram or grab some user generated content like regrams from actual students that you can repost to your own branded channels. Use lots of pictures to engage with your future students.

Be authentic. Show off your school as it really is. When you present an honest image about your programs and your campuses, you’ll attract students who are a good fit for what you have to offer. It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. You want students who will apply, enroll, attend –and graduate! And you won’t attract them if you misrepresent what you have to offer and how they might fit in.

Engage with prospects, students and grads. Bring your institution to life through social media. Have some genuine conversations online. Answer questions, solve problems, or just give the occasional atta-boy when a student or graduate does a good job. Social media affords you an opportunity unlike any other medium that has come before it to truly get to know your prospects and for them to get to know you. Those conversations will keep you front and center wherever your prospects are in their decision-making process.

If you’d like to learn how to use social media to attract and enroll future students, contact the HigherEd Geeks at Effective Student Marketing. We’ll create a plan that’s just right for you and your school.

~Linda Emma