6 Practical Ways Educational Institutes Can Use Social Media Marketing
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Adoption of social media in academia is still at a very nascent stage in India. Many colleges in the country are still working under traditional mode of marketing to primarily attract admission seekers and strengthen brands.
Although many institutes and colleges in India have taken the initiative to increase their social media presence, they have not been able to capitalize on the benefits of social media marketing tools in absence of a full-proof strategy.
With a massive increase in the number of colleges offering degree admissions, students have a lot of options to choose from. And the best place for students to do their research is either the college website or social media channels. This makes it essential for the educational institutes to have a prominent social media presence on properties such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare etc.
Important Ways Colleges and Universities can make best use of Social Media for driving their Marketing Communication effectively
To start with, it will be good to create official social media accounts on popular platforms depending upon your target group. Admission seekers of undergraduate and postgraduate courses are usually active on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.
Admission is a very important area which can leverage social media and drive operations of any educational institute forward. Social media can be best used in following ways to support admission strategy for bringing quality talent in the institute.
- First of all, the college must have a robust official Facebook page.
- Create a monthly idea / theme planner for your Facebook postings depending upon your admission cycle.
- Create a Facebook Admission Group to engage the targeted students’ community.
- You can even create a registration page for students to save the cost of maintaining a separate landing page for registration activities and capturing leads.
- At times, it is not possible to quickly publish college updates on the website. In such situations, Facebook can be strategically used to share updates on latest activities in quick time. The advantage is that we can also see immediate reactions on the posts in the form of reach, number of likes, number of shares etc.
- Twitter hashtags can be created to run contests, mobilise traction for your campaigns and engage your audience.
- Facebook can be useful for checking students’ background information or profile. It can be a good platform for cross verifying critical information about the candidate.
- Create videos on YouTube to showcase interesting aspects of life at campus, capture bytes of current students, alumni and industry guests to build trustworthy testimonials of your college brand and publish relevant content in the form of stories to attract prospective applicants.
- Often, candidates with lot of work experience apply for post graduate programs such as MBA, M.Tech etc to improve their career prospects. LinkedIn can be used to attract such candidates.
2. Placements and Corporate Connect – Industry Interface
- LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to build industry connect for driving placements and allied activities. The University page feature on LinkedIn enables to maintain an extensive online database of institute’s alumni on the portal. It also gives a lot of data points about alumni such as the companies they work in, their location, industry vertical, job profile etc.
- Blog and Twitter can be additionally used to increase college awareness among all stakeholders such as prospective students, industry experts, parents, alumni etc.
3. Academics: Course Delivery
- Organize webinars to aid learning beyond classroom teaching.
- Faculty members can use SlideShare to upload case studies, reports and presentations of their lectures for ready reference of students.
- Detailed analysis of a recent business news or latest development can be covered through blogs by sharing thoughts on the same.
- Online debates can be conducted on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. to share opinion and enhance analytical thinking.
4. Student Life
- Facebook and YouTube can be useful vehicles to showcase amazing facets of student life.
- Blog and Twitter can be used to share students thought and carry out discussions.
- YouTube can be used for building correct imagery of the institute through visuals.
- Additionally, LinkedIn can be used to manage students’ professional profile to connect with recruiters for exploring opportunities related to internship and final placement.
- 360 degree virtual tour of the campus can be promoted on social media to provide actual look and feel of the college infrastructure and life at campus.
- Successful stories of students, their achievements can be promoted online to create brand ambassadors for the college.
- Social media can further be used effectively to manage alumni connect with their alma mater.
5. Internal Communication
- WhatsApp has now evolved as a very effective alternative to e-mail technology. It is being used extensively nowadays to disseminate messages, notices and other useful updates to a broader mass in short time.
- Internal messaging system can also be developed using Facebook Messaging to convey information to both individuals and groups within very short period of time.
- Similarly, Twitter can also be used to convey information to a particular group.
6. Promotion and Branding
- Social media platforms are very crucial for overall branding purpose. The complete profile and image of the institute can be overhauled using Facebook by posting relevant information and building positive imagery around the promotional campaigns.
- Facebook can be used to promote any event to a larger audience. The number of participants interested to join the event can be tracked real-time.
- Online advertisements can be used for increasing brand awareness.
- Create trends using Twitter to increase campaign outreach of any event.
- Blogs by faculty members and alumni can be effectively used to build and manage online reputation.
In what other ways, can institutes leverage the power of social media marketing? Please share them in the comment below.