Thursday, July 11, 2024

How To Reach College Students On Social Media

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If the first half of the year has reminded us of anything, it is that the nature of higher education is always changing. However, one thing that is certain is that social media will continue to play an important role in the way colleges and universities recruit new students and connect with their current students. In fact, the importance of social media within student recruitment is growing with each passing year.

Today, the most savvy university marketers are using social media to reach students in creative ways with everything from Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. The accounts that stand out from the rest are the ones that have moved beyond simply posting a photo or graphic to harnessing the power of branding, user-generated content and videos to attract student attention and keep it!

Weve compiled a list of the top university social media accounts from around the world. These schools are adept at using emojis, hashtags and reposts, and will be sure to inspire you to take your school’s social media to the next level.

1. Harvard University

2. The University of Florida

Another creative post celebrates graduating students and the furry friends who helped them get there!

3. The University of Sheffield

4. The University of Glasgow

5. The University of Georgia

Promoting Values And Achievements

Make your institutions mission and values known. Social media use in higher education is significant in setting the tone on campus. Promote and represent the kind of culture your school aims to cultivate.

And with vision and creativity, we can explore new and innovative ways to engage our audiences and create important resources to promote well-being, inclusivity, compassion and exploration.

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Value alignment informs everything from small purchases to major life decisions. Let prospective students, faculty, and partners know theyre welcome and supported. In turn, communicate the types of behavior that wont be tolerated.

Give current and past scholars reasons to take pride in their alma mater broadcast commitments to sustainability, investments in the community, or advances in medical research.

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Social is also an important tool to publicize one-off or annual fundraising events.

Last year, Columbia Universitys #ColumbiaGivingDay raised $24 million. There were more than 19 thousand donors. Social media is a key way to spread the word and inspire participation and gifts.

Personal Use Of Social Media

All faculty, staff and administrators who speak about Manhattan College publicly from their personal social media accounts must do so in a manner that is respectful to others, and follows these guidelines set forth by the College:

  • Please be respectful online. When you identify yourself as an employee of Manhattan College in the bio of your profile or in posts, you are connected to our employees and students. Please keep that in mind when posting from your personal account.
  • Communicate online with respect for others. Remember that information shared via social media is generally public information that could easily be viewed by anyone.
  • When posting about the College, use a disclaimer . Representation of personal opinions as being endorsed by the College is strictly prohibited. Manhattan Colleges name or marks may not be used to lobby, endorse any opinion, product, private business, cause, or political candidate.

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  • Video advertising
  • Speak to them in their voice

College students may be a uniquely astute group, but they are still just like any other consumer: the challenge is simply to capture their attention and engage them with a product. Students are establishing their spending habits while they are studying, making this a competitive and rewarding time to gain their custom. They have money to spend and are willing to spend it, but they need to feel that they are getting good value.

The best way to pursue the student market is by approaching them in person. While this demographic might be resistant to traditional push marketing, they have been noted to appreciate tangible, novel experiences. Creating an imaginative, hands-on marketing strategy that engages students on an experiential level is the key to reaching this demographic.

Social Media Most Used By College Students

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College students are amongst the most active demographic on social media, as there are over 46 million students or recent graduates on

Despite this, according to Omnicore only 51% of students and recent graduates use LinkedIn. A separate Omnicore study found that 32% of Twitter users have college degrees, while 38% are aged between 18 and 29 indicating twitter is a beloved platform amongst college students.

However, a recent survey by Legal reader found that Facebook once a college-only site is by far the most used social media by college students with 96% of students being active on the platform.

Following in Facebooks footsteps, Tik Tok is amassing a ginormous following from college students as 41% of users are aged between 16 and 24. This 2020 sensation has taken the world by storm and is currently the most downloaded app of the year.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Instagram is one of the most favored social medias on campus as . Instagram images also get , making it a vital platform when social media marketing to college students.

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You will need to learn how to talk the talk on every current and future social media network and platform to improve your personal brand and earn the right to move forward.

57% of employers have found content that caused them not to hire candidates for not having a good culture fit with their company. Source: CareerBuilder

Include Social Media Links On Your School Website

Make it easy for parents and students to find your schools social media profiles by adding links to the websites main navigation or creating a social media directory that houses them all in one place.

Many parents and prospective students will check a schools website first if theyre interested, and offering even more ways to follow the school creates a different insight into campus life.

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Sorority And Fraternity Marketing

Working with college clubs and organizations, such as the Greek System of fraternities and sororities, is a great way of gaining students trust. and fraternities gives you access to ready-made social networks through which a successful campaign can be delivered. Certain groups even offer the opportunity for direct contact with specific demographics such as The Latino Fraternal Organizations and Black Greek Letter Organizations.

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Your social-media and personal-brand currency will increase in value as the years progress. Join forces with others and contribute to the social media community inside or outside of your organization. Dont be a lone wolf. There will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself in your career. Figure out how to collaborate with them using social media by following, learning, and sharing their content. You will be amazed at the impact this engagement strategy will have.

25% of companies wont think twice about hiring you if you badmouthed a previous company or fellow employee on one of your social media accounts. Source: CareerBuilder

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About 3 In 4 Students Think Their Colleges Social Media Presence Is Important

Media Prefs added a new question to its survey this year: How important is it that your college has an active social media presence?

The response was overwhelmingly positive, with about 75% of students reporting that colleges should have an active social media presence:

This information will help colleges support the idea that social media management isnt a fluff job its something that students expect colleges to actively manage and it takes a lot of work, says Jamie Wagner, Executive Director of Media Prefs at Interact Communications.

As Generation Z becomes college-aged, its more important than ever to meet these digital natives where they hang out. According to the social media management giant Hootsuite, its paramount that higher ed institutions have a social media presence.

Using social media in higher education is the new norm, Hootsuite says in a recent blog on social media tips. Recruitment. Student and alumni relations. Crisis communications. Fundraising. It all happens on social.

Know Where You’re Posting

Each social media platform has a different aesthetic and set of goals. Please consider your audience and post accordingly.

Facebook: This is the most popular social site, allowing you to reach nearly every demographic on the face of the Earth. Posts should be short and visual, and geared to appeal to as many types of groups as possible. Posting once per day, or 3-5 times per week on this platform is optimal.

Twitter: News and conversation travel seemingly faster than the speed of light on Twitter. Feel free to post 3-5 times per day, but be sure that all posts are relevant to your audience and are necessary to post. Sharing posts is encouraged on this platform, but all the content you post should be your own.

Instagram: Have beautiful photos that capture our bucolic Riverdale campus? Here’s where you post them. Instagram is currently the most visual social platform, and should be used as such. Note: event flyers, articles and/or internet memes unrelated to the brand should not be posted on Instagram. Instead, include event flyers as part of an Instagram Story. .

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Be Yourself But Build Your Brand To Increase Your Career Options

Remember, you can be yourself everywhere, but there will be consequences. If your potential employer, boss or customer can see your private life on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then only you are to blame. If you cannot embrace an always-on professional and business persona, then turn on your privacy settings and use two sets of social media accounts personal and business. You wont be sorry.

70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. Source: CareerBuilder

Is Ooh College Advertising Still Worth It

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If college students continue to comprise your target demographic then you should continue to target them with your marketing. Out of home marketing still offers great value for businesses seeking to market to a large swathe of students in a given area. Whilst many students will not be returning to campus, some will still be living and working, whilst continuing their studies from home. Identifying these students needs whilst they are isolated from their campus lives could help formulate a message that speaks to them.

Despite not spending the same amount of time on campus, theres still an opportunity to reach students via OOH marketing. Students will still likely travel in and around campus, so finding where your target audience frequents and the routes that they follow is key to finding the best placements for your OOH advertising campaign.

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Managing Your Social Media Account

Although we tend to think of social media as more spontaneous, there is significant planning and content strategy that should be used to manage every single account associated with the Manhattan College brand.

If you are one department or organization, consolidation is key creating fewer accounts per channel is preferred. Try partnering with other organizations that share your mission and audiences. Not only will this help you build a larger audience, you’ll also have more content to post!

**Please note: the office of Marketing & Communication is not currently approving new department-specific social media accounts if it is determined that a higher level account may best serve the audience/population. In order to gain approval, new accounts must have a developed strategy and implementation plan and have an assigned account administrator and backup.

All College social media accounts in existence prior to 7/7/2020 must have account administrators and backups assigned and registered within 90 days of the policy’s issue date. Both of these roles are required for the social media application.

Who is responsible for preparing and posting? Will this person also monitor and respond to community feedback? It is advised that 1-2 people manage each account, to maintain a similar voice and tone throughout. Your audiences will be able to tell!

Once you have chosen a channel and are ready to plan your posts, consider the following:

Content strategy:

Editorial calendars:

Create Social Media Groups

Social media groups can help you connect with the right audience.

For example, you can have separate Facebook groups that cater to smaller audiences within your university community such as alumni groups, club groups, sports groups, groups for parents of students, and so on.

Groups can be a good place to hold discussions, share announcements, and interact with community members.

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Newfound Freedom And Responsibility

Taking time to get inside the minds of college students is a key part of understanding how to market to them. The move from High School to College denotes a major shift in lifestyle for the average student. The majority of students will move out of home when starting their new life at college , which brings a host of new responsibilities that these young adults must learn and master if they wish to properly thrive out of the nest. This newfound freedom and responsibility presents an opportunity for brands or businesses ready to identify how they can best help these young people to navigate this life change.

During their college years, students begin to recognize their purchasing power setting trends and habits that will last a lifetime. Young people spend more time together than other social or professional groups, this makes influencing their consumer decisions a difficult challenge which can only be tackled with a well-planned, targeted marketing campaign.

Create A Social Media Hub

Videos of Fletcher Middle School student fights collected, posted on social media page

Higher ed social media operations tend to involve a lot of people and even more channels. Bring everyone and everything together with a central hub. Create a social media directory that lists and categorizes all social media accounts.

For example, the University of Michigan has more than 1200 active social accounts. Official accounts are listed in a directory.

MIT maintains a searchable website that lets visitors look up channels by keyword or platform. The University of Waterloo lists upwards of 200 channels by department or domain with the option to filter by network.

As an external resource, these hubs allow people to find and follow the right channels. They can be confident theyre looking at official accounts.

The hub-and-spoke setup translates as a good management model as well. With the support of a tool like Hootsuite, a core team can monitor all channels from a central dashboard.

This makes life easier for often under-resourced social managers. Use the dashboard to assign tasks, approve and schedule posts, coordinate content from contacts across the campus, and mobilize in the event of a crisis.

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Use A Facebook Group To Stream Live Lectures And Host Discussions

Instructors can also create for each of their classesboth public or privateand stream Facebook Live lectures, post discussion questions, assign homework and make class announcements. Keep students engaged during school breaks or snow days by posting reminders and assignment to avoid having to review once class resumes from the break.

When using social media for education, its important to ensure a professional boundary, so when setting up a Facebook Group, teachers do not need to send friend requests. Email both parents and students a direct link to the Facebook Group for access.

Groups are the perfect home base, especially for an online course and can make it easy to connect with student.

Why Social Media Marketing Matters For Colleges

All digital marketing strategies get your college or university in front of potential applicants. Many of these strategies focus on reaching users as they research their options on search engines like Google.

With social media, however, you have the opportunity to reach prospective students where they already spend time online. Considering that 71% of adults with Internet access use social media, you can be sure that your target audience is on these platforms.

Beyond its large audience, though, social medias biggest advantage for marketers is that it engages potential applicants in a two-way conversation. Unlike traditional advertising channels, which simply let you broadcast information, social media platforms allow you to talk directly to possible students.

The casual nature of most social media platforms also means that you can use them to show an informal side of your institution. Since you need to convince potential applicants to spend a few years attending your institution, showing that side of you can go a long way.

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Student Events And Activations

The college campus is a place buzzing with activity and excitement, creating an event that breaks through the noise and gets students talking about your brand. Events can be as simple as handing out samples of products or could offer a more in-depth brand-focused experience that attempts to really create something that sticks in the mind of the student.

Profiles On Social Media In Higher Education Can Serve As An Announcement Board For Schools

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You can use social media to post updates, share information about your schools programs and services, plus remind people about upcoming events.

And what a relief that can be. In the past, you had to use leaflets, posters, or public address systems to communicate announcements around the campus. Now, you can save time and ensure reach with just a single click.

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