The common perception of educational institutions is that they are formal, traditional and somewhat stuck in the past — a stark contrast in comparison to the fast, dynamic and ever-changing landscape of social media. Many people are shocked to hear that schools and educators are now leveraging social media in attempts of creating online communities, increasing interactions, engaging students, and cementing a reputable global reputation. However, they should not be.
SMM has become an indispensable, primary means of gathering information and communicating with peers for young people. Younger generations also see communications on social media as more credible in comparison to traditional media and information. By the last research of an essay writing service, approximate 83% of prospective students now utilize social media channels to research university choices, social media is increasingly becoming the first touchpoint between a prospective student and a school. Moreover, it is important to make a good first impression.
For social media marketers working in educational institutions, the following are the top social media trends, which need to be incorporated into the school’s marketing strategy right now to capitalize on the massive potential of social media.
AI-driven personalized communication — WhatsApp
Millennials and Generation Z’s have come to expect highly unique, interactive experiences with brands given how digitally savvy they are. When it comes to their interactions with prospective educational institutions, there is no exception. Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the secret that has been enabling schools to win prospective students or parents through hyper-personalized marketing efforts. Educational institutions are now able to become more agile in their communications and provide almost instantaneous responses to queries.
With nearly 75% of the world on messaging, we are officially in the Messaging App. Given that WhatsApp is currently the top messaging app for countless countries over the world, schools simply cannot pass up on this unparalleled opportunity to communicate with prospective students and current students 1:1. Before the release of the WhatsApp Business API in August 2018, that was not possible. However, now that WhatsApp is amid their roll-out, educational institutions are now given the chance to respond to messages for free within 24 hours.
If educational institutions are respectful of personal privacy, AI-driven personalized communications backed by WhatsApp is for sure a solid way to boost marketing campaigns.
Social media ads
A huge drop in organic reach and engagement has been observed as more companies and brands invest in social media ads. To counter this “ad-fatigue” syndrome, schools must invest some time in creating great content. Not just okay content — it needs to be great to capture the attention of prospective students and drive engagement.
Schools can immediately start by repurposing ideas from top-performing organic content, and pushing them out after minor modifications. This way, the ROI on ads will be increased almost right from the beginning as that content has been proven to work. For example, schools using materials of paper writing service can further turn it into video content or an easily-shareable visually compelling infographic.
The original content that makes the difference
The unprecedented growth in the popularity of “ephemeral content” — content that is only available for a short period before disappearing after 24 hours — highlights the importance of including short-lived content within a broader marketing strategy. The groundwork for this type of content was first laid by Snapchat. The feature was later closely followed in the form of Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube stories.
With millennials and Generation Zs whose, relationships with brands thrive on authenticity, social media stories provide educational institutions with the opportunity to provide personal, authentic and in-the-moment style content. Institutions can choose to use geotagging, filters, and visual media to showcase snapshots of the building, its main attractions or even live events. Colorado State University is one great example, with a consistent social media presence on Instagram stories maintained through virtual tours and Q&A sessions.
“Social television” and vertical videos
It is impossible to discuss authentic, genuine content without touching on “social television” — popularised by the launch of IGTV by Instagram. The IGTV platform is designed for sharing and watching long-form videos in the vertical-video format. Unlike Instagram Stories, IGTV videos stay forever on the channel and occupy the top with a visible notification for users: excellent for awareness.
Before the launch of IGTV, vertical videos had always attracted a bad reputation on social media — it was not compatible with the normal, horizontal layout of platforms such as Facebook or YouTube. That has all come to change with smartphones though: more than 50% of digital videos are now viewed on mobile in vertical format. There has also been a general upward trend year-on-year since 2013, and it turns out that people now hold their phones vertically 94% of the time.
The above statistics highlight the importance of establishing a presence on IGTV for institutions that are seeking to drive up engagement rates. Looking for an example? Well, look no further — Canisius High School recently used IGTV to broadcast their Robot Competition.
Ultimately, educational institutions thrive on a healthy community, and a school’s social media presence is an indispensable extension of that community. Schools located throughout the world have now jumped on board to implement social media strategies, which enable them to connect with students, parents, prospects, and even their own staff members.
A lacking presence on social media represents lost opportunities to generate high-quality leads and prospects and schools, which are aware of this salient point, stand a better chance of increasing engagement and delighting their audience.