For many students, a school’s campus often functions as a second home. Here, students may spend the majority of their day studying, relaxing with friends, having lunch or a snack, and even sleeping in residence. This makes the campus, and all of its services, incredibly vital to the overall student experience.
Schools seeking to attract more prospects can zero in on what makes their campus special and different, visually showcasing unique services and benefits on social media. Visual content is particularly effective, and research shows that 81% of Gen Z consumers prefer using Instagram and YouTube. The rise of TikTok is also notable, providing schools with plenty of opportunities to reach this target audience.
But how can your school use these platforms to market campus services effectively?
The key is to capitalize on current trends around personalization and video content. Creating material that directly speaks to your prospects allows you to demonstrate how well you know them and understand their motivations and concerns. You can use this approach to start conversations around your school, ultimately boosting your engagement. Read on to discover our list of five impactful ways to market your school’s campus services on social media.
1. Create an Engaging Video Guide to Help and Inform Interested Prospects
Explainer videos are a popular digital marketing tactic. According to HubSpot, almost eight out of ten marketers feel that video positively impacts sales, with 94% believing it played a role in increasing user understanding of products and services. Schools can use video content to explain key campus and student services, introducing prospects to the various resources they can expect to access all while sharing helpful information for new or interested students.
Explainer videos can take on different approaches, but their purpose is to ultimately inform and educate your target audience—boosting recruitment efforts. For instance, your school can create a video guide led by your students or faculty, showing footage that illustrates each point. The goal can be to show students that they have access to a dependable support network that will address their needs and interests.
The example below is from Concordia University’s YouTube channel. In this video, viewers are given a step-by-step guide to all the campus services students may need or want. Led by a charismatic pair of students, this video guide clearly outlines which services students can expect to access on campus as well as how and where to find them.
Source: Concordia University
Another approach your school can take when creating these videos is to feature all the necessary information on-screen via superimposed text. The text should be kept as concise as possible, made visually appealing to match your school’s brand image as well as the footage in the video. East Carolina University (ECU) does exactly that in its YouTube video:
Source: East Carolina University
ECU’s video pans across campus to show notable locations and services, providing fun facts and relevant information in a digestible way. Here, prospects are introduced to features that make the school stand out, including its 250-seat black box theatre, its giant Pirate Vision screen on the exterior wall of the campus building, the wide range of food options, and the balcony common area to name a few.
2. Invite Your School Community to Showcase Services Your Campus Has to Offer
Community is at the heart of your campus and its services—it can be used to successfully attract prospects and allow them to imagine life at your school. By focusing on your school’s community, you can paint a clearer picture of the environment and people that prospects can expect to interact with, building a meaningful relationship before they become students at your school.
A 2020 study by SocialPubli reveals that 89% of marketers view influencer marketing as effective, with nearly 53% believing it provides the opportunity for more personal and natural advertising. This is where student ambassadors come in, serving as relatable representatives for your school. Prospects who follow your social media channels can be introduced to your student ambassadors through video content, which allows them to discover what student life is like from a perspective similar to their own. In this way, you can set the stage for deeper engagement with your school’s community.
The University of Leeds embraces this idea in its Link to Leeds ambassador program. Different student ambassadors participate in the school’s video marketing efforts, adding their own personality and sense of humour in a way that makes the video more engaging. The video below is an example of how the University of Leeds invites its ambassadors to showcase different campus buildings and services in their own approachable way.
Source: University of Leeds
Ask Student Ambassadors to Share Personal Insights and Experiences
Student ambassadors act as a liaison between your school and its prospects, giving prospective students an insider view that naturally promotes trust and loyalty. Schools wishing to connect more deeply with prospects can ask student ambassadors to go beyond just appearing in videos—becoming more active participants by sharing their personal insights.
Through their “360 Accommodation Tours” series, the University of Leeds showcases its housing facilities all while introducing students who actually live in them. Here, prospects can learn about the students’ favourite features as well as the facility’s notable benefits, services, and other relevant information:
Source: University of Leeds
Schools can also take inspiration from other types of videos involving the community. For example, the University of Birmingham’s TikTok page includes a short video that pans across different parts of campus where the featured student spends her day.
This idea can be modified to display campus services on social media for schools. Through these videos, prospects can join a student on campus as they go through the process of using a specific service or campus feature. This can include anything from housing and food services to on-campus stores and facilities.
Introduce Your Faculty and their Unique Insider Perspective
In addition to inviting student ambassadors to share their insights, your school can ask its faculty to participate in social media content to boost engagement and recruitment efforts. Consider highlighting or profiling stand-out faculty who are innovating and making an impact in their field. Doing so can help you showcase the range of learning experiences that prospects can gain at your school. It’s also a great way to casually introduce your faculty and staff to prospects, allowing future students to meet and get to know key members of your team before they join your community.
You can involve professors from different departments as well as members from various teams (i.e. student services, admissions team, international student office, financial aid, etc.), asking them to share insights on relevant or personal campus services and benefits. This can be a particularly effective way to make your team more approachable while showcasing what your campus has to offer its students.
Example: The University of Limerick invites both its Communities Officer as well as its Welfare Officer to share their favourite spots on campus in their own separate videos (shown respectively). This allows prospects to better understand the faculty members they’re likely to interact with while also learning about their future campus.
3. Share Unique Campus Facilities to Entice Your Prospects
Social media marketing for schools can be an effective way to highlight your unique campus facilities and services. By sharing videos on these platforms, you can catch your prospects’ interests and entice them to learn more about what makes your school different and unique. This can be a great way to boast about your state-of-the-art facilities, community spaces, and all the services that are offered as a result of these unique features.
Example: On its TikTok page, the University of Arizona encourages users to “come check out” the Campus Pantry. Here, a freshman studying Environmental Science introduces viewers to the University’s unique program as part of a Sustainability series. In this short video, prospects quickly learn about the University’s community garden and the valuable services it provides to members of the community.
Schools that provide industry-specific training can use this approach to display their state-of-the-art facilities as well as the benefits students can get out of them. Not only does this draw attention to your unique campus, but it also generates excitement and engagement—capturing your prospects’ imagination and introducing them to a world of potential opportunities. This way, your school can differentiate its programs and set itself apart from other school options.
The video below by Toronto Film School takes viewers inside the Acting Studios, revealing valuable information by the Program Director himself. Viewers get to see the studio space, the equipment, different lounge areas and lecture study rooms to get a better sense of what they’ll encounter on campus and how they can use it to their own advantage.
4. Stick with a Classic Virtual Campus Tour to Introduce Campus Benefits
Virtual tours are a classic digital marketing tactic used by schools to provide prospects with the chance to discover the school firsthand. In fact, their popularity has risen in the past few years, with data showing that nearly 1.4 million people have viewed virtual campus tours within a single month in 2020.
Since COVID-19, many schools have adopted virtual learning and virtual events as substitutes for in-person experiences. These virtual approaches have the potential to become complementary additions to the overall student experience and recruitment strategy. Your school can promote a campus on social media by sharing a virtual event focused specifically on campus services.
For example, Dalhousie University’s Facebook Events page features a Virtual Open House for interested prospects. This can be tailored to focus specifically on your campus and its services, revealing key benefits to boost recruitment.
Your campus tour can also be captured in a short yet engaging video, giving prospects the insights they need to make a more informed decision. This can be made more impactful by featuring current students who walk prospects through the essential services offered on-site at your school. The New York Film Academy does this well in their Los Angeles Virtual Campus Tour:
Delve Deeper into Campus-Specific Topics with Helpful Insights
Informative videos about your campus can also be simple and entertaining, featuring catchy music as well as colourful visuals. Instead of creating a comprehensive guide on various campus features and services, your school can focus on specific topics that are likely to attract your prospects while simultaneously informing them.
For example, the University of Waterloo created a short video (less than two minutes) to showcase all the food options available on their campus. Future students are treated to a fun video with closeups of different types of food offered on campus and shots of students interacting together and enjoying their meal on campus. This can reassure prospects concerned about health and dining, showing diverse options they can explore once they become students.
Source: University of Waterloo
5. Boost Engagement with a Live Stream Q&A Event About Your Campus Services
It may come as no surprise that video is the most popular type of content. However, live streams should not be overlooked. Live content has proven to make a deep and lasting impression. Research conducted by Livestream and New York Magazine shows that 80% of surveyed adults prefer to watch a live video instead of reading a blog and 82% prefer it over social posts.
This is also reflected in Gen Z’s preferences, with a recent study revealing that nearly 90% of Gen Z users have mobile apps that include live video streaming or video calling features. Schools can capitalize on this trend and speak directly to their prospects by creating live content on social media. The University of Northern British Columbia takes this approach on Facebook, as seen below:
In addition to a live virtual tour, your school can host a live Q&A session about your campus to address specific services and cover any potential concerns. This move can help you increase your engagement and improve your understanding of your prospects, allowing you to create an open line for communication that promotes transparency and trust. It should also be noted that these types of Q&A sessions have the potential to be turned into a series—where you can dedicate each conversation or video around a specific service.
Example: Kennesaw State University’s YouTube channel has a variety of Q&A videos that address different aspects of the student experience and campus life. These live videos enable prospects to ask questions and get immediate answers while also helping them feel like part of the school’s community via live chat.
Source: Kennesaw State University
Bonus: Promote Your Campus on Social Media with a Dedicated Account for its Services
Schools interested in boosting engagement around campus services can choose to create a dedicated account on social media. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook provide plenty of opportunities, though it ultimately depends on your student personas.
Creating a social media marketing strategy can be a great way to ensure you start off on the right foot. It may also be worthwhile to level up your copywriting game and explore all the exciting features your platform of choice has to offer. By doing so, you can present relevant campus information in a creative way and promote interaction with your school brand.
Example: Algonquin College has created a separate Instagram account for its campus services, giving students and prospects a dedicated space to explore, discuss, and engage with the Campus Services team.
Ultimately, your school can rely on a wide range of methods to showcase and market campus services. As digital marketing continues to evolve alongside technology and social media, you’ll be able to explore even more opportunities that can further boost your school’s recruitment and communication efforts. With the right strategy and industry insights, you’ll be well-positioned to make a lasting impact.