Are you still struggling with your school’s video content strategy? At this stage, most colleges are aware that having some form of marketing through video channels is a must when trying to engage with today’s prospective students. Recent statistics from HighQ showed that online video now accounts for 50% of mobile content consumed, while a 2014 study from Invodo found that including video content in emails increased open rates by as much as 20%, and could as much as triple click-through rates.
Video is increasingly popular among all of a school’s diverse audiences but might be most important for international recruitment, providing an intimate glimpse into campus life for prospects that won’t likely be able to visit in person. However, despite being aware of the demand , developing quality video remains a challenge for many institutions, with budgetary issues, lack of technical expertise, and time constraints all making the process problematic.
Fortunately, new platforms are becoming available all the time to make creating unique videos easier and more accessible than ever before. In previous posts, we’ve looked at types of video content that schools can use to build their brands, helping them focus their strategies on the messaging that best connects with their audience by communicating their school’s unique personality. Now, we’re going to look more closely at some of the technologies available to education professionals to make this possible, helping you to find the best, most effective options for your particular needs.
1. Why Tech-Savvy Schools Are Using Periscope For Education Lead Generation
Periscope is an increasingly popular new app that combines live-streaming with social media functions to create a truly interactive event experience. The app allows users to watch broadcasts live on their devices, while also commenting in real-time to other users watching the event, and even ‘showing their love’ by clicking heart icons which function in a similar way to Facebook likes. Broadcasts only remain available to stream for 24 hours, but can be stored on the cloud using a separate app called Katch.
Some more intrepid schools have been keen to test the app’s student recruitment capabilities early. Over the summer, The University of Wisconsin-Madison were among those who streamed live tours of their campus to prospective students with the tool. Others, such as the University Of Pennsylvania, who ran a series of special broadcasts during their commencement week, have made use of Periscope to promote campus events. The live experience it provides for prospective students, plus the sense of community fostered by allowing them to talk to other users checking out the event, offers powerful opportunities for making your recruitment experience more interactive.
Example: This coverage of the Zoological Society Falconry Event at Trinity College Dublin shows the potential for using Periscope to showcase a college’s particular events.
Do you have similarly unique events taking place on your campus? Periscope could allow you to invite prospective applicants to be a part of the experience.
Live streaming also gives colleges the option to broadcast longer events than other video formats allow. This is one example of a ‘novel’ broadcast from Duke University’s English department, which streamed a marathon 10-hour reading of the epic poem “Paradise Lost” by students and faculty on the app.
2. Vine & Instagram Video: Short Form Video Content in Student Recruitment
Of course, it’s understandable if education marketers are reluctant to invest significantly into a trendy tool like Periscope, given the tendency for video sharing sites to run out of momentum quickly. After its launch in 2013, many schools were quick to explore the marketing potential of Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing app which allows users to post short six-second clips. College use of the app was innovative at first, with unique snippets of campus life being captured by faculty and students alike. Fast forward a couple of years, however, and its popularity among brands has dwindled (though it still reaches close to 100 million users monthly).
Key factors in stalling the site’s momentum has been Twitter shifting its focus towards Periscope and the emergence of Instagram’s video service, which offers many advantages over Vine. Schools on Instagram have access to the social network’s popular image filtering tools, and the maximum clip length is a less restrictive 15 seconds – 30 seconds for advertising brands. Vine, by comparison, still has no advertising infrastructure, and is purely a viral marketing tool.
One of the greatest strengths of short-form video platforms in content marketing for higher education is facilitating user-generated content, as colleges and universities can solicit fun, interesting clips from students and turn them into valuable promotional tools.
While these clips were originally heralded as ideal for the shorter attention spans of modern internet users, video actually has the potential to hold people’s attention on the web quite well. The average time a user spends viewing a video clip is a surprisingly long 2.7 minutes, and recruitment specialists would be wise to take advantage of that by producing more substantial content for the medium. Still, there are many examples of schools making the most of Vine’s limitations to share easily digestible glimpses into campus life.
Example : This video from Stanford University’s Engineering department is a perfect example of content tailor-made for the Vine format. It impressively demonstrates a flying robot built by one of its students within the short timeframe, which makes it more likely to go viral.
3. Hyperlapse Provides Effective Higher Education Content Marketing
We’ve written before about using Hyperlapse videos for short online campus tours, but it is definitely worth mentioning this exciting website content opportunity. The Instagram extension allows users to easily create professional-looking time lapse videos using just their phone, with built-in stabilization technology making it easy to achieve the desired cinematic feel without investing in expensive equipment. Best of all, unlike Instagram videos, there are no time limit restrictions so schools can record up to 45 minutes of footage compressed to any length desired. These videos can be a very effective way of showing prospective applicants around your school. Time lapse footage of a busy campus can convey a university’s dynamic energy, with stunning visuals that showcase your impressive architecture and natural environment. The app is popular among students, so schools can encourage user-generated content besides producing their own videos.
Example: This particular Hyperlapse video from Columbia University, taken during their orientation week, was shot entirely on an iPhone 5 by a student. It shows how effective the app can be for creating short, engaging and low-cost films.
4. Combining Google Street View and Cardboard for Virtual Campus Tours
If you’re looking for an even more innovative way of showing prospective applicants around your campus, why not consider a virtual reality tour? Google Street View offers a service that allows businesses to add indoor shots of their buildings to their listings. The website even includes a list of Google-certified photographers who can take 360° footage of every inch of your campus. Street View listings are compatible with Google Cardboard viewers, an affordable, easy-to-assemble option for enabling virtual reality viewing on any iOS or android device. This effectively means that your Street View footage can be turned into a virtual tour for prospective students. It’s the closest possible thing to being there, and an accessible service to offer.
Example: Herzing College Montreal used Google-certified agency Virtuo 360 to compile interior footage of their campus. Prospective students can explore classrooms, computer labs and other facilities at their own pace, providing one of the most comprehensive methods of offering an online campus tour.
5. Use GoAnimate to Add Some Fun to Your Online Student Recruitment
Traditionally, animation has been a costly and time consuming process that required highly skilled professionals. GoAnimate is one of a few new programs attempting to change that, offering a simple, drag-and-drop interface which allows amateurs with no animation or design background to create short animated videos quickly and easily, adding backgrounds and various characters, and even recording audio for the cartoons. Colleges can use this platform to turn some of their more mundane content into something truly eye-catching; teachers can also use GoAnimate4Schools to make animated videos in the classroom. Subscriptions to the service are relatively cheap, and the tutorial guides make it easy to get started. The quirky nature of the videos might not be right for content requiring a more serious tone, but for schools looking to present a fun personality to their audiences, it’s an exciting new option.
Example: Kirkwood Community College created this “What is a Hybrid Class?” video using GoAnimate, creating a video that explains their learning model in a fun, engaging way that really grabs the user’s attention.
6. Why Schools Should Still Consider Professional Software for Video Content
While all of these platforms have something to offer, it’s important to not discount the idea of investing in professional video editing software, which is becoming cheaper and more user-friendly all the time. Adobe Premiere Pro, which is the industry standard for professional filmmakers, is now available in very competitive subscription packages as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. While using the software is still more complex and time-consuming than some of the other tools listed here, video tutorials and improvements to the interface mean that novice users can get to grips with the features without needing hours of training. Professional editing software can open up a range of video creation possibilities to schools, giving them the option to add graphics, text, and even integrate special effects in their films. With a little practice, the potential for your content is limitless.
Example: For an example of outstanding video content that was produced in-house, look no further than this ad from Duke University. This is a great example of how inexpensively produced material can create something truly special by using effective editing techniques. The footage included was all submitted by various students, faculty and alumni on social media platforms as part their #OneDayAtDuke campaign, which took place on April 19, 2013. The finished product was edited entirely by the university’s communications staff, proving you don’t necessarily need to outsource to get quality video content.
What are your favourite tools for creating great student recruitment videos?