With a 96 per cent adoption rate among students, Facebook is the social media platform for schools to meet their prospects. Most schools are aware of the tremendous marketing potential of Facebook, but a Facebook page up is not a guarantee for more leads. As in any other medium, the key is to get to know your audience and to make it worthwhile and easy for them to become leads.
Here are few tips to turn your Facebook page into an efficient recruitment tool.
Use your Facebook page as a hub for your online presence
Your blog should remain the absolute center of your online presence but your Facebook page should be the place to have more direct and relaxed interactions with current students, alumni and prospects. Answer questions from prospective students from all over town or all over the world, update status, broadcast your school news or news in line with the general values of your school, invite your fans to events, upload photos and videos of your events.
Use a Share button on all the platforms you are active on to make sure all the information and interactions, from your blog to Twitter and Flickr, appear on your Facebook page.
Let everybody know about your Facebook presence by including the details of your social media on your website, eZine, newsletter, info within signatures and all your social media profiles.
Engage your students
Your fan base will stem from current students and alumni who are connected to people like themselves (which translates into prospects for you). Your students are experiencing your school and should become your best marketers. So multiply ways to engage your students into your Facebook network!
Creating communities based on your students’ experiences in your school is an effective way to have them take part in your network. Many schools have already set up Facebook page entitled « Class Of … » for current students and alumni where students can share their experiences and leverage the network offered by your institution. Others have set up web pages (relayed on the Facebook page of the institution) to stay in touch with a group of students doing research abroad. Be creative! Make your students want to join your community.
- Student blogs
From your prospects’ viewpoint, the more information, the better. Your students know your school better than anyone else, so why not leverage your students’ expertise about your school by creating student blogs? A student blog is a great way for prospects to learn about your school beyond programs and faculty while having a sense of your community. The quality of the content of those blogs is crucial and they have to represent the diversity your school offers.
- Contests or campaigns
Use your Facebook page as a hub for contests or campaigns on and off campus. Encourage students and parents feedback and involvement into the life of the school. Warning! Leads are not just a number game. Of course, the more active you are on Facebook, the more likely you are to attract new fans and prospects, but just as on a blog, relevant content is paramount or your students will turn you off. Also, it is a fine line to be active without seeming obsessive. Beware not to overwhelm your fans and force them to hide you to create space on their newsfeed.
Make Conversion Almost Subliminal
Now that your page is more active and you have increased your fan base, make the conversion so easy your prospects will not think about it. Conversion has been a problem on Facebook as prospects often have to leave your Facebook page to your website in order to convert, which can discourage them.
HubSpot has launched HubSpot Welcome Application for Facebook”, helping users to easily convert new Likes into leads. You can also choose to ask for email address only as trust has not been installed yet after a visit on your Facebook page. Tutorials are also available to learn how to integrate HTML application on Facebook to be able to ask for email address. You can also have prospects follow calls to action. Facebook has discontinued Call to Action to the sidebar of your page’s main profile, but you can still do it via Framework. All you have to do is point these CTAs to your landing pages for downloadable content or other offers to start generating leads.
Advertise on Facebook
Your Facebook page is a long-term effort to stay in touch with your alumni, current students and prospects. Results in terms of leads may not be visible right away. You want to appear on some prospects’ pages? You want to be well placed in Facebook searches?
Facebook Ads allow you to appear on pages you know your target is seeing. New applications are being created to try and pinpoint your audience and cater to their specific needs. However, this marketing effort requires that you fully fathom who your target audience is and what their precise needs are (using personas, for instance).
At HEM, we understand that getting into the social media arena is a long-haul effort that requires a multilayered investment. That is why we are using our thorough analytical approach to help you design the best online presence and keep a tight control over your PR budget.
Contact us today to see how we can help you increase your ROI on Facebook! The conversation continues…
The Facebook Marketing Toolbox: 100 Tools and Tips to Tap the Facebook Customer Base, a great resource to use Facebook for business, from free marketing opportunities to tips to target the right demographics on Facebook. Mashable’s Facebook Guidebook, a great source for up-to-date articles and guides for Facebook, with a section specifically dedicated to business on Facebook. Hubspot’s new guide to Facebook marketing that you could apply to your business.