Content and social media trends over the past few years have consistently placed short-form videos in high regard, pushing schools to expand their video content strategy. Schools looking to get ahead are increasingly turning to YouTube, establishing a presence that sets them apart from their competition, all while allowing them to better connect with prospects.
Video marketing for schools is becoming increasingly important, especially as schools continue to build and optimize their YouTube presence. With so many factors and tips to remember, it can be tricky to get it right the first time. So here’s a handy guide to help your school use its YouTube channel to the fullest, effectively attracting prospects and generating results.
The Power of YouTube for a School Promotional Video
YouTube is a popular platform for a reason, able to withstand the rise of many competitors over the years. The statistics on its success and impact are particularly impressive, showing significant potential for a high return on investment (ROI) for video marketing for schools. The platform is considered the second most visited website, with 14.3 billion monthly views—more than Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon, and Instagram. YouTube shorts alone have surpassed 15 billion daily views.
Schools investing time and resources in a strong YouTube channel are better positioned to connect with their prospects. Having a YouTube channel gives prospects the chance to see your school and its community, getting to know what the environment and people are like. It also provides additional content that can sway your prospects’ decision to enroll at your school. By choosing video as a form of content marketing for schools and building a YouTube presence, you can develop a strategy that visually showcases your school and all of its unique selling points.
Besides, many prospects turn to YouTube as a search engine, using the platform to learn more about different schools. Cultivating a strong YouTube channel can boost your school’s SEO efforts, both on the platform and on Google’s own search engine results page (SERP). Since YouTube is Google-owned, your videos can appear in the SERP as prospects type a relevant search query into Google. These videos typically appear at the top of the page, putting your school front and center.
Personalize Your YouTube Channel through Video Marketing for Schools
Your YouTube channel should be a practical space for your team. As a result, your team can benefit by setting up a Brand Account, one that is specifically created for brands instead of personal use. These accounts allow multiple users to manage them using their own Google Account credentials. It’s also a good idea for schools to use Brand Accounts if they plan on expanding their YouTube presence, creating more than a single channel for different types of video content.
Ultimately, you’ll want your YouTube Channel to reflect your school’s brand and voice, so you’ll need to make full use of YouTube’s features. This includes:
- Profile and cover images
- Link to the school website in the cover image
- Featured video with a description
- Organized playlists
- Customized thumbnails
When adding your images, be sure to create a consistent brand, using elements that appear on other social media sites to make your school more recognizable to its prospects. The link you use for the cover image adds an additional navigational feature, directing extra traffic to your school website.
To make your channel more appealing, select an interesting video that perfectly captures your school and create playlists based on topics that resonate with your audience. These topics can be based on your school’s programs, services, events, or research. With eye-catching thumbnails, you can boost the chances of prospects clicking on your videos.
Example: Hult International Business School has set up a YouTube channel that reflects its unique brand and voice. The profile and cover images are consistent with the school’s general branding, and the featured video is carefully chosen to introduce the school to prospects:
Scrolling further down, prospects can view videos in neatly organized playlists. These playlists reflect the school’s learning approach (Do Global, Do Growth, Do Challenge) as well as relevant programs, campus, and student life information—all while embracing a consistent brand:
When it comes to content marketing for education, it’s important to create links that direct users to where you want them to go. The same applies to video content marketing on YouTube. Schools can further personalize their YouTube account by filling out the “About” section in great detail. This allows you to introduce your school to curious prospects and link to your website and other social media accounts.
Example: Victoria University uses the About section of its YouTube account to provide a brief description of the school along with notable links to its website, social media, and a landing page:
Source: Victoria University – YouTube
Produce Creative and Informative Videos to Attract Prospects
Understanding what your audience wants to see is key to maximizing the impact of your school’s YouTube channel. To develop this understanding, you’ll need to rely on your student personas or semi-fictional representations of your prospects that provide you with a clear outline of their needs, interests, motivations, and concerns.
Consider the type of questions prospects may have and use them to create promotion ideas for schools. These topics, ranging from admissions tips to program insights, can help you create high-fidelity content—ensuring you stand out from your competition, all while delighting your prospects with valuable information.
Example: Trebas Institute Montreal has created an engaging YouTube Short video that dives into the cost of living prospects can expect if they become students in Montreal. The video covers practical insights such as rent, public transport, groceries, clothing, etc. This overview can be extremely valuable to money-conscious prospects, making it a great piece of content that serves a target audience:
There are many creative marketing ideas for educational institutes to consider when producing video content. This includes:
- Virtual tours
- Spotlight: Campus services and facilities
- Admissions FAQ
- International student experiences
- Alumni Stories
- Program highlights
- How-to tutorials with subject experts (teachers)
- Academic research spotlight
- Teacher introductions
- Housing and accommodation overviews
- City guides and study tips
Example: The University of Brighton has created a city guide that introduces the city of Brighton, showcasing the city sights as well as the city campus. This guide can help students outside of the city get more acquainted with their future surroundings, addressing potential concerns regarding the city atmosphere and lifestyle:
At its core, YouTube is a search engine. So, you may benefit from considering the type of keywords prospects may be using to view your content. It can be worthwhile to look at common queries and comb for opportunities to fill gaps with video marketing for schools.
Looking for personalized support to develop your school’s content marketing initiatives? Our team of education marketing experts can help you analyze your efforts and identify areas for improvement. Get in touch with our team for details on building an effective digital content marketing strategy!
Feature Your School’s Community and its Student Ambassadors
Your community can help your school shine, particularly regarding video content. Look for ways to showcase your community and their stories. This can further humanize your school and give you ways to connect more deeply with prospects. These stories can resonate with many of your prospects, especially if they reflect prospects’ current situations, outlooks, or backgrounds. As a result, they can be effective video marketing ideas for schools.
One way to do this is to invite student ambassadors to feature in a video on your school’s YouTube page. These student ambassadors can represent your student community and share a more authentic perspective on the student experience, bridging the connection between prospects and your school. Student ambassadors can provide a campus tour, share their own experiences, or even help with hosting events that will appear on your social media.
Example: The University of Liverpool has shared a short video with different students sharing their student experience on campus. Each student talks about their favorite things and what stood out to them, while the footage displays eye-catching shots of the city and university:
Alternatively, your school can invite its admissions staff, faculty, or alumni to share their insights and experiences on your campus. By featuring your faculty members, your school can provide prospects with an inside perspective on what the learning experience may be like. They can use these videos to determine who their teachers may be and what their teaching approach is based on. It can also cement a school’s position as a center for educational excellence, making it a great marketing strategy for schools.
Example: The University of Limerick invites Professor Mike Zaworotko, Bernal Chair of Crystal Engineering, to share his career insights, passions, and challenges. Prospects watching are thus able to attribute a personal story to a name they may come across as they research the school and relevant programs:
Optimize Videos on YouTube for Better Video Marketing for Schools
SEO is a top consideration for content marketing for higher education, and video content is no different. Here, the focus is on YouTube SEO. To boost the results of video marketing for schools, consider optimizing videos by integrating keywords into the title and description. It can also help to categorize your video and tag it with relevant popular keywords. Your video description is a great space to add links to your school website and social media accounts, driving traffic to where you want prospects to go.
Example: The University of Waterloo has produced a video that reveals top insights into the Admissions Information Form. The video description is detailed, leaving numerous relevant links for prospects to click on and explore after watching:
Pro tip: Your video description can be a way for your school to solidify its brand voice and personality. Your text will reflect how you want to speak to prospects, helping you build a stronger connection. The same can be applied to your video thumbnail, which can be changed to better represent your school and its brand.
Engage with Your Prospects to Create More Meaningful Interactions
A big part of YouTube is building relationships and a sense of community with viewers. For schools, this means using higher education content marketing to interact with prospects and inspire a deeper connection. The YouTube comments section is a great place to start when building engagement. You’ll want to review your comments and regularly respond—liking or responding to what prospects write.
Not only would doing so show that you care about your prospects and actively listen to them, but it would also help boost your video with the YouTube algorithm. As with any other social media platform, high engagement produces great results. On YouTube, videos that have garnered a lot of likes and comments tend to appear higher in search results.
Example: The Toronto Film School actively responds to comments from YouTube users on one of its recent videos. In addition to liking the comments, the school’s team has responded—creating a sense of community where the school warmly interacts with its audience:
Consider YouTube Advertising when Developing Your Video Marketing Strategy
According to recent statistics, YouTube ads have the potential to reach 2.56 billion users, around 32% of the total population and 51% of total internet users. Notably, the average cost per view on the platform is cheaper and less competitive, making it a great option for schools considering digital education advertising.
There are different types of YouTube ads to consider, each with its own set of limitations and advantages, with some of the most prevalent being:
- Skippable in-stream ads: used for promoting video content before, during, or after other videos on YouTube, may be skipped by the user after five seconds
- Non-skippable in-stream ads: used for promoting video content on YouTube, but users are forced to watch the whole message, typically no longer than 15 seconds
- In-feed video ads: Used to promote video content in the discovery stage, positioned next to relevant YouTube videos as part of a search result
- Bumper ads: six-second (or less) ads that are played before, during, or after another video and cannot be skipped by users
As with any other initiative in regard to video marketing for schools, you’ll need to solidify your goals. This means identifying what you want your YouTube advertising campaign to accomplish before selecting your ad format. It’s also important to remember that having a short yet engaging video is key. You’ll want to keep your message brief and direct while also showcasing the best your school has to offer. This way, you can use these ads to improve your brand awareness or reach your target audience.