Strategies for Social Media Marketing in Higher Education

social media marketing

In higher education, social media has become an indispensable tool for marketing and student engagement. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are increasingly leveraging these platforms to boost brand awareness, reach new audiences, and create authentic, relatable content that resonates with current and prospective students.

The Influence of Social Media

Social media’s role in shaping students’ perceptions and decisions cannot be overstated. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok offer HEIs a direct line to their target demographic. According to a HubSpot report, 89% of marketers planned to increase their influencer budget in 2023, recognizing its high return on investment, especially in engaging younger audiences, who rely heavily on social media for opinions and reviews, including university and college choices.

Adding to this, the focus on micro and nano influencers rather than macro-influencers is gaining traction. These smaller influencers, often including students themselves, are known for generating higher engagement rates, with an average rate of around 3.69%. This shift towards authenticity and niche targeting in influencer marketing aligns perfectly with the goals of HEIs. By leveraging student ambassadors and creating content that resonates with specific student groups, HEIs can create genuine connections and community engagement, enhancing their marketing effectiveness.

Enhancing Student Recruitment and Engagement

Social media transcends traditional marketing strategies by offering an immersive platform for student recruitment and engagement. These platforms are not just about building communities; they have become helpful in directly influencing student enrollment decisions. With over 95% of HEIs utilizing social media marketing strategies, the shift from conventional methods to digital ones is apparent. These platforms have changed the student recruitment process, allowing HEIs to connect with potential students in a more dynamic and personal way.

HEIs are now exploring various creative approaches to using social media for marketing and engagement:

  1. Short-Form Video Content
    With the rising popularity of TikTok and other video-based platforms, HEIs are creating engaging, informative content that resonates with a younger audience. Short, impactful videos can effectively convey the vibrancy and diversity of campus life, academic programs and student experiences.
  2. LinkedIn for Professional Networking
    While platforms like TikTok and Instagram cater to a more general audience, LinkedIn remains at the top for engaging with career-focused prospects. By highlighting alumni success stories, faculty achievements and professional opportunities, HEIs can create a stronger appeal to students seeking career advancement through education.
  3. Interactive Live Sessions
    Using platforms for live interactions, such as Q&A sessions with faculty, career counsellors or student ambassadors, can significantly boost engagement. These sessions offer prospective and current students a platform to interact directly with institutional representatives, enhancing a sense of community and belonging.
  4. User-Generated Content
    Encouraging students to share their experiences and participate in social media challenges or campaigns can create a more relatable and engaging online presence. This approach not only diversifies the content but also showcases the institution through the eyes of its students.
  5. Educational and Tutorial Content
    Sharing educational content, tutorials and informative posts aligns with the core mission of HEIs while providing value and knowledge to the audience. This approach positions the institution as a resource for learning and development, extending its reach beyond just prospective students.

Interested in a Career in Marketing?

Given the growing importance of social media in higher education marketing, there is a growing demand for professionals skilled in this area. Many GUS Canada institutions offer specialized programs that focus on digital marketing:

University of Niagara Falls Canada (UNF) offers programs that dive into the business aspects of digital marketing, offering students comprehensive knowledge of marketing strategies and digital tools, important for today’s digital-centric business environment.

Canadian College of Technology and Business (CCTB) provides comprehensive digital marketing programs that focus on modern strategies and tools. These courses are tailored to impart practical skills and insights, priming students for the evolving digital marketing world.

Trebas Institute is ideal for those interested in the creative sectors such as film, television and music, offering specialized audio and video programs with an integral focus on digital marketing. This unique blend of creativity and marketing acumen offers a distinct perspective on digital marketing strategies.

Toronto School of Management (TSoM) has digital marketing programs that are created to equip students with essential skills for the field. Covering various parts from social media strategies to analytics, the curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for the modern marketing challenges.

Niagara College – Toronto (NCT)’s focused Business – Sales and Marketing program emphasizes digital marketing skills and strategies. This course is structured to prepare students for the fast-evolving digital marketing sector.

These programs are not only for those looking to enter the field of higher education marketing but also for professionals in the sector aiming to enhance their digital marketing skills. As the landscape continues to evolve in parallel with technology, the expertise in social media marketing becomes increasingly valuable.

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