The silver lining amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is that the digital transformation has accelerated and this paradigm shift is not only confined to a few industries but across encompassing the education sector. The widespread access to the internet, Covid-19, millennial’s preference to connect with the world are a few critical factors which are fueling the growth of Social Media Marketing in the education sector across the globe. This digital wave is here to stay and will amplify further. This is very much evident in the increasing number of active internet users which has crossed 574 million as of 2019 in India.
The millennials are glued to social media which can be a great avenue for the educational institutions to connect with these prospective students. Social media has shaped up as a potential and an effective platform to bridge between different stakeholders such as aspirants, students, teachers, institute and even parents. Along with enabling direct communication, it’s a crucial tool to drive reach and engagement.
Some of the critical social media strategies supporting engagement, enrollments and hence growth while cultivating positive reputation for the Institution are following: –
Engagement Marketing Campaign
A Social media campaign helps to engage with the target group and interact with more and more users. It is different from the regular social media content posting. It’s a strategic initiative based on the goal of maximization of engagement with the target audience.
Content Creation and Marketing
An institution should proactively focus on content creation considering the following aspects: –
Target Group (TG) Based content
The primary objective of a social media campaign should be creating quality content relevant to the target group catering to the eventual goal of increasing traffic, more engagement and better page rankings. Proper keyword research should be carried out for this objective. To garner interest of aspirants, the message should be through stories, videos, captions and photos.
Conversion Oriented Content
Driving content with a clear goal helps to focus on outcomes. It should be aligned to our business objectives. From an institution’s perspective, through conversion centric content, prospects can be targeted. Content needs to be crafted creatively understanding the psyche of the aspirants catering to their exploration for an institution. It should encompass institution’s USPs, amenities, infrastructure, life at campus, hostels, placements, fees, pedagogy, faculty details etc. Various Filters, Visuals, Geotagging, Videos, Story based content helps to build conviction amongst prospects yielding in faster and better conversions.
Existing Students as Virtual Brand Ambassadors – For aspirants, the current students of an institution are the most trustworthy source of authentic information. Being in a similar age group, prospects are able to relate with them. Hence institutions should encourage their students to share feedback & experiences, participate in sessions, virtual tours etc. As virtual tour guides, these students can share glimpses of their campus life, hostel life, fun on campus, daily routine, various clubs etc. This would be the most relatable source for these prospects.
Unified Message – All social media accounts should be eventually managed under one umbrella so that unified messages are given to all stakeholders ensuring quality, consistency and outcomes. This whole pie should be managed by professional marketeers who understand the social media landscape and content consumption best practices.
Business Insights – Analysis and analytics should be an integral part of the campaign. It should be implemented at all stages starting from strategy formulation, content buckets, communication platforms, customized content for each platform, content synchronization, analyzing your TG, followers and their characteristics, posts responsiveness etc.
SEO and Mobile Optimization– With the ever evolving and dynamic Google Analytics, it’s of utmost importance for any business to have a technically strong website optimized both for on-page and off-page SEO. If the website isn’t properly or partially optimized, you will miss out being in the top search results. Hence SEO has to be part of the campaign strategy.
The website should be mobile responsive as today internet access through mobile especially for millennials is far higher than desktops. As per Statista reports 2019, 2 out of 3 Indians who have smartphones are on some kind of social media platforms and 97% of internet users access the internet on mobile. If the website for an institute isn’t mobile optimized then the institute will miss out on a great number of prospects.
With the advent of digital adoption, the mode and nature of education has transformed. This in turn has led to new streams of engagement marketing through different social media platforms. Hence it is the need of the hour for the education institutions to move in sync with the digital tide for prolific growth.