All businesses find some value in using social media, and colleges and other educational facilities are no different. Why? Because social media speaks the language of younger audiences. In other words, it speaks to the audiences that educational facilities need to target with their advertising content.
In particular, much attention recently has been on short-form content. While browsing through their feeds, young people pay attention to Reels on both Instagram and TikTok.
Before launching into our advice, we should first note that Reels are short, fun, creative videos. Record a short 15-second video or edit multiple clips together for a maximum of 15 seconds, and then share it with followers. For those with a public account, it’s also possible to share videos using the new Explore space to access a wider audience.
While Instagram has developed a separate feature for short-form content, TikTok is essentially a whole platform dedicated to this style of content. If you haven’t been keeping up with the social media trends TikTok has taken the internet world by storm. Users can create short videos, add music and other features, and then share with the world. One reason both features have stolen the spotlight is that businesses can create hashtags, trends, and communities within the platforms themselves.
If you have an Instagram account, go into the Instagram camera and you should see a Reels video icon. Here, you’ll play around with all the various creative editing tools that Instagram has provided all users.
Let’s face it, all prospective students see a polished version of a college or another educational facility when visiting on an open house day. The college is all dressed up to attract students. We aren’t saying that this isn’t a good way to attract high-quality students. However, these days, young people also want an insight into the day-to-day life of colleges and schools.
With this in mind, we recommend recording short, behind-the-scenes videos for prospective students. For example, it could be a short video of a football game, a science experiment in a lab, or just the general atmosphere as people walk around campus. Often, a 15-second behind-the-scenes clip has a larger impact than a 5-minute, highly polished video.
Show off the unique features of the college, show behind the scenes in a drama performance, and create organic content that appeals to students.
If you’re interested in recruiting students from all over the globe, make sure that your content speaks to people of all backgrounds and nationalities. Using TikTok and Instagram, we can put music over the top of our videos. Instead of choosing randomly, choose an artist or song that has a global appeal. For example, we’re thinking about Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Queen, and Abba. People all over the world will recognize the music and instantly feel an affinity towards your college.
At the same time, you can also get involved in global trends. If everybody is doing a particular dance challenge, perhaps you can get students and professors to join in? Be careful with this though because there’s a fine line between marketing and losing professionalism.
If you think carefully, some of the most creative minds on campus are students themselves. Seek out the art, business, media, marketing, and communication majors and tap into their knowledge. As students, they know what young people want to see because they were choosing between colleges not so long ago. This is also an effective strategy because existing students resonate with prospective students - it’s a reflection of where their life could be with the right decision.
With the right students, you’ll enjoy creating content for the college and everybody wins. The college gets high-quality content, students get real-life experience, and prospective students see people like themselves. In fact, the students helping with this project can add it to their resume and increase their value to employers.
While comparing colleges, prospective students are bored of being spoken at by professionals, parents, teachers, and other adults. If you really want to break through, get students to help. Show them why they should choose your campus rather than telling them.
We just touched on it, but marketing is all about storytelling, and one of the basic rules of storytelling is to show and not tell. In other words, don’t talk endlessly about why your college is the best option around for people who want to take specific courses.
Traditionally, it has been normal to create a viewbook and pack this with information. In theory, it should work because it contains information about the history of the university, the available courses, the facilities, and more. Yet, no young person wants to sit and stare at a viewbook in this day and age. Imagine showing the same information in a series of short videos and capturing the attention and imagination of young people this way.
Young people use social media, so Reels helps to integrate the two important areas of their life. Suddenly, they’re learning about your college while using the social media platforms that they love so much. Show the state-of-the-art sports facilities in a short video, the theatre during a live performance, and all the different things that you want to highlight.
With the introduction of social media, younger students are likely to have names of colleges in mind before they even start their research. Therefore, we recommend using Reels to also target high school sophomores and freshmen. Although they won’t start their research yet, you can get your name into their minds with high-quality Reels content. Like any business, get exposure and awareness early and you might be surprised by how well they remember when the time eventually comes.
Remember, college is a time where students leave the safety of home and explore the wider world for the first time. Therefore, you should show off the beauty of the location just as much as the campus itself. Post videos and images of nearby landmarks, parks, churches, sports facilities, and other surroundings. This is the city or town where the students will live, so show off their new home.
Lots of students will appreciate the beauty and feel of the surrounding area, and you can help them understand this beauty with Reels.
We aren’t saying you should lose professionalism and respect, but there’s no reason why you can’t inject some humor into your posts. For example, a short Reel of your sports mascot dancing during a game will make young people smile and feel as though your college is the place to be. You could also show students doing a TikTok trend or professors having fun with a science experiment.
Young people are constantly being told about the magnitude of their decisions, and they’re under constant pressure to get the right grades and start on the right career path. Every so often, appeal to the lighter side and make people smile. Instantly, prospective students will feel as though your college is a nurturing, fun option as well as a serious one.
Furthermore, many colleges and other educational facilities are finding success with engaging content. For example, this could be anything from a simple question/poll to a full quiz. With this, you’re giving people a reason to stick around rather than watching one video and clicking away. In between the question video and the answer video, post another video highlighting one of the benefits of choosing your university.
If you aren’t posting regularly, the work that you do put in every so often is wasted. We know how it goes - you’re hit with sudden inspiration and post multiple times per day for a whole week. Then, you lose motivation and don’t post for two months. This strategy just isn’t going to work, even if those productive weeks are highly engaging.
By posting regularly, you’re reliable and people come to expect content from the page. This is pivotal when people are considering joining your college. Student recruitment is all about engaging and then maintaining this engagement, and you can only do this with regular posts. With this in mind, it’s best to plan content in advance and record as much as possible before the upload date. If possible, have at least one person dedicated to Reels and other social media posts.
With these nine tips, you can now see how the education industry can use Reels for student recruitment. You don’t need us to tell you that student recruitment is now a highly competitive market. Therefore, pay attention to our advice, create engaging content, and always keep the audience in mind (these are the people you need to convince!).