Posted by Steve Parker, Jr. (@sparkerjr)
Current and prospective college students spend a great deal of time on Facebook, so it only makes sense to use it as a platform for marketing in higher education. Universities appear to agree – in a study performed by UMass at Dartmouth, 98% of universities reported having some kind of marketing presence on Facebook. But although “everybody’s doing it,” the use of Facebook marketing in higher education varies greatly by school. That is – every school has their own way of leveraging the social giant, creating a personal edge that is unique to their school. Below are seven examples of using Facebook marketing in higher education.
1. Virtual Tours
Using Facebook marketing, universities can easily take prospective students on a full tour of the campus – right from their homes. For students who cannot make it to your campus for a walking tour due to schedule conflicts, financial strains, etc., you can still show them all your university has to offer through virtual tours on your Facebook page.
2. Show Your School Pride
A great way for students to form tighter bonds with the university and with each other is through a shared identity stemming from school pride. And what better place to showcase that school pride than Facebook? For example, Butler’s mascot, Blue II, has his own Facebook page where he gets students amped for upcoming games, keeps them informed of game times and viewing party details.
3. Get Your Swag On
Everyone likes free stuff. University of Kansas uses their page to link to digital and printable school pride memorabilia, such as screensavers, backgrounds and e-cards.
4. Rally the Alumni
A great way for alumni to stay in touch with each other and receive updates regarding university news is through Facebook alumni groups. Some schools have a main alumni group, as well as several smaller groups for local chapters.
5. Skip the Interdepartmental Memos
Some schools, such as Syracuse University, have several different Facebook pages for individual departments. That way, content on each page is specialized for that department while still allowing the various departments to share content across pages.
6. Reach Out to Prospective Students
Facebook marketing is a great way for higher education institutions to communicate with prospective students in the social and engaging manner they’ve grown up with. Create customized tabs with information specific to future students. There’s even an app available that lets universities create a closed Facebook community of admitted students only. That way, students can join the Facebook community and interact with other students without actually having to friend them. The University of Texas at Tyler, who invites admitted students to join their app, found that students who use the app are actually five times more likely to enroll than those who don’t.
7. Incorporate Facebook Places
Through Facebook Places, students can check in at various locations around campus, which then show up in their news feed. To encourage students to use this feature, the University of Kentucky placed giant, wooden markers that looked like the Facebook Places icon around the campus. The hope was that students would be more likely to check in at these places, which could then be seen in news feeds by their friends who are still in high school and starting to think of where they’d like to go to college.
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