From creative centenary celebrations to viral photo contests, higher education institutes show us that when it comes to social media they know best!
Let’s face it! Social media is an indispensable part of the world today and most of us turn to it for just about everything we think is important enough to know about. Organizations worldwide have been leveraging the power of social media platforms to reach out to audiences that matter, spread awareness and influence decisions. However, when it comes to educational institutes social media is often just a tick in the box, simply because everyone else is on it. So why does this happen? Well for a lot of reasons; like the overspending on print advertising or the expensive on campus experientials that existed for quite a while now, to the relatively new but gross lack of understanding of how digital platforms work.
While most educational institutes world over, remain silent proxies in the social media world, the following examples prove the point – when it comes to marketing or engaging audiences on social media, universities clearly know best!
#1 Boston University – Snapchat
Keeping current students informed and engaged. Streamlining communication process.
With over 80% of their students using Snapchat daily, the Boston University decided it was time to get them where they were. Launched in January 2015, the university’s Snapchat channel is immensely popular and the university has been able to eliminate a lot of redundant processes in its student communications and reach out to them more effectively with news, events, course and campus updates. Additionally, the university posts behind the scenes looks for campus events, locker room antics, and celebrations, which have helped them engage students in a fun way and gather a lot of interest from prospective students and the community in general.
The university’s presence on Snapchat has had a considerable effect on the university’s image as one of the coolest universities in the United States.
#2 Vancouver Island University – Instagram
Building brand identity and creating brand association
Your tribe defines your vibe! The Vancouver Island University took this brand building philosophy quite literally when they set out to create their Instagram tribe, which not only established their brand identity firmly but also won them awards from the social media community worldwide.
Rather than random posts of their campus to gain followers, the university set out to engage with the young Instagram community who resonated with the university’s core values, a love for the outdoors, and an eclectic lifestyle. With these tribes in place, the university encourages tribes to post with the hashtag #ilearnhere and averaged over 500 posts a month. Having managed to strike a chord with their audiences, tribes would further work with Instagram influencers to promote the tribe culture and the university managed to gain over 6k followers and 10k public posts on their hashtag without any spending on social media.
#3 University of Roehampton – Instagram and Twitter
Engaging current and prospective students
Starting off as a small student engagement campaign to bring out the true vibe of campus life, The University of Roehamption’s #WeAreUR campaign won the Best Community Engagement Campaign of 2015 and has become a highly anticipated annual social media event.
With a simple yet creative premise, the photo sharing campaign invited students to participate by uploading as many images as they wanted using the hashtag #WeAreUR. Each month, 10 of the best entries were uploaded to the University’s Facebook page for public voting, with the winner being presented with a University scarf and entry into the annual photo contest. At the end of the year, the top photos from each month compete against each other in the annual voting event and the bragging rights for the winner were massive.
Starting off small, the hashtag has over 4000 public posts, helping the university strike a chord with its students and depict a fun vibe to prospective students both in and out of Roehampton.
#4 University of Nevada at Reno – Facebook
Centenary celebrations and community engagement
What a better way to continue their centenary celebrations than to ‘bring history to life’. Having spent over a century in existence, the University of Nevada at Reno, came up with one of the most creative ideas to use Facebook to engage the community at large, take them down the nostalgia lane, and show how the University students were cool way back in the day.
Starting off by creating Facebook profiles for some its actual students from a hundred years ago, the university created content and updates from relevant events back in the day, like a major blizzard that hit the city in those days. With daily updates from these profiles, the university could present an interesting take on how youngsters a hundred years ago would have been if they had Facebook then.
The campaign garnered such a positive response that it received worldwide press coverage and was even featured on television with news shows talking about it. The relatively unknown university suddenly shot to fame far beyond the borders it had ever reached before.
#5 Kingston University – Pinterest
Engaging current and prospective students
Only a handful of educational institutes use Pinterest. Rather than seeing this as a negative point, the Kingston University set out to create a niche for itself and leverage Pinterest to engage both current and prospective students.
With pinboards for everything from graduation ceremonies and city tours to their immensely popular #TakeToUni pinboard where students can tag all the important items they brought along when they first came to the university as well as those they missed getting.
Not only did the university get their best brand ambassadors – their students, onboard the recruitment process, they also offered valuable advice to prospective students just about everywhere and in the bargain increased their Pinterest presence to over 300k followers in just a couple of months.
While the examples above aren’t the only times when universities have leveraged social media to make a difference and are a great indication of the impact universities can create on social media platforms. With a much more socially active student audience, the Indian education industry can certainly take note of such campaigns and effectively leverage the power of social media to reach out and connect with their audiences.