Since the rise in tuition fees in 2010, students have started reflecting more and more about where to go to university, taking under consideration a number of relevant factors.
Studies show that, when choosing which university to apply to, students will filter out locations that suit them, followed by institutions that offer the course content that they want. Academic reputation is the third most important factor when it comes to a final selection1, together with student satisfaction and opinions of student life.
Certain factors are purely subject to luck (for example, geographical proximity of an institution to bright and ambitious students), but others can be influenced. So the question becomes, how can universities marketing teams reach out to students and generate their interest most effectively?
Designing and carrying out a comprehensive social media initiative is the solution a lot of universities should consider.
In particular, implementing a social amplification platform at a university, involving both staff and key members of the student body, can help build a strong digital reputation, increasing exposure for the academic institution. Additionally, granting current students access to a vast stream of content that they can share and contribute to can attract a wider number of prospective students. It can also help generate interest and a social buzz about a university and make it attractive to apply to. But how exactly does it do this?
1. Improve communication, improve satisfaction
An employee advocacy platform can work wonders in engaging everyone working and studying at a university in the latest on campus news. With so many events, charitable initiatives, conferences and sport competitions happening all the time, it’s easy to see the benefit of creating one single hub of content where staff members and selected students can get a comprehensive glimpse on what is going on and pick what they want to share with their own online connections.
2. Connect with the right demographic in a way that will be valued
Think about it, a lot of the time, your current students are in contact with a lot of their peers from school who are looking at universities. The demographics of these networks are likely to be of similar academic capability, of a similar hometowns and often similar ambitions of your current students.
Reaching out to these groups can establish an authentic interest in the university. This is particularly true if one considers that, when researching and looking into options for university, where the information is coming from is an essential factor. Hearing another student talk about their university in a positive way can make a lasting impression; in fact, 32% of prospective students said they gathered information on a university from friends and siblings2.
3. Give authentic glimpses of student life
When it comes to the student experience, who better to talk about it then the students themselves? An NUS study shows that 29% of students value quality of student life as the most important factor when determining where they will go to university3.
An employee advocacy platform can enable students to access and create content about their university lives, allowing their peers to share their experiences on their personal social networks.
4. Strengthen the alumni community
By inviting some of the most active alumni to an employee advocacy platform, universities can easily reach former students with news and updates about their university, strengthening the sense of community and keep graduates well connected as they go on to further success.
1 Leeds university research, ‘Students’ motives, aspirations and choices’:
2 The NUS student experience report:
3 The NUS student experience report: