When you are preparing to try a new restaurant, book a hotel stay or even buy a new car, what is one of the first things you do? If you are anything like most consumers in 2015 you head to the Internet and search Yelp, TripAdvisor or Edmunds (to name a few). Honest feedback, may it be positive or negative, is leading the way in driving consumer decisions and your college or university is no different.
High-schoolers are coming on your tours and skimming your handouts, but more importantly, they are searching for information about your school online… and they are hoping to find information directly from your current students. Sadly, many schools are letting them down by focusing on old habits. In the past this information could be obtained from having a prospective student stay over-night with a current student, but the on-demand generation doesn’t want to wait that long into the application process. They want real life, live student data at their fingertips.
Every day your students are capturing moments on campus that are exactly the type of recruitment tools you should be using. Whether it is dorm room pranks, hanging out at the landmarks near campus, rooting for sports teams or just getting dinner with friends: All of these moments are being captured on social media every day, but schools are still showing safe images and buildings.
A school that showcases student driven content really well is Emerson College. Recently named the best college in the country for the LGBT community and one of the best film programs in the country, something else they excel at is communication by students for students. Most departments have dedicated Twitter profiles that are managed by students as well as accepted student Facebook pages and pages specifically for graduate students. These communities are mentioned from the first time you show interest in Emerson and help keep an open dialogue between current students and their future classmates.
There are some really simple ways to take advantage of student generated content:
- Setup a digitally shared folder for students to add photos to that can be used in your marketing materials.
- Encourage departments to setup Twitter and Facebook pages that all students in the program may contribute.
- Start a blog to showcase culture where all students are encouraged to do short write ups about their day to day life.
- You can also have departmental blogs that focus on student life and preparing for the workforce. The marketing communications graduate program at Emerson has a dedicated blog that students contribute to both for course credit and for fun.
- Setup hashtags that matches your content goals and encourage students to use it. Setup a feed to show those tweets and images on your website homepage.
The most important thing to consider when implementing a student drive content plan is to let your students speak freely. If you want someone to cover the Thursday night baseball game, talk to one of the journalism majors, if you want real life content just giving students the forums to provide it will be enough.
In the world of higher education, it’s no secret that campus culture plays an extremely important role in recruiting new students. Student driven content, whether it be used on your website or specifically for social media, will play a crucial role in generating and nurturing prospective students by showing real time culture.
If you want to learn how QuadLyfe can help you show off your campus culture contact us today to schedule a demonstration.