The National Center for Education Statistics projected that 20.4 million students will attend America’s colleges and universities in the fall of 2017. Assuming that each student has at least one to two parents, that’s 20-40 million parents that you’re marketing to as well!

It’s not easy to target both students and parents, but it’s easier than in years past thanks to tools like Facebook. On this channel alone, you can reach parents and students by using the available targeting features. But, how do you get the conversation going?

Let’s look at four unique ways that you can target parents and students in a natural and effective way.

1. Income-Based Targeting

On Facebook, you can target your ads to people based on a certain income or net worth. Consider your higher institution and the types of students that attend there. Does your school cater to students from middle-class families? Do you offer robust financial aid packages? Or, is it more accurate to say that your students are from affluent families? Use this data as a guide when targeting the appropriate income levels.             

2. Weather-Based Targeting

Everyone loves to talk about the weather. Even colleges and universities can use the weather to spark a conversation among students and parents. The way to do this is by linking your AdWords account with a weather service. Then, use this information to promote events that are dependent on sunny skies. For example, you can use weather targeting to get people to come out to a football game, volunteer at an outdoor picnic, or even take part in a seasonal event such as apple picking or planting trees.

3. Attitude-Based Tracking

There was a time when marketers thought it would be impossible to identify someone’s attitude, but this is no longer the case. With intuitive technology and tracking software, a person’s behaviors can be tracked and their next steps predicted. Already, we’re seeing higher institutions create useful, engaging content to help prospects in their search. Tracking moods also helps marketers put their dollars into the most qualified students and parents.

4. Emoji-Based Targeting

Who doesn’t love emojis? We can find them everywhere these days to help people express themselves without having to use words. From smiley faces to thumbs up to animal silhouettes, it’s possible to have an entire conversation in emojis!

Luckily, college marketers can also use emojis to help them better understand and communicate with their audience. On Twitter, for example, your school can track different emojis (i.e., graduation caps, school buses, school buildings, teachers) and engage in conversation. You can also use emojis to brighten up your social posts and say more in fewer words.

As a college marketer, you must be patient. This is one decision that parents and students can’t make overnight, so it’s up to your campaigns to be insightful and persuasive. We hope that the four suggestions above have provided you with some insight as to how you can target students and parents more efficiently and effectively.