One of the amazing benefits of social media is that you can connect with anyone regardless of where they live. In fact, many social media channels have a large international user base. Consider that 80 percent of Instagram users and 79 percent of Twitter users come from outside the United States. If you have a strong presence on these channels, chances are you’re already reaching prospects in other parts of the world.
Reaching prospects and connecting with them is two different things, though. A student living in France may come across your content, but if it’s not optimized to their needs, it won’t do your school any favors. To be successful in recruiting international students, you must be sensitive to their culture and nationality. You must learn about your audience, the language they use, the aspects of a college education that are important to them, and more.
Here are a few ways to make reaching an international audience easier.
Share Relevant Content Across Multiple Social Networks
To appeal to an international audience, create new content that addresses their unique needs. For example, what are their motivations for attending your school? If pursuing a medical career is important, highlight your medical program, graduation rates, and job opportunities.
It’s also smart to address common questions about living, working, and attending classes at your university. This is a new environment for overseas students, and they need to know how they will be accommodated in their first months on campus. What groups do you have for these students? How do you help with language barriers? The more information you provide, the better.
Build a Team of Mentors
It’s great if your higher institution takes steps to make international students feel comfortable on campus, but it’s even better if they are accepted by their peers. To help with this, create a team of mentors that are responsible for partnering up with international students. This is rewarding for both groups and can offer a lot of perspective.
As you welcome new students on campus, pair them up with a mentor and ask them to share their experiences on a blog. This way, you get new content and can attract students from other countries. You may even want to consider a welcome bag for each new student. Things you can include are a brochure on the local restaurants and businesses, a map of the campus, contact information for campus resources, and basic school supplies.
Consider Other Social Media Networks
An international audience is active on channels you’re familiar with, but don’t forget that other countries have their own top social networking sites. For example, Naver is the most popular social channel in South Korea. If you prefer to reach prospects in China, you would want to focus your efforts on WeChat and Weibo.
Remember, too, that the details make a difference. Avoid using long sentences, idioms, or regional expressions. Keep content short and easy to read so that non-native speakers can understand it. And, don’t forget to factor in the time differences. It could be the middle of the night when you’re posting something mid-day here.
There is a lot that goes into reaching international students, but it all starts with increasing engagement. By following the tips above, tracking performance statistics, and building an online community, you will slowly see more interest from international students.
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