Typically, colleges and universities target prospective students that are recent or soon-to-be high school graduates. And, the logic makes perfect sense. The best time to market something is when the consumer is in need of it, right? But, if you only target recent graduates in the spring and summer, you’re missing out on a large audience that is willing and interested to listen to what you have to offer.
Consider a typical high school junior or senior in the fall. They are refreshed from summer break and more open to learning about what options are available to them after high school. By planting the seed ahead of time, your higher institution is giving prospective students ample time to explore your program and establish a firm rapport. Staying connected also means that you may address questions and concerns early on, eliminating pre-college jitters.
With so many students out there, how can you possibly reach them all? Social media.
Facebook and Twitter have young audiences, so it’s certain that you will find your audience on here. A steady stream of shared photos, blog posts, short videos and engaging advertisements means that you are crafting an image for your higher institution and getting high school students to think about YOUR college.
Don’t overlook the power of other social channels such as YouTube, Pandora and Google+. Through short videos, targeted radio ads and written content, you can establish a reputation for your college or university while also reaching younger audiences, such as freshmen and sophomore high school students.
One important thing to remember: think in terms of the student. It’s easy for colleges and universities to over-promote their programs, but prospective students are also interested in things like:
What will college life be like on the campus?
What do the dorms look like? How are the dining halls?
What programs are available for commuters? Transfers?
What extracurricular activities are available?
Are there accelerated programs for early graduation?
What is campus like life for international students?
So how can you increase awareness and promote likes, fans and followers on social media? Open houses are the perfect opportunity to get your name out there. Be sure that your social profiles are listed on all printed material, as well as your website, so that interested students can easily find you and stay engaged and connected until it’s time for enrollment.