Why Social Media is the Best Way to Reach Incoming Students

In Brief:

  • Generation Z will soon take over campuses. Prepare to meet their expectations with these considerations.

  • Use social media to better reach students and minimize operational waste.

  • Maximize social media efficiency by leaning on helpful tools and student feedback. Be sure to keep up with the latest social media trends to better engage students.

Blog Post

Your institution is about to experience a generational shift. The youngest millennial students are graduating and Gen Z will soon take over the campus. Are you prepared to meet their expectations?

We surveyed 271 higher ed professionals in conjunction with University Business magazine to determine the level of concern institutions were feeling about a change in student demographics. We learned two big takeaways:

Communication with students must be both interactive and accessible on mobile devices, and social media can help us meet that demand.

Why use social media?

Social media isn’t a new way to reach our student audience, but certain departments on campus may not be fully taking advantage of its potential (I’m talking to you – business and financial aid offices). Your incoming students’ age group is already active on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Other reasons for using social media include:

  • Reduced phone calls to the office
  • Increased credibility and engagement with students
  • Increasing awareness of options to fund education, campus events, application/enrollment deadlines, etc.
  • Better monitoring of student concerns
  • Improving SEO to your school or department’s website

Efficiency tips

Let’s face it – you’ve got a lot on your plate and taking the time to focus on social media isn’t always your highest priority.  Here are a few tips for maximizing your social media efficiency.

  1. Don’t be afraid to let students help. These digital natives are living in a social media world and can help take your social media strategy to the next level. Just make sure you’ve outlined some clear policies before setting them free.
  2. Invest in social efficiency and visual tools. Efficiency tools like  Hootsuite.com, SproutSocial.com, and MeetEdgar.com allow you to schedule out posts in advance, give you meaningful analytics, and help you monitor comments. Visual tools will make your posts stand out for maximum engagement, so look into Canva.com, PicMonkey.com, RelayThat.com or Spark.Adobe.com.
  3. Set aside a couple of hours at the beginning or end of the month to create a content calendar. Scheduling out your posts for the next 30 days will save you a significant amount of time during the week so you can focus more on engaging with your audience.

Keep up with the latest social media trends

There are some great blogs and newsletters out there that provide the latest tips and trends in social media.  Keep your strategy fresh and keep students engaged with tips from these blogs and e-publications:

While creating and sticking to a social media strategy can seem like a task we don’t have enough time for, it can pay off in a big way. Be sure to visit the Smarter Campus blog periodically to learn more tips on using social media in institutions of higher education. Even better, subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter and get the latest right in your inbox.

Nelnet Campus Commerce
Author: Nelnet Campus Commerce

View all posts by Nelnet Campus Commerce