The Best Education Marketing Solutions Using the Web: Paid Social Media

Paid social mediaSometimes it takes more than a killer ad campaign to reach the traffic and lead generation goals you’ve set for your university. That’s where paid social media as part of your digital strategy can help. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping your content is shared enough to get in front of a sufficient amount of the right eyeballs. Paid social allows higher education marketers to generate more quality traffic. It puts the right content in front of more of the right people, at the right time. Familiarity fosters likability and adding paid social to your strategy can help create the traffic your campaign needs to take off.  

Good content is subjective, but a perceived value is often more successful with students and potential students. For example, banner ads are seen as a thing of the past. In today’s world, people are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day and adding value to the student journey is one of the best ways to stand out.

Students using mobileIn a mobile-first society, thinking about which device a prospective student is on, when and why are they are they’re on it; are all opportunities to offer relevant content based on what will be the most valuable at any given time.  Whether a prospective student is just scrolling through their social media feed and just happens to come across your university or they’re actively searching for information; even if they don’t register or inquire more deeply at that particular time, they’ll remember which university’s content resonated with them the most.

When trying to promote your university’s account, paid social media, whether it’s promoted posts or social media ads, can be a way to offer value by supporting each step of the student journey. It’s a way to expand and build your community and offers a real-time account of what students are saying so you can adjust your campaign strategy accordingly.

Paid social media campaign objectives:

  • Increase clicks, shares, downloads, followers, engagement and leads.
  • Diversify your audience based on target interests, adding new locations/demographics, etc.
  • Motivate students to want to learn more, schedule a visit, apply.

There are 3 major reasons why paid social is one of the best higher education marketing solutions. 

  1. 90% of college age students are on social media.
  2. Most college admissions officers believe a social media presence is vital to the admissions process.
  3. 45% of people use social media to help them make decisions.

So, what is paid social media exactly?

Paid social is any form of marketing that places ads on social media, including promoted posts. Some of the most popular platforms for paid social that higher education marketers use today are Facebook ads, promoted tweets and LinkedIn ads.

Education-Marketing-Social-MediaTo make the most of your education marketing strategy, it’s important to stay on trend with your target market and to keep your messaging consistent across all platforms. Each social media channel has a unique niche and purpose. Finding the right channel for your paid social depends on the demographic characteristics of your target audience. Whether they are prospective students, current students, parents, international prospects or alumni, it’s important to keep in mind that preferences and social media are always evolving. Track your performance indicators and make sure to test different kinds of creative to get the most out of your web paid social media campaigns.

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Consider what type of content you are sharing and how.

  • Content that is paired with an image gets 94% more views than content without.
  • Video engagement on Facebook is 97% higher than on Youtube and 75% higher than on Instagram.
  • Infographics have a higher click-through-rate on LinkedIn than any other channel.

Paid social comes in many different forms. By tapping into rich media and new ad formats, marketers can be engaging and tap into what students want.  

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Carousels
  • Articles
  • Infographics
  • Gifs
  • Sponsored stories

Paid vs Organic Social MediaSo if your campaign is killer but it’s not taking off, maybe what you have is a traffic problem. Paid social will give you a lot more eyeballs and just may be the solution your social media marketing strategy needs.

Here is a quick checklist for creating a successful paid social strategy:

  1. Define the top objectives.
  2. Decide who your target market is.
  3. Determine which social media platforms work best for your target.
  4. Develop creative that resonates with your audience right off the bat.
  5. Deliver a competitive advantage by listening to the responses, learning what works best and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Paid social allows you to connect with your target where they are spending a lot of their time. And if you want to learn more about using digital for education marketing, see our earlier post: What's The Best Measurement Of Education Marketing Success in Digital? Results vs. Clicks.

Have any paid social or education marketing tips and tricks that have worked for you that we didn’t cover? Share them below to start the conversation.

Sarah Knight_HeadshotSarah Knight, living the student education marketing life

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