Social Influencing For Universities – Using Students as Brand Ambassadors
When it comes to advertising the merits of a university, there is no greater advocate than the students themselves. The leading source of student opinion is the National Student Survey (NSS), which canvasses the views of 300,000+ students nationwide. The NSS rankings are almost certain to be a determining factor in many potential students deciding which university is right for them. However, might there be a way for universities to utilise student word of mouth in a more targeted manner?
Rather than relying on the NSS, it is possible to take control of the channels through which students share their opinions with the world. Popular opinion has a marked effect on the way that prospective students view an institution, so every effort should go towards maintaining a positive image.
By encouraging current students and alumni to engage with university-created content on their own social media feeds, they can effectively be turned into brand ambassadors.
The Social Influencer Era
This form of advertising has already proven to be effective on social media platforms such as Instagram, with companies using celebrities and well-known figures (referred to as ‘influencers’) to endorse their brands or products.
Now, I’m obviously not suggesting that universities pay their students to endorse the university. The last thing we need to see is social media feeds full to the brim with candid photos of students staring lovingly at their university building and telling us how they’re all blessed to be going there.
Instead, universities can create and curate their own content and disseminate it to students and alumni. They are then incentivised to engage with, share, and endorse the brand on their own social media.
The students have to decide for themselves if they want to support the university in this venture, and that creates honest advertising. Simultaneously, it builds a sense of trust for prospective students. Why would a current student share a university’s marketing content if they didn’t think it was an accurate representation?
The Spiralling Effect
Ultimately, this allows the university to generate engagement with its content and brand, all whilst amplifying its outreach.
The average Facebook user has approximately 340 ‘friends’ who can see their feed. Considering that most students will have friends of a similar age, the benefit of a university brand being shared through these channels is self-evident. If only 50 students shared a university’s content through their social media feeds, that content stands to potentially be seen by 17,000 people.
Increase the scope of that sharing to include Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, and you can see just how effective this avenue of marketing can be.
Get in touch with us at Touchpoint to find out how we can help you to employ social influencing within your university’s marketing strategy.