Home » Blog » Leveraging Social Ads For Enrollment Growth In Higher Education

The student recruitment process is never-ending – your institution is always targeting the next class. Paid social media gives your higher education institution affordable and measurable ways to reach prospects all year long on the influential social and streaming media platforms where prospective students spend their time.

Standing apart from the competition, especially during busy enrollment periods, can be a challenge and effective social advertising strategies on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat, as well as streaming platforms like YouTube, deliver quick and very effective ways to narrow down your prospects and attract the students you’re after. You can easily customize and format your ads that you show on each platform based on audience preferences and further hyper-target and personalize those ads by optimizing your data and analytics.

Students spend a lot of time on their favored platforms gathering information.  According to Experian, 98% of college-aged students are on social media, which makes it imperative that your institution find ways to engage with students at all levels of education. Social ads can be tailored for high school sophomores and juniors, in addition to seniors, and for transfer-minded students and individuals pursuing graduate degrees. You want to reach your prospects with social ads before a decision has been made. Providing a targeted, appealing visual, text, or video message can grab their attention and begin building brand awareness early in their search process. 

Social Ads Can Target Your Audience

Social ads offer tailored options that can be based on specific demographics of your targeted prospective audience. Use your current students’ data and alumni information to gain a better understanding of the ambitions of your prospects and how your institution will fit into their plans. Go beyond mere demographic data, like age, location, and family income, and delve deeper to create messaging based on the field of study, extracurricular interests, career-building opportunities, or athletics.

Social Ads Attract Awareness

Social ads put your institution in front of people who are scrolling their favorite platforms and let you get found and discovered when they are most likely to want to learn more. This places importance on the look and relevance of the ad as well as the call to action. Social ads don’t let the moment pass by prompting your audience to visit your website, complete contact forms, or download additional information right from a click within their favorite platform. Create contests or highlight campus events and activities to encourage further participation and seize opportunities to collect data. Applying the newly gained data can help you to tailor further ads and campaigns to the likes and preferences of prospective students to keep growing the relationship.

Social Ads Generate Interest and Appeal

Draw interest and share the uniqueness of your institution’s academic curricula, campus culture, and community by offering your audience incentives like school swag, free event tickets, and scholarship offers in exchange for information. Share blogs, videos, and other content that they can use to make more informed decisions and be better prepared for the challenges and exciting times that await them. You can use the information you gather to build ever-more accurate prospect personas. Social ads also let you retarget audiences through other marketing channels and reinforce messaging through email and print collateral.

Social Ads Supplement Multi-Channel Marketing

Social ads work best when deployed as part of a unified and cohesive multi-channel marketing campaign that fits in nicely with the ways prospects search and gather information in today’s marketplace. When social ads have a strong call to action, it’s easy to direct prospects to your website, send them to watch videos on YouTube, or collect email addresses to stay in contact. According to a Nielsen study, audiences evaluate multiple sources of information along their journeys. Incorporate direct mail, printed promotional items, and email marketing to put information about your institution every place the prospective student looks.

Social Ads Scale To Meet Your Budget and Campaigns

Throughout the year, your institution’s enrollment marketing ebbs and flows to reflect periods of heightened prospect interest and increased campus events and activities like school tours. You’ll want to make sure your social ad campaign is established with a budget and metrics that provide insight into your cost-per-acquisition (CPA). CPA is an important metric for gaining valuable information on the effectiveness of your ad for converting prospects into qualified inquiries. Knowing your CPA allows you to adjust the levers of the campaign to gain the most from your ad spend as the season’s enrollment needs change. You’ll have more confidence and control over digital ad spending when adapting to the changing needs of your enrollment efforts by applying this data. 

Social Ads Intensify Testimonials

Social ads allow you to use your strongest advocates – students and alumni -  to provide validation and support during social media ad campaigns. Recommendations and positive reviews by current students and alumni are more trusted than traditional advertising, and can speak to the prospects’ situation from a personal, shared perspective. Social ad testimonials add authenticity to messaging and play a powerful role in the decision-making of your prospects. 

Adding social ads into enrollment recruitment for higher education institutions has never been easier. Contact a Marketing.com social advertising expert today to learn more about how we can help your school connect the dots and integrate social ads into your enrollment recruitment marketing.