What university recruiters need to know about social media

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 - 15:14
Social media
Today’s students are growing up in an ‘always-on’ world. Generation Z, born from 1995 onwards, has never known life without mobile devices. They learn, socialise and shop online, and spend much of their spare time on a smart phone, tablet, or laptop.

This digital revolution has transformed the way young people make decisions. In a click or two, this generation can access instant answers to their questions. From buying a takeaway to choosing a university, they make judgements based on ‘Googling’ and user feedback and ratings. 

Social media: Generation Z’s trusted adviser
In a 2017 UCAS survey, 77% of respondents said online student reviews of universities influenced the choices on their UCAS application form - second only to open days. 
“I watched a video tour of my uni campus and it looked really spacious,” says Mustafa. “There were load of good comments about the sports facilities too.” Charlotte made her decision after being added to a Facebook page where she chatted to current students. “It helped me get a feel for life at that university,” she says.

Video content is king
Ensuring students engage with your message, means staying on top of digital innovations. Right now, video content is where it’s at for Gen Z. Some 65% told UCAS they would rather watch a vlog than read a blog, while 56% actively watch Facebook Live, and 48% watch Instagram Live.                                                                                                                                                                                  
“The easiest way to bring your brand to life is through film,” says Paul MacMahon, video production manager at UCAS. “Video marketing gives potential students a window into university life – especially when it’s optimised with live film content.”
Streaming events like open days, freshers’ fairs, and celebrity lectures, will give your uni the edge. Real and inspirational content is the best way to get students excited about the future you could offer them. 

Personalisation is the new cool

For a generation who could swipe before they could walk, filtering out promotional messages is second nature. The bottom line? You’ve got about 1.2 seconds to grab their attention before they swipe away. 
The best way to get students to take notice? Show them you know them! Unlike generations before them, Generation Z doesn’t find personalisation creepy. Over half of our survey respondents liked the idea of personalised recommendations based on past online purchases, and 64% liked getting highly targeted emails with information or offers relevant to them. 
Using a recipient’s first name is just the start of personalisation: careful analysis of smart data can prove you know your audience inside out. Offer something that adds value to their life for maximum impact: an interview with a student doing the degree they’re interested in, or an opportunity to co-create content with you. 

Be brave with your brand story
For university recruitment teams, social media offers a great opportunity. But it means taking risks – and that’s where some universities falter. To create meaningful relationships with young people, prepare to throw out the rule book and get adventurous with your brand story. 

Talk to us

UCAS Media is the only organisation to have access to the verified student audience. Our data about their likes, dislikes and future intentions holds the key to your next student recruitment drive.  To find out how we can support your recruitment campaign, call 01242 544 881 or email [email protected].

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