In the higher ed marketing mix, there’s an abundance of tactics from direct marketing, email, social media and advertisements. Thanks to technology, enrollment marketing departments can target prospective students better than ever before.
As much as times change and technology gets better, one thing remains the same, there is no replacement for face-to-face communication. In a study, 75 percent of college recruitment officials named open houses as the most effective recruiting tactic. Events offer prospective students and their parents something that a Facebook post just can’t.
With events being such a crucial component of your marketing strategy, you want good attendance. However, it’s not enough to simply promote one event and move on to the next one. Kill two birds with one stone by amplifying your recruiting event while it’s going on to build excitement, reach and attendance for the next one.
Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags
It’s not enough to simply pick a hashtag and expect your attendees to use them. You need to create it and promote it everywhere. In addition to using your hashtag on your school’s social media accounts, include it on any event invitations, your website and on materials at the event itself.
At the check-in desk, have the hashtag clearly displayed on a sign on the table. This is not the time to be shy, you can put it on napkins, on a screen, and have any speakers mention the hashtag during the welcome. If people are asking whether or not there is a hashtag and they can’t quickly find an answer, they’ll probably post content without it.
You can also curate a hashtag on the screen at your venue. People who want their posts to be featured will make a greater effort to share content across social with your branded hashtag. There are plenty of tools you can use to pull this off.
Here’s a few to check out:
- Visible Tweets is a free tool, but it only curates hashtags from Twitter.
- Eventstag has free and paid plans for curating hashtags from Instagram.
- Zoomph is a paid tool, but you can moderate content before it’s displayed and it pulls content from both Instagram and Twitter.
Post Live Updates
Act like like an event MC on social media and post what’s happening at the event in real time. Be sure to post photos of prospective students enjoying the event. Take this a step further and ask if they’d like to be tagged in the photo, that way they can easily share to their network.
Depending on the event, you may want to livestream it over Twitter with Periscope. If there’s a question section or even if you can interview people, that can be valuable content for people who couldn’t attend.
You can also tease the next event and tell people how to register so those who are missing out, will be excited to catch the next one. Be sure to post a link on social media so people can register while your event is at the forefront of their minds.
Have a Photo Booth and Props
Give your event attendees something to talk about and share. Photo booths are a fun way to do this. You can have your school logo on the printed photo or template so they can easily share on social media. Have fun props like your school mascot, hashtag, event name, or anything else related to the theme of the event.
Many photo booths will let users simply sign in with their social media profile, allowing them to publish the photo with your hashtag already populated.
You can also ditch the booth and leverage props, encouraging students to take pictures and share it themselves on social media.
Spelman College had a giant “YES” sign for admitted students during their Spelbound weekend.
Those who decided Spelman was the school for them proudly stood by the mega letters and shared their decision on social media. Although this event was only open for admitted students, you can apply similar principles to events that are open to all prospective students. Just cater the props to fit the audience and occasion.
Have Student Ambassadors
Let current students play a role in your enrollment marketing. Their real life perspectives can be invaluable to both your prospective students and your marketing department. By having students promote and document your events, they reach their network that very could well fit your school’s target audience. You can even let them be the social media MC for your events.
Put your ambassadors to work and reward them. You can give your them tracking links to your site or events and award a prize to the person who brings the most attendees or traffic to your site. You can create these links with Google’s Url Builder or bitly.
Want a better way to get more people to your events? Lean how an interactive calendar can help you out.