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Beyond Facebook: Using Social Media for Your College or University
For better or worse, Facebook is synonymous with social media. That’s understandable, it’s by far the most visited social network in the U.S. Despite its popularity, Facebook isn’t the only game in town. Colleges and universities looking to reach recent alumni, current and prospective students need to pay close attention to latest social media trends.
What’s trending now? As their parents and grandparents join Facebook in droves, millennials and their younger counterparts are venturing away from Facebook and spending time on Snapchat, Instagram, (you know, the social sites their parents don’t understand yet) and a few others you might not expect.
Here are some alternative social networks your school should consider using that aren’t Facebook.
What is Snapchat? It’s a messaging app, where users can send photos that will disappear after 10 seconds. Once looked at as an app for teens sending (cough) “hanky panky” messages, brands such as GrubHub and Audi view it as marketing gold.
So why should colleges and universities get in on the action? With 77% of college students using the social network, Snapchat is just too vibrant to ignore.
Since messages don’t last long, followers on Snapchat have a sense of urgency. Create teasers for big campus events such as class elections, homecoming announcements and campus concerts. Give your campus something exclusive, that they can’t get on your website so they can’t resist following you.
Need some more inspiration?
Tennessee Wesleyan College (TWC), leveraged the fun of this network by creating a Snapchat scavenger hunt for prospective students. Participants were given hints via snaps about where they could find the school’s bulldog mascot on campus.
Virginia Tech leaped on Snapchat when it saw it an athletic recruiting tool.
— Buzz Williams (@TeamCoachBuzz) February 18, 2015
This visual network is a favorite of many college and high school students alike. Instagram is great for capturing the essence of your campus. Post pictures of buildings, festivals, student career fairs, greek life and whatever else makes your campus special. Students who aren’t able to visit your campus can watch the school year unfold, just make sure you post photos regularly. One of the most valuable things to a prospective student is getting access to current student experiences. Encourage students to tag your account to their photos or create hashtags, that way you can repost or Regram it to your account.
Wolverines at the John Lennon wall in Prague! @amie_diamond said: “Imagine…if everybody went blue!” We’re like to imagine that! Thanks for sharing! #goblue #umsocial A photo posted by University of Michigan (@uofmichigan) on Jun 7, 2015 at 10:43am PDT
If your school has student volunteers or interns, they can give you insight on popular unofficial hashtags associated with your school. Just proceed with caution, you might uncover content that you didn’t want to see.
Tip: Participate in weekly trending topics such as throwback Thursday (#TBT) and post pics from when notable alumni or a celebrity graduated. #TransformationTuesday would be a great excuse to show off that newly renovated dorm or library.
Pinterest isn’t just for future brides and foodies, believe it or not, colleges and universities have a pinnable place on this social network, too. Although college students and prospects aren’t the largest user base of this site, schools such as Ole Miss have cracked the code for creating winning boards filled with dorm ideas.
By creating this board, the University of Mississippi positions itself as a resource for its prospective students and their parents.
Does your school give students access to amazing career opportunities? Pin it! UPenn has an account purely dedicated to all things career.
The key to Pinterest success? Find out what your audience likes and cares about and pin that.
Tip: Create your own content with ripe images on your website or blog so you can create pins that point back to your site. That way when other users share those pins their boards, you stand to receive great website traffic. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with the “me” centric content.
Looking for more recruiting ideas? Download 6 Ways to Attract More Prospective Students Online today.
When I was in college, my friends and I viewed LinkedIn was the stuffy version of Facebook. It was definitely something you joined after your campus career advisor guilted you into signing up. Needless to say, times have changed and students are wanting to ensure they get a good return on investment. That’s right, it’s all about the Benjamins baby!
After the Great Recession, students want to know that the higher education choice will lead to a career. If you haven’t invested in your University Page, do so immediately.
LinkedIn may not be the “sexy” social network, but there are tons of opportunities for colleges and universities. If you have proud, flourishing alumni, encourage them to contribute to your page through your alumni newsletter. Whether you promote campus services, post trivia or video, the name of the game is to share content that your audience wants. Check out Hubspot’s favorite University LinkedIn pages to get some cool ideas.
Want more student engagement tips?