Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF

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Five ways to freshen up your online marketing

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
    • Examples of effective videos and Facebook Live posts
    • Why video is increasingly essential to marketing campaigns
    • How to work with Instagram Stories
    • Ways to increase the effectiveness of YouTube

Students are evolving quickly in terms of how they consume and respond to online information, so ensuring that you’re on top of best practices in digital marketing is essential. Here are five ideas that might just take your campaigns to the next level.

1. Simple, well-strategised international student video: Oxford University’s recruitment video is refreshingly stripped down and personal, a perfect balance for the institution’s prestigious and even intimidating profile. It is a great video for any educator to study because more than any stratospheric budget, the strategy behind the video drives its success. The dominant messages are of friendliness and inclusion, of an exciting and diverse student population, and of a gentle sense of humour and fun invigorating the whole experience. Great tagline, too: “Wherever you’re from, when you come to Oxford you might find the rest of the world is already here.”

2. Video increases the success of social media and email marketing: Facebook Analytics has found that posts contain videos achieve the highest rates of organic engagement (i.e., not boosted by advertising) engagement. Hubspot reports that including the word “video” in an email subject line increases open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%.

3. Instagram’s “Stories” format is growing fast: A Facebook study of 10,000 users found that more than one in three said that they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Instagram Stories. Check out this Hubspot article for a great how-to if you’re just beginning to use Instagram Stories. And visit this MakeItEasier post for guidance on what Stories are great for and not so good for, from a marketing perspective.

4. Campus events make for great “Facebook Live”: If you have an exciting event going on at your campus such as a sports match, a “move-in day,” or a cultural/recreational excursion, Facebook Live is a perfect showcase. So too are Q&As with admissions staff/students as well as campus tours.

Research shows that users comment 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos because they enjoy the real-time interaction with other viewers posting comments. Encouraging comments is a valuable marketing goal since high comment rates show engagement around the brand. Make sure to join the conversation and thank viewers for positive feedback, too. See this Higher Education Marketing post for five great examples of universities using Facebook Live.


An interview with a Griffiths University subject expert and faculty member, originally broadcast on Facebook Live in May 2019

5. YouTube is a key channel, so use optimise your presence on it: CopyPress has an excellent post covering nine best practices that will help you build your audience and generate desired actions. Particularly important is their advice on including calls-to-action that allow a video to be much more than simply viewed. Videos can encourage students to subscribe to your YouTube channel, follow your social media pages, visit your website, and sign up for emails or calls with your admissions staff.

For additional background, please see:

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