Practically every step of today’s college search can be done online. From viewing the campus to reading about academic offerings, prospective students have access to a wealth of information online when looking for a place to spend the next four or more years.
To cater to this digital shift, an increasing amount of institutions are posting and sharing videos in an effort to capture and engage high school seniors during their search. In fact, 86% of colleges and universities have a presence on YouTube. However, YouTube isn’t the only channel to distribute videos for your school.
By utilizing several different, unique channels to share videos, you’ll keep your school top of mind during every student’s online visit. To give you some ideas, we’ve compiled a list of six ways to share your video content to stay in the minds of students during their search.
Share Them on Social Media
In higher education specifically, social media can help to reach a range of audiences, such as current and prospective students, parents, alumni, other institutions, and researchers. Even a simple social post could have a high impact.
Let’s say you have a prospective student looking at your recent Instagram story. The video displays a current student sitting in a hammock on the campus quad, doing homework and relaxing in the sun. This gives the prospective student a peek into the life they would like to have for their own college experience, potentially leading to a new applicant.
You can amplify your social media presence with native videos. Whether you use Facebook Live, Instagram stories, video chat on SnapChat, Periscope on Twitter, or a combination of them all, these can be effective avenues to share video snippets of your school.
By sharing authentic and native videos, you’ll keep your prospective audience engaged when they’re scrolling through social.
Place Them Strategically on Your Website
Not every video is meant for your website. While your school may be tempted to post multiple videos to one page, this could overwhelm the viewer and confuse search engines. To keep students and search engines on a clear path to your videos, place them strategically on various pages throughout your website – rather than just dumping them on the homepage.
For instance, Saint Anselm College has two videos on their Residential Life page, giving a high-level video tour of two first-year residence halls. These videos are placed under each hall description, which provides the viewer a choice to view it if they need to learn more about the buildings. By placing videos strategically throughout your website, you’ll provide an educational experience during every phase of their online journey.
Feature Them in a Digital Viewbook
Students traditionally received viewbooks in the mail, but they’re now heading into digital. These catalogs have always been an invaluable resource to send to students, providing pages that cover everything a student should know about the school. Now that they’re going digital, schools have a greater opportunity to get creative with the content. For instance, if there’s a quote from an alumnus, allow the viewers to hover their mouse over the alumnus’ photo, which will start the video of them talking. This gives readers the chance to interact with the video content on the page, keeping them interested in the content you share.
Include Them in Email Campaigns
You can also enhance your emails to prospective students and their families with videos. Not only will this become an educational, interactive experience for your viewers, you’ll see some major results. In fact, adding video to your email can increase click through rates by 300%.
You can take advantage of video by adding a message from current students in your emails that give a brief, playful take on what a student can expect from eating in your dining halls or joining a club. If you just renovated your school library, show your recipients the new and popular areas that current students have gravitated to during the academic week.
It’s also a best practice to include the word “video” in your subject line. Simply the mention of “video” in your subject line has been proven to increase open rates by 19%.
By showing your viewers what to expect from the school and keeping the email video-focused, they’ll be more likely to stay interested and submit an application.
Convert Them into a VR Experience
Virtual tours meet prospective students where they are – literally. The ability to showcase your dorm rooms, dining halls, and academic departments is invaluable to your institution. It gives prospects an inside look at the qualities that set your institution apart from the rest and helps your audience build a clear perception of your school.
Therefore, converting videos into a VR experience is an effective way to elevate the virtual tour. For Saint Anselm’s Virtual Tour, there are videos that illustrate the stages of the tour, such as The Anselmian Experience, the Joan of Arc Hall, and a high-level Welcome Message. By including videos at various touchpoints, the VR experience is elevated, and the viewer stays engaged.
Use Video in a Paid Social Media Campaign
Paid advertising has the potential to reach people who don’t currently follow your accounts, which could lead to new prospective students. Therefore, it has become common practice for higher education institutions to pay for social media advertising. In fact, 60% of marketers believe that paid social is more effective than organic, and 45% of them plan to increase their social media budgets to boost paid ads.
Snap Chat geo-filters are a useful advertising tool that higher education marketers need to consider. Geo-filters allow users to display their location on their photo. While you have to pay for them ($30+), they make an impact, especially with the prospective student demographic. When someone posts a photo or story with your institution’s specific geo-filter, they reach an organic audience in an instant.
Advertising has a great potential to reach a variety of audiences and entice them to learn more about your institution.
Digital is transforming the college search, and video has become a popular medium to attract and capture potential students. From features in digital viewbooks to snippets in a VR experience, your school should leverage videos at every touchpoint to amplify the college search and encourage more applications today.