User-Generated Content For Higher Education: A Marketing Success
Over 98% of schools use social media across campuses to enhance the student journey. The students are the Gen-Z and millennials, and their native language is social media, as that’s where they express themselves.
While students, alumni, and faculty are constantly creating social content, higher education marketers have identified a new strategy to redirect this content creation towards user-generated content that may help universities offer a better higher education experience and expand their marketing horizons.
But before we move any further, allow us to introduce you to user-generated content for higher education.
User-Generated Content For Higher Education
Content created by your students, staff & alumni for your educational institute is the user generated content that you can repurpose. It can be them capturing their journey, the premises, graduation ceremony, festivals, or simply them sharing memories.
If they tag you or use your university hashtag, you can collect it and leverage it for diverse marketing purposes. It allows you to enhance knowledge-sharing, engagement and give more power to your students’ ideas. It improves your university's social media presence, reaches prospects, attracts more student enrollments, and much more.
Still wondering why you must leverage it to your educational institute? Here are some benefits for you.
Top Benefits Of Incorporating UGC In Higher Education
1. Ensure Better Visibility & Social Presence
When you add user-generated content to your university marketing touchpoints like website, social media, emails, etc., it makes your constituents feel like a prominent part of your institution.
As more students, staff members & alumni create content for you, it improves your educational institute's social media presence. Not just that, it creates brand awareness and enhances visibility as more people get to know about your university.
2. Authenticity Built By & For The Gen Z
84% of Gen Z trust a brand more if it uses actual customers in its campaigns. Now, as a higher educational institute, your target audience is Generation-Z, so you must choose the content that would appeal to them the most.
When you add UGC to your university marketing campaigns, your prospective students will come across them, and the authenticity would build trust. The user-generated content will help your university marketing campaigns stand out, and it will influence students' enrollment and staff hiring decisions to a great extent.
3. Engaging & Impactful Marketing
User-generated content is engaging as it is individualistic. It comes from different people who have their way of expressing themselves. With UGC, you always have something unique to offer to your audience. The authenticity of the user-generated content at your marketing touchpoints will make your marketing campaigns more transparent and impactful, which cannot be created with flashy paid promotions.
Your prospects will find the student & alumni stories relatable, and that's what will make your campaigns stand out among your competitors.
4. A Community Of Co-creation
Other than marketing benefits, user-generated content has the amazing ability to open up conversations between the university and its constituents as it bridges the communication gap. By incorporating UGC, you give your students & teachers an open space to express themselves.
Using their content in your marketing campaigns gives them the confidence to articulate their ideas more freely. Not just that, it builds a sense of community and team spirit among your pupils, ex-students & faculty when they come together for the co-creation of the user-generated content.
5. Opportunities For Social Listening
Social listening is a phenomenon where businesses understand the online conversations their customers, or in your case, your students, faculty & alumni, have around your brand. It helps the brand to perform better and improve the grey areas.
When you encourage user-generated content at your university, your constituents freely express themselves, and you get to know the positive aspects and the pain points. Your students, faculty & alumni feel motivated as you listen to them and implement their ideas to improve the functioning of your university.
Ideas To Leverage User-Generated Content At Your University
Now that you know the benefits of leveraging user-generated content in higher education, it's time to get to business and learn how you can leverage user-generated content at your university. Here are some promising strategies for you.
1. Create & Promote University Hashtag
If you want to encourage content creation at your university, the first thing that you must do is create a unique hashtag for everyone to use while you post on social media, and don't forget to promote it as much as you can.
Use it every time you create a post from your university page, add it to yearbooks, your university merchandise, and other spaces where you can make it more visible. Once the students, faculty, and alumni are familiar with the hashtag, they will surely use it to create UGC for you.
2. Organize Social Media Competitions
If you want to encourage more UGC, you can organize hashtag contests or other social media competitions at your campus. Set the rules based on the kind of content you want them to create. It can be "capture the university through your eyes," or "Share your favorite moments," and more.
Feature the best social media posts on your university social media handle. It is a great strategy to create a social media presence for your university. Many social media contests also have rules that the posts with maximum likes will win, and you can do the same. It is a great strategy to improve the engagement rate of your university's social media page.
3. Embed UGC Galleries On University Website
Embed the user-generated content that your students, alumni, or staff create on your website. It is a great strategy to revamp your university website, instill social proof in your constituents and influence the prospects. The UGC will give your website a more authentic look, which will work well with potential students who want to know more about your institute.
Not just that, the social proof will encourage more UGC to run better marketing campaigns.
4. Let Students Manage Your Social Media
Believe it or not, your students, know better social media trends than you do. Why not let them handle the university's social media pages? You can form a social media managing team with your students. They can capture pictures around the university from their lense and post them on your social media accounts.
58% of aspiring students use social media to look up schools they’re considering. The aspiring students will find the content created by their peers more relatable. When they get a sneak peek into the fun your university students have, they will be more than excited to enroll for your institute among your competitors.
5. Display User-generated Content On Digital Screens
Display user-generated content by your students, alumni & staff members on digital screens at your campus. Place it around corners like the reception area, lobby, grounds, etc. It would call for a great strategy to captivate your constituents right where they are, attract the visitors' attention, and keep them engaged.
You can also create UGC social walls and run them on the digital displays during events, festivals, graduation ceremonies, and more. The social wall would help you to amplify your institute's reach, improve the social media presence and keep your constituents hooked throughout.
6. Get Aluminis On Board
Your alumni are the ones who have lived and had their experiences at your university. The students and the aspirants look up to them for inspiration. Get your alumni on board and let them create user-generated content for your marketing campaigns.
It can be them creating a video where they go candid about their experience at your university. They can share the insights, their go-to places around the university, and all the fun memories they have created. You can play these videos during student orientation programs or add them to your digital touchpoints like university web pages or social media.
7. Incorporate UGC In Other Marketing Touchpoints
Now that you have generated a good amount of user-generated content, it's time to incorporate it into different marketing touchpoints to extract maximum benefits. Start by adding it to your university website as that's where the prospects reach when they want to know about your university. The brand advocacy will help you build trust, leads and increase enrollments.
Showcase it on the digital screens in the lobby, reception areas, gyms, etc., to attract visitors and engage the students. Embed the UGC in your university email campaigns to improve your email click-through rates and give a more vibrant look to your emails. Finally, you can also add UGC to your university social ads and print media like university magazines and newspaper ads. When the prospects come across these ads, the UGC will help your ad campaigns stand out among other universities.
UGC In Higher Education: Success Story
UAE University Encouraged UGC in Virtual Graduation Ceremony
While the world was amidst the pandemic, the UAE university was determined to give a memorable graduation ceremony to its students. Taggbox helped UAEU to collect all the posts shared by their students using their two unique hashtags, "#UAEU_VIRTUAL_GRADUATION_CEREMONY_40" & "#حفل_تخريج_افتراضي_لجامعة_الإمارات_40" in real-time and curated them into a social media feed for the website and a social ticker for the live ceremony.
Now, the audience can watch the ceremony and read what people are saying on social media simultaneously. They could even share posts using the hashtags.
The positive impact? UAEU received amazing engagement in the form of hundreds of social media posts. They generated social promotions equipped with user-generated content, which led to UAEU virtual graduation ceremony, a successful event with positive engagement & outcomes.
To conclude, user-generated content helps you captivate the attention of aspiring students, inspires them, and helps you stand out from the competition.
Not just that, you get to enable a two-way conversation among the students, alumni, staff, and the university, fostering genuine connections.
So, why not leverage UGC into your marketing campaigns to engage and magnify your overall efforts?