It’s almost spring -- and almost time for admissions yield season. Spring yield campaigns are all about staying top-of-mind, keeping admitted students engaged, and reaching your enrollment goals.
Seasoned professionals swear by high-touch outreach efforts (congratulatory phone calls and handwritten letters, for example) and on-campus events for admitted students. Although nothing quite compares to the experience of visiting campus and meeting current students face-to-face, digital engagement should also play a prominent role in your yield campaign.
Generation Z students are adept at building and sustaining relationships -- with people, brands, and institutions -- through the Internet and especially through social media. Set the stage properly, and you’ll see engagement that endures far beyond the scheduled events of Admitted Students Weekend. You’ll stay top-of-mind in the eyes of your admitted students, and they’ll be able to develop a deep emotional connection with your college, the kind that gets them to show up in August.
You may think it’s too late to make changes to this year’s yield efforts, but these five strategies can be implemented with much less work and planning than you might think. Today’s post provides an overview of these strategies. Over the coming weeks, we’ll examine each one in more detail, complete with tips and best practices, so be sure to stay tuned to the Campus Bubble blog!
1. Twitter chats
Twitter chats work well at any point in the admissions process, but they’re especially fun to do as part of a yield campaign. Twitter chats with admitted students can be a one-time event, or you can host multiple sessions -- each focused on a different topic -- throughout the spring and even into the summer.
Be sure to create a hashtag and advertise your Twitter chat to admitted students well in advance. Take a backseat to the action and let a handful of student ambassadors drive the discussion and answer questions.
After the chat, don’t let all that great content go to waste -- repurpose it! Use Storify to capture the essence of the event and make it available to students who were unable to take part.
2. Live streaming video
Video is quickly increasing in popularity as a way to engage audiences -- read Eric Stoller's recent Inside HigherEd piece about the various ways colleges and universities are already using Periscope. Whether you choose Periscope, Facebook Live, Livestream, Blab, Google Hangouts, or some other platform, there are so many creative ways to engage admitted students through live video.
The only catch: a live stream event requires a little extra planning and testing ahead of time. Make sure you can get good audio quality, invest in a tripod for a steady shot, and familiarize yourself with the video platform you’ll be using.
To learn more, check out this recent chat recap from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). You'll fing lots of great insider tips from higher education social media managers already experimenting with live streaming video.
3. User-generated content (UGC)
Virtual events are great, but Generation Z loves creating content and sharing it on social media. So get your admitted students in on the action!
To encourage participation, give swag to admitted students who take part, hold a contest and showcase the winners, or do what Minnesota State University Moorhead is doing and give small scholarships to students who submit the best social media posts.
An added bonus: you can repurpose this content, too!
4. Consolidated social media streams
Your college or university most likely has a presence on several social media channels, but does it ever feel disjointed? Do you wonder if admitted students are seeing the content your social media ambassadors work so hard to create?
Make it easier for admitted students to take in your social content by consolidating all your channels into a "conversation," as Bates College and the Universtiy of Delaware have done. When admitted students visit your website, they'll be able to see posts from all your social media channels in one place.
5. Admitted student blogs
After Twitter chats and live streaming video, blogs may seem passé, but they’re a great way to keep admitted students -- and their parents -- engaged. The key to an effective, useful blog is to post consistently, even if it's only once a week.
Remember all the great material you've already got from Twitter chats, live streaming video, and user-generated content? A blog is a great place for repurposing this content!
Add in occasional posts from current students, faculty, and staff, as well as posts focused on enrollment deadlines and information, and you've got weeks worth of content. Check out Haverford College's First-Year Blog as an example. Student leaders, the Dean for First Year Students, and various administrators all contribute content to the blog throughout the late spring and summer.
Learn more about how today's students communicate, and how to align your college's yield marketing efforts with students' habits and expectations: download our free eBook.