Social media plays an essential role for RTOs to connect with students and market their online courses. With the current global situation and the accessibility of online learning, it is clear that virtual education is here to stay – and that is where the search for the next batch of enrollees begins.
By being creative with your approach you can capitalise on the changing market and lock in more students. Here are some effective inbound tactics you should include in your digital marketing strategy to attract the right prospects and engage smartly on social media.
Blogs are strategic content designed to help educate your audience and connect with them on an intellectual level. Blogs can present ideas, provide solutions, or offer an avenue for healthy discussion between the author and the audience. Moreover, you can feed information to your prospective students that, in a way, also allows you to introduce your services and course offerings.
To market your RTO, it’s essential to build a relationship with your target students. In your blog strategy, it’s important to address their needs and desires – put yourself in their shoes.
So, now where do we suggest you start? With a student blog.
Student blogs are a great way to build student-to-student connections and to show prospective enrollee’s what life is like at your college. A student blog could include articles about student experiences, testimonials, study tips, career advice, and a range of other topics. It’s important that they’re written in a casual tone, that appeals to a younger demographic – some humour always helps!
Suggested blog topics you could start with:
- The student life experience
- The perks of studying your online courses
- The services you offer (both academic and extra-curricular) to make their learning journey enjoyable
- The ease of self-paced, online study at their desired learning space
- The post-graduate benefits of finishing a course at your college
Shared Media Library
A shared media library is a cloud-based file system that allows students and teachers to share helpful resources virtually. These files could be in the form of slideshows, videos, PDFs, excel sheets, and much more. An example of this could be anything – from an informational video tutorial, to a product walkthrough – any valuable pieces of information that could serve as a learning reference for other students. Since a shared media library is stored digitally in the cloud, it means students can access important information from anywhere – helping with their remote studies.
Note: You must have a gatekeeper to filter out unnecessary files shared by your students. Ensure your cloud storage is organised so that students can find information relating to their course/subject easily. Encourage students to help build the library but avoid file-share spamming.
There are hundreds of cloud storage services to choose from – go for the one that suits your budget, secures pertinent files for your RTO, and is accessible across all devices. You could start with the free 15-GB starter storage offered through Google Drive, or if you have Microsoft Office 365 you have access to OneDrive included. Whichever option you choose you should have the flexibility to upgrade your storage to suit your needs.
With a shared media library, you can:
- Promote universal knowledge
- Encourage active student participation
- Create a community environment
You can share your storage link through your social media channels via Facebook or Instagram, through email, or send private access to a Messenger Group Chat.
Consistent Posting Schedule
To build your social media reputation, timing and consistency are crucial.
It’s important that when you’re posting to social media, you’re doing so when your target audience is most active on that platform – understanding their behaviour will help you to determine an effective scheduling strategy.
There are lots of scheduling tools, such as Buffer or Creator Studio, to assist in scheduling your posts in advance which will help to keep things consistent. It’s ideal to be active during these posting times to allow real-time responses to social media comments or when private messages come in.
Tip: Spread out your posting time to not bombard your follower’s timeline with posts. Facebook could read multiple posts as spam and push your content to the bottom – hence, spoiling your content and making you less visible online.
Take advice from a world-renowned digital expert, Neil Patel-
“If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed.”
Lastly, make sure to vary your content to maintain the interest of your audience and potential new followers. Try to strike a balance between humour/witty content and informational posts. You might choose to use memes or GIFs to make your posts more lively, and when writing captions and descriptions consider using a relaxed, conversational tone. You can also add in a few hashtags – but keep it to a minimum (1-2 is sufficient).
Use Live Content
Another way to make your presence known on social media is to actively engage with your audience via Live Content.
This is an effective way to put a face to your brand – no scripts, no cuts, and no rehearsals. This provides your audience with an authentic reflection of your college and its members, adding a level of relatability to your brand.
You can post “Stories” to Facebook and Instagram to show where you’re currently at, what you’re doing, who you’re with, and what your plans are for the day. Add in stickers, texts, GIFS, or spice it up with some filters and background music. Unlike permanent posts, Stories last up to 24 hours only – which means you can post another Story for a different activity on the next day!
Tip: Get more views by reeling in your follower’s attention on the first 3 seconds of your story – this is your window to having your full content consumed by your audience.
For longer content, you can go truly Live by streaming an ongoing event or initiating a live online discussion, or simply feature something new at your RTO. Use live content to your advantage by keeping your students up-to-date with your organisation and keeping your social media presence active.
Promote Groups and Nearby Activities
A great way to attract new student followers is by promoting online social groups and local activities for leisure and entertainment. Whether it is an in-person gathering or a virtual event, it helps to bring students closer together and get them talking about your RTO.
Perhaps you know of a free yoga workshop, a local book club, or even a nearby gym offering membership passes – shout out these events via your social media pages to promote the well-being of your students.
Tip: Make your page a go-to place for your students. By promoting activities that develop their skills and extra-curricular interests, you are giving them a meaningful life outside their studies.
Student Perks and Freebies
Yes, who doesn’t love them?
Give your student followers something to look forward to on your social media accounts by offering exclusive perks and freebies of value to your students. You can have one-time offers or vouchers for a certain activity; no matter how frequent you offer these benefits, your page is sure to see a spike in engagement.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Coffee vouchers
- Collaborate with a local restaurant to offer discounted meal vouchers
- Cinema gift certificates
- Subscription service voucher (ie. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Stan)
This type of marketing can be costly, however, it has a strong potential to positively impact the impression of your RTO amongst your students and those that are considering enrolling with you.