In the age of virtual learning, schools across the world needed to adapt to a new normal. Goodbye to hangouts on the quad and sporting events, and hello to a whole new school experience. But students and teachers are not the only ones needing to adapt to this lifestyle change. Social media advertisers, now more than ever, need to make structural adjustments to their marketing process. Running a successful digital ad for your education institution has a whole new set of standards in the virtual learning world. Here are four tips to get you started.
1.The Moment Matters
As a digital advertiser, you know better than anyone that content ages quickly. Look to the cultural tenor of the times and use it to your advantage. In a time of mask wearing and Zoom classrooms, images of your students in large lecture halls and cheering in the stands at football games look out of date. Empathize with your prospective students by creating content that reflects their current environment. Advertise virtual opportunities, or share images of your virtual school platform. Recognizing the moment shows that your brand is honest, responsive, and sympathetic to your audience.
Tip: Use an image of students collaborating on your virtual platform to show that your school is engaging and connected, even virtually.
2. Look to the Masters
The good news: your school is not alone. Not only are there thousands of schools going through the transition with you, but there are many schools that have always offered virtual programs! Connections Academy, a virtual public school, is a great example. They are experts at this because virtual learning is their normal. There is no shame in looking to established online educators who have a social media ad strategy already implemented to attract students. Look to their content for inspiration, and soon the student will become the master.
Tip: Digital advertising is all about language. Check out how virtual programs start the conversation about their school and take note of the words and phrases they use in ads. It will help get your message across!
3. Become a Storyteller
The internet has become oversaturated with users, and it is easy for digital advertisers to feel their message will get lost in the shuffle. So, how does your school stand out? The answer is simple, tell a story. There is nothing that connects users more than shared experiences. You will notice that virtual programs, such as Capella University, devote much of their digital ad content to sharing stories from their students. When you give your school a personal voice, it elevates your brand.
Tip: Interview a student on what their experience has been since transitioning to virtual learning. Capture a photo of them in their school-from-home space, tease out a strong quote, and advertise away!
4. Let Your Values Shine
Without tangible attractions for students to look forward to like a brand new cafeteria or big dorm rooms, students need something more abstract to identify with. Your school may value community building, diversity, leadership, volunteer work, or maybe a combination of them all. No matter the value, your social media advertisements should embody it. They should showcase how your school stands out and why students should feel comfortable attending. In a time of uncertainty, people are searching for a connection. The more personal narrative that is included, the better.
Tip: Search on Twitter for popular hashtags that align with your school’s values and include it in one of your advertisements! Not only will that increase your engagement, but it will also give users an inside look into your school’s personal voice.