Use Social Media to Aid in Student Retention: Here’s How

Social Media for higher ed retention

You don’t just want to attract and enroll students into your school. You want to keep those students with you until they complete their programs and are able to succeed out in the real world with the skills and lessons you’ve provided them. Research compiled over the last decades has consistently shown that social integration is a key component in maintaining and improving retention rates. Today, that social integration begins online!

Here are 5 ways to use social media for student retention:

Find Quality Leads

One of the reasons students are unable to succeed at school is because they don’t really belong there in the first place. Through a variety of social media strategies, including paid search and digital advertising, you can better pinpoint the potential students who will really fit with who you and what you offer. At ESM Digital, we’re able to locate prospective students on social media based on their unique interests and habits. For example, we can place an ad for your beauty school in front of someone who is viewing do-it-yourself beauty tip YouTube videos. That natural fit can turn into a natural lead. And when it comes to leads, quality counts way more than quantity. The better quality the inquiry, the more likely that potential student will become an actual student and graduate!

Begin the Conversation Early

According to Google, students begin their online research for postsecondary schools long before they actually enroll. In fact, more than 60 percent arrive on a school’s website at least 30 days before they even fill out a lead form. The earlier you get on their radar, the more likely they’ll come to you when they are ready to take action.

You can open up communication with your prospects by producing great content and distributing it across the social media platforms they use. For example, an infographic explaining the steps to become a practical nurse can introduce the career to someone who hadn’t even considered the profession as an option. Blogs that highlight your student successes can help your prospects imagine their own potential if they enroll in your programs. And when they like, share and comment on your content, you can get in on the conversation.

Be Your Students’ Go-to Resource

Whether it’s a prospect who is looking for information on a possible career, a student learning how to succeed in the classroom, or a graduate looking for a first job in their new career, be the answer to their questions. Through the content you distribute on social media, you can become an authority, a resource and a friend. The relationships you build online can translate to that social integration that makes your students feel like they really belong with you. And that sense of belonging will help them try, stay and succeed in your programs.

Be Mobile-Friendly

More than ever before, your prospects and students are accessing what you send out digitally through their mobile devices. Particularly since Google’s latest algorithm update, being mobile responsive is more important than ever. If you’re not, your search ranking could suffer and those students who really want to interact with you may not even be able to find you.

Create a Digital Community

Whether your students are on campus, online or some combination of both, you need a digital community where they can interact with you and one another. Active Facebook pages, and Instagram and Twitter accounts show them what you’re up to and how they might participate. Contests are especially effective at getting your whole school involved in what you’re doing and creating buzz around your brand. Put the social in social media by including the whole community!

Social media can help you achieve your retention rate goals. Find out how by contacting ESM Digital for a free consultation today.

~ Linda Emma