The Growing Importance of Alumni Relationships in Student Recruitment
For students, there are more options for education than ever before. There are opportunities to go to a big university, a small college, or a specialized private institution. They can choose to study abroad or choose a school closer to home. But with all these options available, students have one thing in common – they want to find an educational institution that gets them the career that they want.
When employers make a hiring decision, they want to hire graduates with specific skill sets from institutions who have proven that their alumni are successful and prepared for the market. Prospective students know that if they attend an institution that employers haven’t heard of, with no distinct alumni stories, it will be more difficult for them to start their careers.
This is why alumni success stories are so important in academic marketing: more prospective students use alumni success as a benchmark to measure the potential the school has to help them to build the career that they want.
How to Find Successful Students
If your alumni are achieving amazing milestones in their careers, communicating these success stories will help prospective students understand what’s possible by coming to your school. Leveraging the support and relationships that you already have with existing alumni can be the key to attracting and connecting with the perfect students for your institution. These graduates can also give you deep insight into what attributes of your school led to their success.
At Snaptech, we recommend running a LinkedIn campaign or searching through LinkedIn for distinguished alumni who might be willing to share their stories. Most LinkedIn profiles feature the user’s education and work history. LinkedIn’s advanced targeting capabilities can allow you to target graduates who work in particular careers or who graduated from particular programs that you are interested in promoting.
Once you’ve connected with alumni and gathered stories that confirm your institution’s high quality, it’s time to share these stories.
How Success Stories Are Shared
Whether your school is providing students opportunities to make the most out their experience or you have great alumni stories to share, choosing the right platform to share content is key to developing a successful digital marketing strategy.
The first step is to be clear about what your enrollment goals are and who your ideal student is. Take a look at the students that are already in your school – what do they have in common? Are they international students from a particular country? Did they choose your school because of a particular program that fits their interests? Once you determine exactly what you want to achieve and who you want to target, it is then that you can consider the “how” of sharing these stories.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are excellent ways to share with prospective students. These are two of the most popular social media platforms; advertising through them is a great way to amplify your stories. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram typically foster more engagement, as social media is an interactive medium. While your prospects are interacting with their favourite influencers and friends, they will pay your school the same attention. These platforms also have advanced targeting capabilities that allow you to speak to that ideal student that you determined.
However, when it comes to the content, it is important to think back to the prospective students that you are targeting. You aren’t just talking about alumni; you’re affirming their decision to enroll at your institution. Through storytelling, you can address common student needs and concerns. This is why it is important to make sure that the content you’re promoting is purposeful as well as being impressive.
When an institution is able to successfully promote itself through storytelling, it is often because it has demonstrated that it understands students’ motivations for selecting the right program to study at the right institution. With this narrative in hand, prospective students are more likely to keep your institution top of mind when they evaluate their education options. This is why schools that use digital strategies to amplify alumni achievements and bring students through their school selection journey are more successful at achieving enrollment goals.
Fostering strong alumni relationships can be a key to nurturing a connection to and advocacy for your school. However, it is important that you are targeting the right students, telling the right stories, and using the right platform at the right time.
If you are interested in starting a conversation with Snaptech Marketing about how to kick-start your digital marketing strategy, we would love to hear from you! Contact us here, or call our team at 604-677-0742.