Why current students are your greatest social tool

Current students have an important role to play in successful social media marketing; and although they may not be your main target, they are your greatest tool. We’ve shortlisted the most effective ways in which you should be engaging with current students to increase your university’s popularity. 

University PR Manchester

Photos: It is the picturesque, scenic shots of campus that gain the most ‘likes’ on social media. Fortunately, for your social media officer, this doesn’t mean you have to kick them out of the office with a Canon D3300 - there is an alternative – your students. Photo social media campaigns are a great way to engage current students whilst gaining a bucketload of likes. The University of Manchester ‘campus photograph of the week’ encourages students to upload scenic campus shots, from which the university picks its favourite and posts it on its official Facebook page. Likewise, Goldsmiths University run a weekly campus photo campaign that invites current students to share their idyllic shots of campus. The message is clear: utilise your existing resources. 

The extraordinary: Apart from the odd essay and the incessant partying, prospective students have very little idea of the enriching, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that await them at university. A year abroad is one escapade that never fails to ignite fascination amongst budding youths. One institution readily exploiting this fact is Aston University, which regularly posts about the adventures of its students abroad - from teaching in Madrid to working at a multinational company in Hong Kong – your students have the world at their feet -  so let prospective students know. Equally, the more exceptional achievements of your students wouldn’t go amiss either; and if like Sheffield Hallam, you’re lucky enough to have one of your students compete in the 2018 Olympics, shout it loud and proud. The greater the achievement, the more noise you’ll make.

University PR De Montfort

Daring destinations: For many students, university is the pathway to their dream job; if one of your students has found themselves at the envy of their peers, chances are they’ve just bagged themselves a highly desirable, sought-after career. One student made their Facebook debut on De Montfort University’s official page after securing a job as assistant underwear designer at global fashion brand, Tommy Hilfiger. No, we’re not talking about the graduate schemes at Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan – but the more unusual and quirky of the bunch. The weirder the better. Trust me, it will definitely get people talking. 

So it’s official, celebrate your students. Whether you’re honouring your highest achievers, sharing the festivities of the summer ball, or congratulating your newest graduands, you will certainly strike a chord with your target audience. 

Gerard Kelly & Partners (GKP) is a communications consultancy specialising in education PR, social media, marketing and communications management for UK schools, universities and business.