Higher Education B2B

Best Practices for Using Social Media in Higher Education Marketing


Ever wondered how a university's story reaches its prospective students in this digital age? 

In places like the UAE, where innovation is the norm, universities are increasingly turning to social media to tell their stories.

This digital evolution extends beyond mere student engagement and it's reshaping how universities connect with prospective students and alumni.

This blog post will explore the undeniable role of social media in higher education marketing, focusing on the best practices within the UAE's educational sector.

Understanding Social Media's Impact on Higher Education

The global shift towards digitalization in education marketing is strongly felt in the UAE. Here, social media platforms are powerful tools for branding, student recruitment, and community engagement.

Global Trends Tailored to Local Needs

Internationally, social media is transforming higher education marketing by facilitating direct communication with prospective students and alumni. In the UAE, this global trend is adapted to align with the region's unique educational field and cultural values.

Influential Statistics

A notable 41% of prospective students rely on social media to gather more information about universities before applying. Additionally, 76% of higher education institutions actively use YouTube channels to share educational content, demonstrating the platforms' significance in modern education marketing.

Best Practices in Social Media for Higher Education Marketing


In the UAE, institutions are leveraging social media to enhance their marketing efforts, adapting global trends to local contexts.

Engaging Prospective Students

Universities are using platforms like Instagram and Twitter to connect with potential students. These platforms are employed to showcase campus life, highlight academic programs, and host live Q&A sessions.

  • Interactive Virtual Tours: Utilizing platforms like YouTube or Instagram for virtual campus tours helps prospective students experience the campus environment remotely.
  • Social Media Admissions Advisories: Offering admissions advice and answering queries through social media platforms makes the application process more accessible and less intimidating for students.

Alumni Engagement and Networking: Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, play a crucial role in maintaining relationships with alumni. They facilitate networking, and mentorship opportunities, and showcase successful alumni stories, strengthening the institution's community and reputation.

Content Strategy for Brand Building:

Effective content strategy is key in social media marketing. Institutions are creating a mix of informative, engaging, and aspirational content. YouTube channels are particularly effective for sharing educational content, campus tours, and student testimonials.

  • Educational Content: Sharing thought leadership articles, research findings, and academic achievements positions the institution as a knowledge leader.
  • Student Life and Activities: Showcasing student life, extracurricular activities, and campus events helps create a memorable image of the university.
  • User-Generated Content: Encouraging current students and alumni to share their experiences and stories adds authenticity and relatability to the institution's social media presence.

Engaging in Real-Time Communication

Utilizing platforms like Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates and interactions fosters a sense of accessibility. This includes hosting live Q&A sessions, webinars, and virtual events.

  • Social Media Customer Service: Offering quick and helpful responses to queries and concerns raised on social media enhances the institution's reputation for student-centricity and responsiveness.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborating with influencers, industry experts, and other educational institutions on social media can expand reach and add credibility to the marketing efforts.

  • Joint Webinars and Live Sessions: Hosting joint webinars or live sessions with industry experts or alumni can provide valuable insights and increase engagement.

Tools and Metrics for Social Media Marketing

Effective measurement of social media marketing strategies is essential for understanding their impact and guiding future initiatives. In the context of higher education, these metrics and tools help in assessing current efforts and shaping long-term marketing strategies.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Identifying the right KPIs is critical. These include:

  • Engagement Metrics: Likes, shares, comments, and direct messages are indicators of how interactive and appealing the content is to the audience. High engagement rates often correlate with greater brand visibility and a more active community.
  • Conversion Rates: This metric is important in evaluating the effectiveness of social media campaigns in driving desired actions, such as submitting university applications or attending open house events. Tracking the number of inquiries or applications originating from social media platforms can provide direct insights into their efficacy.

Analytical Tools

Leveraging the right tools is key to accurately measuring these KPIs. Several commonly utilized tools are:

  • Google Analytics: Integrating Google Analytics with social media platforms allows universities to track website traffic, understand user behaviour, and measure conversion rates.
  • Social Media Analytics Tools: Platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social offer detailed analytics on social media performance, providing insights into post reach, audience demographics, and engagement patterns.
  • Sentiment Analysis Tools: Tools like Brandwatch and Mention enable institutions to gauge public sentiment and perceptions about their brand on social media, which is vital for reputation management.

Benchmarking and Competitive Analysis: Understanding how competitors are performing on social media can offer valuable insights. Benchmarking against similar institutions and analyzing their social media strategies can help in identifying areas for improvement.

Surveying and Direct Feedback: Apart from quantitative metrics, obtaining direct feedback from students and alumni through social media polls can provide qualitative insights into the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Regular Reporting and Review: Setting up regular intervals for reporting and reviewing these metrics ensures that the marketing team stays informed. Monthly or quarterly reports can help in tracking progress, identifying trends, and making data-driven decisions for future campaigns.

To Sum Up…

Social media's role in higher education marketing is not just a passing trend anymore. In the UAE, where education and technology intersect prominently, leveraging social media for marketing offers exciting opportunities to connect with prospective students and build a strong institutional brand. 

We invite educators, marketing professionals, and students to engage in this dialogue, sharing their insights and experiences in utilizing social media for higher education marketing.

If you need personalized guidance on how to start with social media for your educational institution, feel free to schedule a session with our marketing experts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How can higher education institutions measure the ROI of social media marketing?

Tangible outcomes include increased application rates and enhanced website traffic from social media channels. Intangible outcomes might include improved brand perception and increased student engagement. Calculating ROI involves comparing these outcomes against the costs of social media marketing efforts, including advertising, content creation, and manpower.

  • What role does user-generated content play in higher education social media marketing?

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in higher education marketing. It includes content created by students, faculty, and alumni that showcases their experiences and achievements. UGC can enhance authenticity, build community, and provide prospective students with relatable insights into campus life. Encouraging UGC through contests or hashtags can be an effective strategy.

  • How can higher education institutions use social media for crisis communication?

Social media is a critical channel for crisis communication due to its immediacy and reach. Institutions can use these platforms to quickly disseminate information, updates, and responses to crises. It's essential to have a clear communication plan, maintain transparency, and provide regular updates to manage the situation effectively and maintain trust.

  • Can social media platforms be used for alumni engagement and fundraising?

Absolutely. Social media platforms are effective tools for engaging with alumni. They can be used to share news, celebrate achievements, and keep alumni connected with the institution. For fundraising, social media can help in storytelling, showcasing the impact of donations, and reaching a wider audience. Creating specific campaigns and using targeted ads can also increase fundraising efforts.

  • What are the emerging trends in social media marketing for higher education?

Emerging trends include the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for virtual campus tours and immersive learning experiences. There's also a growing focus on micro-influencers, such as current students or notable alumni, to authentically promote the institution. Additionally, leveraging data analytics for personalized marketing and exploring newer platforms popular among younger demographics are becoming increasingly important.

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