Aug. 6, 2018
3 years, 2 months ago

FAQs About Social Media for Higher Education

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The Carnegie Dartlet team took our digital marketing workshops on the road this spring, visiting more than eight different cities and speaking with hundreds of marketing and admission professionals. At each of these workshops, we spent 45 minutes to an hour talking about the power of paid advertising on social media, and the questions I would get after my presentation highlight how difficult it can be to stay current on best practices and trends in a space that is changing at the speed of light.

Our hope is that this new series will become your go-to resource for any higher education social media questions. We’ll be sharing updates on platform changes and tools, providing insight into new trends, and answering many of the questions we hear time and again.

Q: Facebook is dead, right? I hear that no one uses it anymore.

A: While Facebook has taken a hit in the public’s trust of the platform after the Cambridge Analytica news, people haven’t abandoned it like we all may have expected. In fact, there are still two billion monthly active users on the platform. What does that mean for our advertising efforts? We have a significant target audience we can tap into that is logging in and actively seeking out content. Take a look at this blog post I wrote for an overview on what changes Facebook has been making to help regain users’ trust.

However, it’s true that we’re beginning to see a shift in the traditional undergraduate audiences engaging less on Facebook than they may have just a year or two ago. With Instagram Stories becoming more popular, along with other social platforms like Snapchat and Twitter, it’s important to remain agile and open to testing new digital marketing strategies. Don’t just go after the newest shiny tool, but make strategic decisions based on your goals, target audience, and overall performance.

Q: Twitter keeps emailing me about this “Promote Mode” feature. What is it and should I be using it?

A: A couple months ago, Twitter rolled out a new feature that will automatically promote your tweets without having to create or manage any campaigns. You pay a flat monthly fee (they claim it costs less than one cup of coffee per day), and Twitter promises to help your brand be discovered by thousands of new people.

Sounds like a great option, right? Wrong. Promote Mode doesn’t allow you to put any strategy behind which organic tweets get promoted, which means a new audience will begin to see tweets from your account without having any context. That tweet you sent replying to someone about snow emergency parking? Twitter might decide that tweet is the best one to promote that day.  

All social media campaigns, paid or organic, should be developed based on your specific goals, target audience, and well-crafted content. Don’t let Twitter decide this for you.

Q: I want to run ads on Pandora or Spotify. Which one is best for my audience?

Streaming media has begun to earn its rightful place in the digital marketing space during the last couple of years as marketing budgets have shifted away from more traditional media spends like radio and television. While both Pandora and Spotify are valuable platforms to reach prospective students, there are some minor differences that can help you decide which one is your best option:

  • Pandora is only available for US listeners, while Spotify has a global reach.
  • Pandora listeners are only hearing up to four minutes of ads per hour; on Spotify, all ads get 100% share of voice per every 30 minutes of music.
  • Pandora recently launched a partnership with Snapchat, which will allow Snapchat users to insert Pandora songs into their snaps. In turn, the viewer of those snaps will need to watch a brand’s Pandora ad before being able to listen to the song on demand.
  • Pandora’s audience segmentation can be applied to campaigns at a slightly lower cost than Spotify’s similar segmentation, but Spotify now offers a self-service version that decreases the barrier to entry with lower budget minimums.
  • Both platforms will record your audio script free of charge if you don’t have any in-house resources.

Regardless of which platform you choose, streaming media can help your school increase brand awareness with your target audience in a 15–30-second audio ad. 

Q: Is Snapchat’s updated targeting option good for higher education advertisers?

A: Snapchat has rolled out a new option for advertisers to serve ads to audiences that frequent high schools, colleges, and other related locations. Previously, Snapchat offered advertisers the ability to target by age and city/state and layer on a pre-defined “high school” or “collegiate” audience based on third-party lifestyle data.   

These pre-defined audiences are still helpful when trying to reach prospective undergraduate or graduate students, but the new feature allows us to be even more targeted with our advertising by being able to actually “geofence” users who are actively visiting locations that matter to higher education. We can still layer on additional options like cities and states, ensuring that we’re honing in on your school’s unique demographic.

If you want to learn more about using social media to reach your audiences, we're here to help. You can follow Erika on Twitter for additional higher education social media insight at @e_fields.

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