When you want to recruit students, building a great online presence for your higher education institution is essential. It’s how today’s high school student researches colleges and exchanges their thoughts with others about schools on their shortlist.
Creating that presence, of course, can be challenging. With seemingly countless channels and limited resources at your fingertips, you have to know where to prioritize.
We’re here to help. Focus on these six elements to create an A+ online presence for your higher education institution.
1. An Accessible and Intuitive Website
Every college has a website. But does your website actually work for your students? These tips can help you get there:
- Keep it simple. Chances are your audiences aren’t going deep into thousands of pages to learn about your mission or read decade-old course descriptions from your catalog.
- Stay accessible. Following WCAG guidelines is essential to make sure your website is easily available for all audiences—not to mention legally compliant.
- Prioritize user experience. Your navigation and individual pages should be built with your student audience in mind. The less complicated and complex it is, the better.
- Visuals matter. Incorporate dynamic still images and videos where possible to communicate your school’s core values on a visual level.
Building this kind of website takes time. But you can get to it bit by bit, improving it over time to build the best possible experience for your audience.
2. A Truly SOCIAL Media Presence
Are you getting everything you can out of your social media channels? In addition to posting regular updates, some advanced strategies can help you.
- Find students that have a large social media following, and incentivize them to become influencers on your behalf by sharing and creating promotional content.
- Work with your campus guides and admissions student workers on social media takeovers that showcase campus from a student perspective.
- Engage in active social listening to know what others say about your school and respond appropriately.
Social media is at its best when it’s truly social. The more you can engage your core audiences, the better.
3. An Updated Campus Events Calendar
Don’t underestimate the power of a great events calendar for your campus. It shows the active campus life you have to offer and allows you to filter categories like DEI or admissions events.
The best calendars are intuitive and integrate naturally into your website. Even better, they’re easily shared on social media so you and your most engaged audience members can spread the word.
4. An Interactive Map That Goes Beyond Wayfinding
Yes, campus maps matter for your audience finding their way around campus. But their best use cases go so much further.
Interactive campus maps allow you to ease the event experience by providing natural steps and areas for audiences to follow. You can also use them to highlight campus construction projects and other core messaging points you want to get across.
5. A Virtual Tour That Brings the Campus Visit to Your Audience
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated what was already a growing higher education trend: the rise of the virtual campus tour.
At its best, it’s an interactive way to bring your campus into your audience’s living rooms. Use it to highlight the spots that matter most to prospective students, building immersive experiences that you can then share on your website, social media, and beyond.
6. A Consistent Voice Across All Channels
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of integration for your institution’s online presence. You might think of your presence in terms of individual channels, but your audience won’t.
For them, it’s a continuous experience across all touchpoints. Your online presence should adjust to that fact, speaking with one voice and using consistent visuals. The more consistency you bring, the better the user experience for your audience will become.
Creating a Strong Online Presence for Your Higher Education Institution
Creating a strong online presence is not just about going through the motions for each channel. Instead, it’s about taking each channel and seeing how you can go beyond what other schools have to offer. Do that (and ensure consistency across your efforts), and then you’re halfway to winning the prospective student attention competition.
That can quickly get complex. But you’re not on your own. For platforms like your interactive map, campus tour, and calendar solution, a good partner can make all the difference. Contact us to learn more about our solutions, and get started on creating the strongest possible online presence for your higher education institution.