If you walk on any campus today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a student that didn’t have a laptop or smart phone. In fact, 96 percent of young adults ages 18-29 use the internet – and those with a college education are more likely to use the internet than those who do not, according to a Pew Research Study. Your college can benefit from strengthening its online brand by reaching prospective students, current college attendees and alumni. The stronger the online brand, the more likely students and visitors will engage with a school.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways colleges can grow their online brands that ultimately lead to offline results:
1. Optimize Your Website
Your school’s website is likely the first thing visitors see before they even step foot on campus – so your website should be visually appealing as well as easy to navigate. Additionally, make sure to keep all of your target audiences in mind when it comes to content and website design. Not only does your website need to appeal to current and prospective students, their families, alumni and donors, it also needs to inform them. For example, if a prospective student is interested in your school, is it easy for them to find the information they need? What about a loyal sports fan? If your website is too complicated to navigate, it will lose visitor attention very quickly.
2. Provide Essential Information
Do students rely on your school’s website for information that they count on every day? While this might not be applicable for alumni, an interactive campus map, professor directory and updated event calendar can keep current students engaged on a daily basis.
3. Get Social
The great thing about college is the diversity of students. This presents both a unique opportunity and a challenge when it comes to social media because your target audience is so vast – each department and student group can pull in a different audience. Don’t try to control everything, but do give both departments and student groups guidelines when it comes to social media – what they publish online reflects your entire institution. Also, make sure you’re up-to-date with the people who manage the most influential social media presences at your school to quickly collaborate and spread the word about truly big news.
(Next page: Campus branding steps 4-7)