Advertising is one thing. Content Marketing is another. And when you're trying to reach an 18 year old market, that are smart, savvy and on their way to being highly educated - they are very skeptical of advertising. And they also have short attention spans.
So, what can we do about it? Listen. And respond - quickly. Be relevant.
Listen - not to staff, administrators, faculty, but to the students themselves.
Do an influencer analysis of several students - the ones that you target. (1 hour)
First figure out who 10 of your top AND average influencers are. Look for people that are active with you and have INFLUENCE – followers, favourites, klout.
For us, for example, we scoured our UGC community page for the incoming class on Facebook (Facebook 2019). And came up with a few profiles that ‘represent’ the class.
When "Elizabeth" posted anything, she got lots of comments, likes, etc. She has a large number of friends and when her demo info was overlaid she represents one of our major markets (female, outside area of a large urban centre, affluent, community builder….)
Do a sentiment analysis of these posts. (15 minutes)
Sentiment is good for many reasons but most marketers use to determine the overall status of the brand, but I find it really useful for content development. I’m looking for sarcasm, humour, frustrations, curiosity. And then I try and match that tone. (or not, depending)
Do a content analysis. (30 minutes)
Starting with either the content of your influencers or of the conversations on your communities pages – figure out what content is hot at the moment. If I’m looking to recruit new students I look at communities or hashtags used by my TM’s or influencers to them.
Using a word cloud report - tells you the most popular topics. In this example 'Elizabeth' and her friends were talking about taking a bus to our west campus. It was a hot topic - many citing that it was going to be long, and a pain in between classes.
Develop the content. (1 hour)
It doesn't have to be fancy. Remember the opening statement? This generation wants authentic, real-time messaging not 'advertising'. So speed supersedes perfect when content marketing.
We created a video using a GoPro where students walked to west and took a bus back to show how fast, and fun when with a friend, it can be. We used the same hashtags, the same sentiment, and even the same words so it would resonate with them.
We took this a step further. When we reviewed our top 5 influencers content they talked about attending an event we were hosting (SOAR), courses to take, concerts, prom and decorating their residence room. 'Elizabeth' talked about Harry Potter. Using this we created this:
A poster (to decorate their room) with one of our most Harry Potter looking buildings on the front, and content using their own words on the back. (3 Hours)
I don't think they realized that we had done all this behind the scenes, but based on their responses when they got this they were pleasantly surprised that '"we seemed to get them".
All in a days work.