4 Content Tips for Engaging Prospective Students on LinkedIn

April 19, 2018

The world of higher education marketing is extremely competitive, especially in the graduate space, with only three schools making a prospect’s shortlist. And if you fail to make it onto that list, there is still only a 7% chance the prospect will enroll in your program. These odds make it all the more important to catch a prospective student’s attention early and continuously.

But with the rise of ad blockers and a target audience that actively avoids marketing messages, where do you begin engaging prospects for your school?

The first steps, as outlined in our new guide Mastering Lead Generation, are to grab and hold your prospective student’s attention with engaging visuals, authentic stories, and more. Not only will this help differentiate your school from the competition, it will make your school an authority on professional development—one of the key reasons prospects enroll in graduate programs. To help you create a marketing strategy that works, we’re sharing four content tips for engaging prospective students from our recent higher education lead generation guide.

1. Leverage Visuals to Drive Engagement

Media rich posts on LinkedIn receive up to four times higher click-through rates. When you’re looking to engage prospective students, it’s important to catch their eyes with rich media like videos, images, or SlideShares. In our experience, audiences want to see, not read, as it’s a faster way to consume content. Not only will this cause prospects to pause when reading their newsfeeds, it will also encourage them to click on your post and read more about your program.

Through LinkedIn’s many visual options, you can easily grab the attention of prospective students with:

  • Embedded images
  • Custom landing pages
  • YouTube and Vimeo videos
  • SlideShare presentations

2. Engage Faculty, Public Relations, and Career Services

One of the many challenges to successful content marketing is being able to come up with fresh and creative content ideas. After all, you need to be churning out content at an amazing rate to stay in front of prospects at each stage of the sales funnel. But coming up with ideas doesn’t have to be a one person—or even a one department—job. At your school, chances are you have many subject matter experts lying in the wait.

Ask your esteemed faculty to contribute their own stories and advice. Their first person account will add to your credibility and highlight your institution’s skilled educators. Beyond your faculty members, engage your public relations department or career services staff to contribute as well. Given their  expertise, they will have great content ideas that will keep your school top of mind for prospects.

3. Share Authentic Stories

One of the great ways to stop scrolling thumbs on social networks and get in front of prospects is to use real, authentic stories from your students, alumni, and faculty. Audiences want to hear from actual people and their experiences, especially in later stages of the sales funnel when students are putting together their shortlists. If you’re targeting Gen Xers, this is significantly more important as they are more likely to look for staff and lecturer profiles at each stage of the student journey.

Grab the attention of prospective students from attraction to enrollment with alumni testimonials, student success stories, faculty achievements and profiles, and more. Tap into your campus’ community and interview individuals to discover the unique stories that will help inspire future students.

4. Test, Measure, Optimize

Without data to optimize your content, your marketing efforts can become an elaborate guessing game. And while guessing may still generate some leads, it’s not maximizing your lead-boosting potential.

Analyze the results of your updates to find out what’s working with prospective students and what’s not. This includes paying close attention to your post impressions, clicks, and conversions. Once you discover what types of messages, images, and CTAs are sticking with your audience segments, you can optimize your posts to achieve better results. Our own research, for example, has found that including the URL in the introduction text of your University Page updates can result in a 45% higher follower engagement.

Optimizing isn’t a one-time event, either. Continue to review your results and optimize as you go because your audience’s preferences may change over time.

Want more ideas for making a prospect’s shortlist? Download our full guide Mastering Lead Generation: 14 Tips for Engaging Higher Education Students on LinkedIn.