Back to school is upon us and students all over the country are returning to on-campus learning, with some arriving for the first time. The excitement is palpable and, in the age of social media, photos are naturally being snapped and shared. By tapping into this user generated content (UGC), universities can feature their talented and creative students and alumni, and foster a stronger sense of community across social media and other marketing channels.
Universities can engage with their community at every stage of the student life cycle – using exciting student photos can drum up interest and showcase a school’s best features to high schoolers applying, to promoting on-campus events, to running alumni-specific campaigns. The possibilities are endless (check out this post for a few ways to start). When they are put to use, your team will be able to foster a close community of creators and build a strong, focused marketing strategy.
There is an obvious excitement to move-in day. Freshmen are starting a new chapter, being dropped off by parents and living on campus for the first time. Sophomores and other students are returning to their old friends, making new ones and getting ready to be on campus for another school year. One university took hold of this energy by printing their content uploader QR code onto doorknob hangers, ready and waiting to capture students’ attention and encourage them to share the photos they took on campus and of their dorms as they started to decorate and personalize them.
In general, taking advantage of the physical campus is a unique advantage universities have with user generated content – placing QR codes in strategic areas or at events can help garner content in the moment in a way many brands without dedicated physical locations aren’t able to do. Plus, it’s a great way to show off the natural beauty of the campus grounds – and can capture the true essence of campus life in a way staged photos from a hired photographer or posed group shots may not be able to do.
Having grown up in the age of social media, Gen Z has a keen eye for authenticity and to reach them, the best way is to engage directly and feature their voices and creativity – something uniquely accomplished with the use of user generated content. Through this, you’ll be able to establish yourselves above typical university marketing fare and stand out from the crowd.
Activating your community doesn’t have to be bound to currently enrolled students and campus activities. However, by engaging potential students around the exciting application process and Decision Day, universities can begin to foster community well before they step foot on campus for their first day, and build excitement leading up to orientation. For those thinking carefully about which college to choose, having an online presence that showcases real students and real community can make you stand out from the crowd. And by including a content uploader link in alumni newsletters or in social media groups, you can continue to engage long after graduation.
User-generated content and universities are a natural match. With a captive on-campus audience, year round activities and events, there are endless ways for universities to obtain and leverage high quality photos and engage with their community at every stage of the student life cycle. Learn more about how EnTribe is helping higher education strengthen relationships with their community.
of college students use social media on a daily basis (source: Experian Simmons)
UGC will foster a stronger community with prospective, current, and alumni students
UGC and Universities are a natural match
UGC is trustworthy to prospective students