The higher education market is fiercely competitive and is being affected by a number of factors, including rising student loan debt, a shrinking job market and the emergence of new technologies. It can be a bit of a jungle out there. And as the old saying goes, when in Rome, act like the biggest cat on the Savannah.
Lions are the only big cats that pride and group together. There’s an advantage to belonging to a group. This need isn’t limited to the animal kingdom – students and faculty yearn to belong, too. It’s that need for affiliation that draws so many of us to use social media.
Social media is a natural platform for encouraging and building tribes and communities. If an educational institution isn’t actively fostering its virtual presence, it’s missing a key component of its enrollment outreach and higher education marketing strategy.
Consider Pinterest. Pinterest is the third largest social network. According to a study by Media Bistro, 83 percent of Pinterest users are 18-29 year olds – which also (conveniently) happens to be the target demographic for most higher educational marketing efforts.
Some colleges are already active in this space. Duke University maintains a robust page, with pin boards such as “Culture of Champions” (highlighting Duke’s student athletes) and “Forever Duke,” a board promoting Duke’s alumni.
Pinterest allows its users the ability to visually convey interests and ideas. It’s a good fit for colleges and universities, as it can be more robust than standard viewbooks and recruiting materials. It helps solidify and grow a connection between prospective enrollees, faculty, alumni and the college or university itself. There’s safety in numbers. There’s security in belonging to a group. There’s pride. Leverage Pinterest and a complete brand strategy to help better position your college or university as a big cat in the higher education market.