One of the biggest concerns of marketing departments at universities and graduate schools is the right promotion of the educational opportunities the institution offers. From online to offline channels, universities look for the best option to bring better conversion rates and high quality prospective students.
Among the broad options for increasing awareness of the university in the student community, rankings presence, social media activities, fairs attendance and traditional online and offline advertisement seem to be good solutions to focus on. The presence of universities and departments in rankings is perhaps the most known option for attracting students, since students take them into account when making informed choices regarding the best institutions and quality education. However, nowadays, the technology and behaviour of the target group indicate a heightened importance of online advertisement on the impact of institutions.
There are a number of ranking types measuring quality of education, number of researchers and publications, ratio professors/students, number of accreditations. But what we sometimes ignore is the existence of quite structured rankings measuring the web presence and online impact of universities. This impact, in addition to the technological behaviour of young people, opens a new sphere of focus in the advertisement of programs, courses and scholarships in a more efficient and less expensive way: online.
To illustrate more about the importance of the online presence of institutions, widely used rankings like webometrics and 4icu list universities around the world according to their official presence in Facebook, recognized websites and communities, web visibility and activity. The impact, presence, openness and excellence of the published information of the institution become essential for positioning the university in the first places.
Last week we published valuable information on securing a top spot in the world wide web, focusing on university websites. The recommendation now is to focus on the development of high quality content in third parties pages. All those links count for institutional prestige and presence in the virtual world. Moreover, to build institutional profiles in well recognized platforms will help increase the amount of visitors to the university page, resulting in an increase in the number of people aware of the educational opportunities it offers. The use of social media also improves the online presence, both through the development of an institutional page, and even more so by connecting with pages whose fans are related to your target student group. By sharing news or information in your own or third party blogs is also a great way to get people to know about your institution and current programs. Finally, to exchange links with potential partners would bring benefits to both organizations by increasing the level of visitors and trust in your website.
Students are eager to know about your institutions, programs, courses, summer schools, and professional training. The task now is to let them know about the great opportunities they have within the reach of a click.
Photo credit: Neil Turner