Looking for New Ways to Engage and Attract Students? Try Twitter.

Last updated on: May 3, 2021

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With 192 million daily active users, Twitter is one of the most widely recognized social networks. On this unique platform, users can communicate with other people and organizations that have similar interests, making it an excellent choice to engage with both current and prospective students during this remote time.

Twitter is a great way to receive breaking news, follow industry trends, and interact with students, administrators, and thought leaders. Embracing Twitter’s fast-paced nature can help your university succeed across marketing, communications, and more.

In this article, Claire White, social media manager at Wiley Education Services, offers tips on boosting your school’s recruiting and engagement efforts through Twitter’s core and emerging features.

Monitor Relevant Communications and Feedback

Use Twitter’s search feature to discover online discussions about your school. You can search by content (news, photos, or videos), followers, or users near you. The result is a powerful social listening tool for monitoring real-time discussions about your university’s brand. Plus, you can expand your efforts to track conversations about your competition, the higher education industry, and the local community. 

Tip: Consider using Twitter Lists as an easy way to create groups of accounts you can monitor. 

Use Hashtags

Hashtags arguably are more useful on Twitter than any other social network. In fact, tweets that use hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted than those that do not use hashtags. Some great hashtags to use in higher education are #HigherEd for general content or #OnlineLearning when posting about online learning experiences. #EdTech is a great one to use when discussing artificial intelligence (AI) or learning management systems (LMS). Use unique hashtags for contests, job fairs, and sporting events, and ask others to share their experiences and photos using these hashtags.

Tip: Keep an eye on local/regional hashtags as well. Those allow you to keep up with popular and trending topics relevant to your area, and as a result, your university. By using local/regional hashtags, tweets may appear in Twitter Moments.

Share Urgent Updates

Twitter is the best way to share urgent news. In fact, Hootsuite found that 59% of users regularly get news from Twitter. If students need information about COVID-19, closings due to inclement weather, schedule changes, or important deadlines, Twitter is among the first places they will check. 

Tip: Communicate updates like campus closings and registration deadlines as soon as possible on Twitter.

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Create Department Accounts

Your university can benefit from having additional Twitter accounts that represent each department. These accounts can share targeted content specific to their audience, making it easier for followers to find information distinct to their department. These accounts can also be used to retweet information from the university’s main account. 

Tip: Create policies for these departments' social accounts. While accounts should be unique, they must follow your university’s social media guidelines.

Host Live Twitter Chats

A live Twitter chat allows you to answer questions in real-time. Twitter chats focus on a specific topic and use a unique hashtag, so it is easy to follow the discussion and participate. These chats can help your university boost brand awareness, engage with potential new students, and more. Select a topic, create a hashtag, plan a time to host the chat, and then start promoting the event. Consider Twitter chats for new semesters, test-taking tips, or topics that impact the community. These chats will enhance interaction with current and potential students, building their trust with your university. 

Tip: Ask faculty members to host chats about a specific program or department. Students can ask for advice and guidance about a field of study they may be interested in or possible career paths. 

Host a Student Takeover

It’s no secret that in marketing, audiences respond well to first-hand accounts of products and services. Put the idea to work by letting students take over the university Twitter account for a day to showcase their learning experiences and answer questions. A takeover is a unique way to give prospective and current students a fresh, up-close look at the university. 

Tip: Use photos and videos as much as possible. These are particularly engaging ways to help audiences feel connected.

Use Live Video

Brands have been able to create live videos on Twitter for years, but lately, more and more brands have taken advantage of the feature. It’s no surprise, either. The number of video views increased 62% from 2019 to 2020.

Tip: Live videos work great for campus tours, student takeovers, and Twitter chats led by professors and administrators.

Getting Started

Twitter is a fast-paced social network that offers value when engaging with both current and prospective students. By implementing some of the tips here, you can help students and the university become more successful. It all starts with a thoughtful, customized approach to the platform. For social media tips and guidance about higher education social marketing strategies, including advice on Facebook and LinkedIn, visit our Resources page.

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