Navigating through the ever-evolving social media world as a social media specialist for the education sector can be challenging, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We caught up with Unai from Oxford Business College to see how their content and strategy has changed amidst this global crisis and what inspiration they can give to you when navigating through these crowded platforms.
How has your content changed since the lockdown first took place?
Our content has changed dramatically and here’s what we did.
We started to speak with images. We wanted people to recognise a photo from the college without spending too much time looking at it, so we created a frame and added the photos inside.
We’ve tried to follow a content strategy of information post, community post and viral post. Viral content hasn’t always worked out in the way we expected, as we are a business school and we follow professional guidelines, but this is what has given us a competitive advantage.
Focus on your social media and make social media social. Engage people, tag people, and ask them to share content, so your target audience and their friends can see your posts.
What do you think is really important for students to be seeing on social media at the moment?
Students want to see other students and content that is relevant to them. As stated above, students want to see posts that provide them with information, show their colleagues going back to normal and focus on things that make them happy.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge since locking down and what have you and your team been doing to overcome it?
The biggest challenge we had was to create content, as we had no students. We used a lot of older photos and we created several graphics too, but we needed people to be in the photos.
As the old saying goes, “if the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain“. We went to the streets and involved people from Oxford, using PPE to protect ourselves from the virus.
How do you stay creative?
I don’t believe that creativity is that important. I believe that if you have researched your student profile, you know what they like, so you can create various pieces of content that you can test on Facebook ads, etc. to see what works. Creativity is being replaced by data and this is scary as Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more clever.
Plans for the future?
(Do you have any plans to explore other social media platforms?)
With Brexit around the corner, I would be very interested in finding a platform that can post on various social media (not only on those that we use in Europe) and can do it the same as using the real platform. Platforms such as Buffer or Later are limited and it is not the same as posting directly on the social media site itself.
I would like to make sure that we have a piece of content on each platform suitable for every student profile at every step of their journey, before and after they join the college.
What are you doing online for prospective and current students to keep them engaged with your institution and excited for the future?
We create events thanks to their feedback; everything that we do is based on student data. We have called and asked the students what they felt during the lockdown, and we sent a survey asking for their opinions and to vote on what to do.
What has been your most engaged with/ popular post during lockdown?
What content do you like to see on social media?
I like to see students being happy in class, doing different games or activities that improve them as a person and showing how they progress in their careers.
What advice would you give to other university social media teams in this trying time?
Research, Test, test again, and analyse the results.
What are your advices on getting cut through on the four different platforms?
Understanding your student profile is very important. If Unilever has one profile of customers with over 400 brands and millions of consumers all over the world, a college or university with only one brand can do this too.
With your student profile, you can create content specifically for them and adjust it for each platform. They are all different and it is important to understand how they work so that you can achieve more reach, impressions, likes and grow your presence.
Thanks Unai! How are you engaging with your students during lockdown and what advice can you give to fellow social media officers? Let us know on Twitter.
Answers from Unai Ledesma Gorostizaga (Welfare and Marketing officer) at Oxford Business College