2020 has been an exceptional year in terms of campaigns. We’ve seen institutions utilise social media like never before, whilst constrained by the restrictions of Covid-19, to ensure their prospective and current students stayed engaged, connected and motivated throughout one of the toughest years in memory. From podcasts to user-generated content, we’ve loved seeing the innovative new ways that institutions have supported their students virtually through Q&A sessions, inspiring stories, creative challenges, and much more.
Content on the move
Everyone loves a podcast, and students particularly so. Being able to tune in while shopping or studying is a big win in the student world. The Student Hut Tracker revealed that three in 10 students feel that stress about academic performance is having a severe negative impact on their mental health, especially with January exams looming. The ‘How to Fail your Degree’ podcast from The Union, Manchester Metropolitan University, is a chance for students to feel connected to others in the same position, dip in and out of conversations when needed and discuss all things university – from academic stress and how to deal with it, to general chit-chat for some welcome relief from their studies.
Students want to be heard and represented in advertising, on social, and in their university communities. That’s why user-generated content is so great for getting students excited about an institution. Edge Hill University did just that with their #myEHU campaign, connecting with their students on a personal level, and finishing with the students taking over their Instagram stories for the day. Prospective students were given the chance to see how they would fit in at the university, with a diverse range of students telling their stories. Current students also resonated with the campaign, as they enjoyed seeing life on campus from different perspectives.
The University of Portsmouth and International College Portsmouth also knocked it out of the park with their diversity campaign. Student Hut studies show that the majority (55%) of students still see STEM subjects as typically male. However, Portsmouth’s campaign encouraged women to get involved in STEM subjects through talks from inspirational women, including students, in STEM, and using the hashtag #MySTEMJourney to not only encourage the sharing of these experiences, but to also build connections and solidarity between those studying STEM subjects.
Mental health first
Our friends at Student Hut have been compiling the results of the Student Hut Tracker all year long, revealing how students have been feeling throughout the 2020 academic year. And in the last six weeks, the tracker has recorded students’ average score on the Perceived Stress Scale at its highest so far,and, unsurprisingly, higher than the average before Covid-19. But the good news? Students do feel supported by their institutions. Creative approaches, such as the 30 days of kindness challenge launched by the University of Chichester onInstagram, have helped these struggling students to feel connected and supported during the pandemic.
To engage your students, you need to understand what they’re looking for. These institutions really understood how strongly their students felt about mental health, empowering the student voice and diversity and have managed to channel this support to their students remotely through dynamic and innovative campaigns.
Head over to the Edurank blog for more insight into who’s topping the ranks and which campaigns are really making an impact, and if this has motivated you to get creative on social in 2021, be sure to sign up to our Newsletter for fortnightly doses of inspiration.