Flinders University

Student Ambassador Content Creation

Idea

Are you still using stock images or paid models in your advertising? Chances are, you’re missing out on engagement, leads and showcasing what it’s really like to study at your institution.

Strategy

If you’re an education provider, there is no need to use stock images. Why fake it when you have so many awesome students to represent your institution? Prospective students respond far more favourably to images, videos and stories about real students.

Here, we’ll show you why user-generated content is so successful and how to use user-generated content to its full advantage. We’ll also show you how user-generated content works for one of our partners, Flinders University.

Student-curated content

User-generated content (or UGC) includes photos, videos, stories or other content that is generated by…you guessed it—users. In the context of education, users are students. Education providers can (and should!) use student-curated content to boost return-on-investment (ROI).

Why is student-curated content so successful? Here are some statistics according to Salesforce:

  •  61% of people are more likely to engage with an ad if it contained UGC
  • 50% of customers find UGC more memorable than brand-produced content
  • 53% of millennials say UGC influences their purchasing decisions

If that’s not enough to convince you that UGC supercharges your marketing and boosts your ROI, let’s look more closely at using student-curated content for education marketing.

Why student-curated content?

The statistics above show that UGC engages customers more than brand-generated content. This applies to education too because prospective students love seeing what it’s actually like to study at your institution. They want to know about the experience they could have, course outcomes, internships, careers and all the other opportunities you have to offer.

Students also want to feel heard, and they trust each other’s experiences more than they trust branded content. In this way, student-curated content increases trust in your brand and drives audience reach.

If you’re trying to enter into newer markets such as South America and Africa we know how challenging it can be to attract students – especially if you only have a few students from those regions. By using your current students from those areas, it helps students feel assurance that other people like them have also chosen this pathway.

Student-curated content also promotes ongoing engagement, as you and your audience respond to UGC with comments on posts. You and your students can also share and feature UGC across all social media channels. We often see students tagging their friends and family on social content, meaning the content will reach more people without you having to put $ behind it.

 

How to create student-curated content

Here are ideas for UGC in education marketing.

 

Student Ambassadors

Turn your current students or alumni into ambassadors. These students can create highly personalised and relatable content to show your university as a welcoming and rewarding place to study.

You can recruit ambassadors by offering them LinkedIn recommendations, by advertising the ambassador program as an internship or by offering them a $50-$100 vouchers. Depending on what the purpose of your campaign is (recruit international students, showcase the expertise of your academics, promote an event like OpenDay), you might want to choose different people for your content.

Videos

More than a third of time spent online is spent consuming video. According to the same source, video is also more memorable than other forms of content. By using video content, you can create highly engaging and memorable content in a cost-effective way.

Get students to create their own videos and then use these for Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat ads. You could also create videos in which you interview students about their experiences, and turn these into ads.

Best bit? The content can be created on phones. This ensures the content looks and sounds authentic – like a friend is sharing content, not a marketing team.

Webinars

Webinars are another popular and effective form of video content which you probably already use as part of your marketing campaigns. But instead of creating staff-hosted webinars, ask students to host webinars, run virtual “events,” or engage in video chats with prospective students. Again, this lends authenticity to your content, perceived as more trustworthy than brand-produced content.

Blogs

Blogs offer another opportunity to create UGC. One way to do this is by creating surveys which you then send out to current students. Use their answers to create blogs, articles or Q&As. Post these to your website and share across your social media channels.

Emails

You can even use UGC in your email marketing campaign. Ask students to write letters or emails to prospective students and send these across to the leads you are nurturing. Prospective students perceive student-generated emails as more authentic and trustworthy than brand-generated letters.

 

Putting UGC into action with Flinders University

Social Garden and Flinders University partnered to create a range of UGC content showcasing what it’s like to study Business as an international student at Flinders.

Flinders Business School was keen to create a range of assets that could be used in advertising across Asia, South America, Africa and Australia. We worked together to produce a range of videos, blogs and social ads that are focused on sharing the real stories and real experiences of their international student cohort.

In the first three months of the campaign, we brought in over 3,000 leads, however, our key success metric is not just based around the number of leads. About 35% of leads have been ‘qualified’ meeting Flinders’ benchmarks around funding source and likelihood to be able to study in Australia, which especially in countries like India, Philippines and Pakistan – where lead quality leads are an issue – can be difficult to achieve.

Want to see what the content looks like? Check out this influencer-style video and blog about the student experience that we created and have been using in the advertising campaign.

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