How Universities Can Reach Students Through Vlogging

youtubeWith technological innovations come opportunities for institutions of higher education to connect with prospective students. Vlogging, or video blogging, is one way institutions can foster this connection; by introducing this type of dynamic content, institutions can communicate information, share ideas and entice prospective students. From vlogs that focus on programs offered to student testimonials about life on campus, this more conversational use of video content can be a significant marketing tool.

Vlogging is not new in the prospective student’s/digital native’s world of pop culture. For years, vlogs have been seen as informal confessionals on reality TV shows where stars spill secrets and as formally staged interviews where the stars are prompted by producers to discuss drama. Famed vloggers such as Jenna Marbles and Mitchell Davis, and everyday vloggers such as our next door neighbors, high school best friends and anyone with a smartphone can step in front of a camera to share their thoughts and views of everything from how to trick people into thinking you’re good looking to not rocking a Whackberry. As educators market to and recruit new students, they have adopted the technology in the classroom over the last few years as well.

There is no doubt that video marketing is powerful. According to the Forrester Marketing Group, when video content is included in an email, the click-through rate increases by 200%. ComScore notes that 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video and that viewers who view video content stay on a site an average of 2 minutes longer than those who don’t. There are many different types of videos that colleges and universities could use to market to and recruit new students, but the definitive informal and unrehearsed tone of vlogging provides a personal feel. It can engage students in a way that written text can’t. It can spark conversation. It can provide students with a relatable face. It can deliver authenticity. And it can show students that institutions are interested in reaching out to them using a tone they are comfortable with, using a tone that highlights a human feel over slick, excessive branding.

Here are a few ideas on how to use vlogging to market to prospective students:

1. Use vlogs to respond to prospective students’ questions

Vsnap, an online tool that allows users to record video messages up to 60 seconds, has embraced vlogging. A university could easily use this tool to respond to questions via Twitter or email or to thank students for their interest. Vsnap believes that decisions are driven by feelings as much as by facts, and the platform provides users with a way to begin establishing an emotional connection.

2. Use vlogs to highlight student testimonials

Ask current students to film brief vlogs showing discussing their successes as well as their struggles on campus. A guiding premise behind vlogging is the idea that vlogs capture realness in a way more polished videos can’t. These vlogs can be branded, but should focus on the students’ experiences and expression.

3. Use vlogging to create “A Day in the Life” series

Ask students to film what their everyday lives are like on campus and post them to social media. These vlogs can show dorm activities, group work in classes, lunch with friends, the best places to park and/or locations of important buildings on campus, among other things.

What are your experiences with vlogging? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Learn more about EVG’s content marketing services for higher education.

Susan TaylorMarketing Coordinator/Writer

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