Does your school’s social media advertising tell a story that engages prospective students?
Major brands like Apple and Airbnb have leveraged the art of storytelling to reinforce their values and promote consumer trust. Higher education is admittedly a much different market. But colleges can still benefit from using storytelling to harness the power of connection.
When you tell a story with social media advertising, it inevitably becomes less about your school, and more about the prospective student and their experience. You’re forced to consider your audience first and foremost, and in turn, deliver the kind of content that truly resonates with them.
Let’s take a look at several strategies we use at MindMax to incorporate storytelling into social media advertising.
How Schools Can Leverage Storytelling in Social Media Advertising
Use more animations and gifs.
It’s hard to tell a story with a static image, so consider using animations and gifs instead. In one small study, 59% of marketers said video drives more engagement in Facebook ads compared to just 29% who had more success with images.
For one of our recent client campaigns, we created an animation of a student in a graduation cap as part of a promotional strategy for Accepted Student Day. Through the animation, we were able to tell a brief story about how the school supports prospective students from acceptance to graduation.
Select the right images.
Social media advertising is about more than what a brand is trying to say. It’s about how they make the person on the other side of the ad feel. Inspiring an emotional response is understandably challenging when you have about half a second to make an impact. But one way to do it is with the right images.
When selecting a stock photo for a social media advertisement, consider how you want a prospective student to envision themselves at this point in their journey.
If it’s an ad for an online program, the image might show someone at home on their laptop, conveying to the viewer that this could be them, learning in the comfort of their own home. If it’s an ad for an MBA program, it probably makes more sense to portray someone in an office setting.
Align creative elements with copy.
You could have the most compelling creative element in the world. But if the supporting copy doesn’t align well with it, prospective students may be left feeling disconnected and confused.
Images and copy should work together to provide a steady flow of information, with each element complementing the other.
Think like an enrollment officer.
College enrollment officers do an excellent job supporting prospective students through their decision-making journey. But more often than not, that display of support and encouragement doesn’t translate into social media advertising.
Storytelling is a great conduit for focusing less on self-promotion and more on the needs of prospective students.
Create a seamless experience.
Each individual ad should tell its own story. An even stronger approach, however, is to nurture prospective students through the marketing funnel with a sequence of connected stories that mirrors their journey.
When you retarget potential students, provide a seamless experience by picking up where you left off with the previous ad. Getting this type of experience right can be tricky, but when executed well, it’s highly effective.
If you’d like support telling compelling stories in your school’s social media advertising, MindMax is here for you. Contact us to learn more about our strategic digital advertising campaigns for colleges and universities.