5 Social Media Marketing Strategies to Increase College Enrollment

Topics: Millennials + Gen Z, Digital Media, Higher Ed Marketing

Posted by: Marketing

Our recent look at the current state of higher ed enrollment covered the challenges of recruiting college students in 2022 and some of the best ways to overcome those issues. As we discussed, digital advertising may be the most important part of a successful student recruitment campaign. Social media is a key component of productive online advertising. Discover five winning social media marketing strategies to increase college enrollment.

Social media marketing


Why should you utilize social media marketing?

To reach any target audience, you need to reach them where they are, and young adults  spend an impressive amount of time on social media. Millennials estimate they spend an average of 3.8 hours a day on social media, while Generation Z is spending almost 4.5 hours a day on social. 


MSSmedia Social Media Behavior



Digital ad campaigns, paid social media campaigns, and influencer partnerships build buzz for everything your organization has to offer. They also provide a broader reach than traditional ad campaigns, often at a fraction of the price.



“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing.” 



+ Use digital marketing tactics to increase enrollment.

+ Learn three key digital marketing solutions for student recruitment.


Social media advertising campaigns are an excellent way to generate leads and build brand awareness in its simplest form. These paid online campaigns establish loyalty and engage users. 

  • Social ad impressions are up 20%, year over year.
  • 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads.
  • 928.5 million people can be reached by ads on Instagram. Of those users, almost 600 million are 18-34 years old.
  • 92% of Instagram users say they’ve followed a brand, clicked on their website, or made a purchase after seeing a product/service on the platform.
  • Facebook ads reach 1.95 billion of the platform's 2.5 billion monthly users That’s 32% of the world’s population (over the age of 13).


MSSmedia Social Media Ad Stats



How can you use social media marketing effectively?

To utilize social media marketing most effectively, you must create and maintain a strong social media presence and strategy. Here are five social media marketing strategies to increase college enrollment:


#1 Employ a holistic approach.

Social media marketing offers opportunities to use paid, earned, shared, and owned media tactics.  Integrating these tactics together in a cohesive way extends your reach while each part of your social media marketing campaign amplifies the efforts of the others. 

+ Increase enrollment with an integrated marketing strategy.



#2 Run effective paid social advertising campaigns.

Weak social ads create a negative emotional response in less than one second flat. By the time your viewer blinks, they’ve given your ad a pass or fail. Don’t rely on cash to make up for quality. You need high-quality copy, CTAs, and visuals.

Today’s best social channels for higher education advertising are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

+ Learn what makes for a winning college recruitment ad.

#3 Be innovative.

When it comes to student recruitment, innovation is especially important. Your target audience is young, modern, and not likely to be attracted to stale advertising efforts and old school campaigns. For this demographic, cutting edge marketing strategies can be incredibly potent. 

+ Learn five innovative ways to execute an effective college recruitment campaign.


While established social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter still have plenty of traffic, teenagers and young adults are increasingly turning to emerging platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. In fact, the most popular social media sites among teenagers in 2020 were Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram (in that order). And as we’ve already discussed, to reach your target audience, you need a presence precisely where members of that market are spending their time. Here are a few facts to keep in mind when it comes to Snapchat in particular:

  • Snapchat ads are 7x more efficient than TV ads at reaching Gen Z.
  • 72% of Snapchat ad viewers weren’t even reachable by TV ads. 

The University of Florida’s #FirstDayUF social media campaign made excellent use of an emerging platform when they posted a video of the school president handing out free shaved ice on the first day of school. Students were encouraged to share the hash-tagged video on TikTok and other social media accounts, building community and bringing broader awareness to their campus.


#4 Utilize influencer partnerships.

Influencer marketing is an effective PR tactic that allows universities to build and share their public image with large segments of their target market. Mentions and shares on sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and TikTok reach millions of viewers.  Whether individuals share your content with their peers or high-profile influences speak favorably of your organization, you gain exposure, build positive brand awareness, and engage more of your target audience. 

In addition to cultivating relationships with bloggers, reporters, consumer advocates, and industry experts, you will want to enhance your relationships with existing students and distinguished alumni and faculty members. Having credible sources like these share and promote your programs and events with enthusiasm will speak volumes to prospective enrollees and their families.


#5 Video, video, video.

In today’s ever changing and increasingly digital world, virtual events and video marketing are key. With video, your marketing message can be effectively conveyed to a wide audience faster than ever before. Four times as many people would prefer to watch a product or informational video than read about it, so using videos in your marketing campaign is probably the easiest way to capture consumers. Apply this digital marketing tactic to: 

  • Campus tours
  • Speaking events
  • Open houses/info sessions
  • Portrayals of campus life (involve current students for energy and authenticity)

See our complete guide: Recruiting Students – A Marketing Plan to Increase College Enrollment.




Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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