Higher education institutions continuously experience the need to create effective promotion strategies. It helps to build credibility and engage students. Yet, as trends change quickly, it is often challenging to keep pace with the time and cover everything. There are plenty of internal and external factors that require adjustments, such as the pandemic, student needs, and expectations, requirements of modern industries, etc. In this context, higher education institutions need effective strategies and solutions. See why user-generated content (UGC) is effective in higher education institutions
What Is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
UGC is a type of content that is voluntarily created by users. In higher education, it includes photos, videos, and posts related to a certain institution. This content is created by students, staff, parents, and other stakeholders of a college or university. UGC can serve higher education institutions in a number of ways. Continue reading the article to find out more about its benefits.
Why Is UGC Important in Higher Education?
It Increases Trust and Authenticity
UGC is completely voluntary. As a result, such content appears to be more sincere and authentic. Consumers tend to trust it. In fact, Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report shows that 70% of people trust reviews from peers more than other forms of advertising. In contrast, professionally created marketing content is often dry and one-sided, which is repulsive for many users. Naturally, UGC can occasionally be unflattering. Yet, it is still an effective way to build credibility.
It Makes Users a Part of the Conversation
Involving actual users into advertising encourages them to share their unique experiences. Students and staff can say more about their institution than any professional brand messaging strategies, especially if they are written and edited by a skillful essay writer. It allows telling real stories, which is the most effective way to connect with other people and share thoughts and values.
Education Institutions Content Supports Collaboration
Generating content, users start a discussion with peers and institution representatives. With time, it turns into a community where people can work together and facilitate decision-making. They can also co-create messages for the public. When students, staff, and other stakeholders share their thoughts online, they help the institution understand the prevalent moods and needs. Such insights are useful for informing and designing development strategies.
It Helps to Streamline Student Engagement
Young people are active users of social media platforms. They create content online whether or not their college or university is involved. Although a higher education institution cannot possibly control what students post, it can still give them direction or suggest activities. This works both ways: students get a platform for self-expression when institutions improve their engagement and reach in social media.
In Helps to Recruit Students With Education Institutions Content
Colleges and universities are interested in attracting potential students. Yet, today young people do not wait for the Open Day to see what the college they are interested in is like. Instead, they get information about it on YouTube, Instagram, and a ton of other platforms. Therefore, UGC is a great way to show off an institution in the best light. Real stories shared by students spark enthusiasm and make people want to join the student body. The key here is in the unconventional and compelling storytelling that is characteristic of UGC. Thanks to it, an institution becomes a real brand.
How to Encourage UGC
Institutions should take an active part and use all means to encourage students and staff to create UGC. Here are some of the initiatives that can be helpful in education marketing:
- Give students a topic to record a vlog or write about. Such content will definitely interest prospective students and be useful for marketing purposes. For example, the University of Newcastle has a blog On Course to NCL that familiarizes people with local student life. It includes everything from accommodation to food.
- Do not forget to work with different channels to share UGC. Apart from the official website of an institution, use social media. Students will be more comfortable sharing their thoughts on familiar platforms.
- Generate specific hashtags to increase reach and engagement. This strategy works well in Imperial College London. Using their hashtag #OurImperial, you can see hundreds of posts authored by its students.
- Let students grow the social media accounts of the institution. It empowers them to be creative and engaged in university life. This approach has already been in several universities, including the University of Northampton, and brought nothing but positive results.
- Widen your focus. UGC content in higher education is much more than pure academics. It should cover different areas of student life, including extracurriculars, places to visit, and fun activities to do in the city.
Education Institutions Content: To Sum Up
UGC is here, and it is growing fast. It gives students an opportunity to express their thoughts. Besides, UGC is a trusted source of information that can shape public opinion about an institution. A lot of colleges and universities already use its benefits to improve their marketing strategies and approaches. Therefore, UGC is a powerful tool in the higher education sector, which helps to attract prospective students and promote an institution.