Covid-19: Mitigate the disruption to your student recruitment through digital

In these unprecedented times, the unknown impact of Covid-19 means we’re in a time of uncertainty and the Education Sectors is bracing for every eventuality. The situation is changing by the minute, and whilst we don’t have the solution to the virus itself, we do have some ideas on how you can integrate digital into your scenario planning and implementation plans to help reduce its overall impact.

First of all, how is social media responding to Covid-19?

Most social platforms are taking a socially responsible approach. This is the first time we’ve ever seen platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and even TikTok prompting people to visit official news channels to get real advice rather than trying to act as information platforms themselves.

Interestingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) have set up a TiKTok account specifically as a result of Covid-19 – indicating that this platform is likely to stick around for the long term- like the others. We did say these were unprecedented times, and these more responsible approaches are at least one good news story from the outbreak to come.

Here are our digital recommendations for possible scenarios

Scenario planning and implementation plans are the top of the agenda for universities and colleges across this UK right now. Here are some scenarios and our recommended solutions for those scenarios.

Scenario 1: My international officers are unable to fly to events
Solution: Hyperlocal Targeting of Events

Granted, it is an ambitious scenario. If the events themselves are still going ahead, we would recommend a hyperlocal campaign. Thankfully due to advancements in technology you can still be present at events, even if you are not physically present.

Hyperlocal targeting is the very specific mobile targeting option that you can use if your international officers are restricted in this way. It works by entering longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates into the platform which, in a sense, creates an invisible ‘fence’ around the location of interest.

The benefits to this are two-fold; firstly, you will still be present in these places. Secondly, once you have this data, you will be able to retarget this audience at a later stage across a multitude of channels at various times.

Scenario 2: My outreach opportunities are limited because schools and colleges have closed
Solution: Key Feeder School Targeting

Social advertising platforms allow us to be very precise whilst inputting targeting profiles. This means we can still target students of key feeder schools and colleges that you would usually do your outreach activities in.

Using clever ad formats like Facebook’s Instant Experiences or Vlog-style videos will help you tell an engaging story, without the need to create a whole new section of your website. You can even take this one step further by adding that personal touch and encouraging students to ask questions directly via WhatsApp or Messenger.  

This means you can still reach students of those schools and colleges despite the closures.

Scenario 3: Due to government restrictions, my upcoming events need to be cancelled
Solution: Virtual Events 

If you have a bit of time on your side, this is a great way to overcome those event cancellations. You can use online platforms to run virtual open days in place of your normal events. Utilise 360 tours, webinar-style course talks and live chat to create a full open day experience online.

This way the student will get the look, feel and culture of your organization – albeit virtually. They can still ask questions, speak to academics and get a good understanding of campus life.

We would recommend that your still request open day attendees to book online, so that you can continue the conversation with those students afterwards.

Scenario 4: My upcoming events need to be cancelled last minute
Solution: Facebook Live Events

If you don’t have so much time on your hands to organise a full virtual experience, Facebook provides you with an easy access solution to run virtual events. This saves up your time and resources. Use live video to generate engagement, encourage questions directly to your teams via Facebook Messenger and ask your current students to get involved by tagging their university experience.

This is a quick and easy alternative that can help build your social following with potential students.

Scenario 5: Covid-19 could impact our enrolment figures in key countries
Solution:  International Clearing Campaigns

At this moment in time, we do not know how the next few weeks or months are going to play out but it’s almost certain that recent developments will have some sort of impact on enrolments. Our best recommendation at this point is to concentrate your budget on International Clearing Campaigns during July and August – focusing on those counties with the greatest geographical mobility.

This could minimise the impact of Covid-19 on student enrolment by increasing digital activities in those countries with fewer restrictions, closer to enrolment deadlines.

What Happens Next?

If you need solutions and recommendations to up-level your digital strategy during these unparalleled times, please feel free to get in touch.

Universities and Colleges come to us when they want results because, at Crunch Simply Digital, we are solution-focused experts in the HE Sector.

Contact [email protected] for a free consultation.

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