Recruitment applications, school brochures and campus excursions are only the start of interesting to potential college students. As youthful generations flock to their favourite social platforms to study extra about their dream colleges, utilizing TikTok for increased training is a should.
There are increased ed establishments prospering on the platform—attracting the eye of scholars and alumni alike. Our Social Media Benchmarks Report for Larger Training exhibits 68% of highschool college students use social channels to analysis colleges. Our report additionally reveals 80% of alumni organizations agree that social media has essentially the most influence on engagement. And 41% of college officers can instantly attribute elevated enrollment to social technique.
We spoke to a number of establishments together with Massachusetts Institute of Know-how, Bowling Inexperienced State College and Ohio College to debate how they navigate challenges and their ideas for constructing a presence on TikTok. On this article, we’ll additionally present examples from these schools and universities main the way in which on TikTok for increased training.
3 establishments main a masterclass on TikTok for increased training
1. Massachusetts Institute of Know-how (MIT)
MIT has mastered the TikTok area of interest. Whether or not it’s showcasing a robotic fixing a Rubik’s dice in .38 seconds,
Or giving a behind-the-scenes take a look at pupil life, the distinguished establishment does a superb job of balancing various kinds of content material to attraction to numerous audiences.
2. Bowling Inexperienced State College
Bowling Inexperienced State College (BGSU) was the primary college on the “clock app” in Ohio and has been a frontrunner in increased training TikTok ever since. They’re one of the vital adopted establishments within the state.
Together with unique content material, BGSU highlights the college’s distinctive choices, such because the Carillon Market, which options Amazon’s Simply Stroll Out expertise. The market is certainly one of BGSU’s eating choices and the expertise used within the retailer allows college students to buy objects by scanning a QR code or tapping a debit or bank card upon entry. College students can merely faucet, stroll in, seize their meals and stroll out with out utilizing a standard point-of-service system:
“TikTok is a superb platform for locating new audiences. We now have had so many college students from throughout the nation that say they discovered our college by way of TikTok and that’s why they selected to enroll in BGSU,” says Brianna Blackburn, Supervisor of Social Media Technique, Bowling Inexperienced State College.
3. Ohio College
Ohio College (OU) is without doubt one of the main establishments within the nation for engagement on social. OU is aware of easy methods to join with their viewers whereas additionally connecting the college to TikTok tendencies. For instance, within the video beneath, they share their rendition of the “We’re XYZ,” pattern:
Additionally they partnered with their college communications and advertising and marketing departments to supply a Halloween themed sequence that includes OU’s mascot, Rufus the Bobcat:
The challenges to creating the next ed TikTok technique
In 2023, a number of states and college methods banned or restricted TikTok on their campuses, typically by blocking entry from campus wifi. Our benchmarks report highlights 4 different widespread challenges for increased ed organizations on social, together with: a number of viewers segments, departmental silos, competing pursuits and ineffective instruments. Right here’s a fast overview of these challenges:
A number of viewers segments: Schools and universities have a number of audiences–potential college students, present college students, alumni, college, followers—and so they all need various kinds of content material.
Departmental silos: Managing varied audiences turns into more difficult when there are totally different departments and groups with totally different focuses and objectives.
Competing pursuits: College rivalries transcend sports activities. Practitioners have to grasp their opponents’ social efficiency to benchmark and enhance their establishment’s social technique.
Ineffective instruments: With out the suitable instruments to measure success, gaining a chicken’s eye view of efficiency and influence turns into much more troublesome. Regardless of these widespread ache factors, there are methods social practitioners can navigate these challenges efficiently.
Learn how to construct a standout TikTok presence in increased ed
Listed below are eight ideas for constructing a presence on TikTok in increased training:
1. Establish your bread and butter to create partaking content material
Jenny Li Fowler, Director of Social Media Technique on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how recommends centering on “bread and butter content material”. This bread and butter content material refers to a set of content material or particular subjects that everybody in your group expects and values from you, akin to campus pictures.
“Each college has its tradition and issues the group rallies round, like a sports activities group. For us, numbers are our love language—something that’s nerdy or quirky we additionally love,” she says.
Nevertheless, Fowler additionally encourages increased ed intuitions to embrace spontaneity as nicely. For instance, MIT is commonly a solution in jeopardy, in order that may very well be a possibility to play on a particular second.
“When your tradition intersects with the favored tradition or zeitgeist, that’s social media gold. However that may be a take a look at of how shortly your group can transfer and capitalize on these moments. You may create some actually inventive, highly effective and genuine content material in these moments,” she says.
“Lean into what makes your establishment and your tradition distinctive. Don’t attempt to do the dances or comply with all of the tendencies until it’s a pure match. Tendencies are simpler to get mistaken than proper,” she says.
2. Give attention to complementary objectives and customary pursuits
Fowler runs the flagship channel, so her major viewers is world. Though potential college students and alumni aren’t her foremost focus, they’re a part of her viewers. She explains it’s a optimistic that varied departments have specialised objectives and particular audiences as a result of it allows groups to enhance one another.
“I feel that’s even higher that we do as a result of we will level to one another. For instance, some departments could have comparable niches like cognitive sciences or neurological research. Some [department labs and centers] are targeted on synthetic intelligence, whereas others are centered on robotics or humanities. When folks come to me for a session, I all the time advocate them to succeed in out to folks in several departments to allow them to amplify one another’s work, akin to for occasion promotion,” Fowler says.
“It’s all the time higher to work collectively than making an attempt to single handedly construct a group from scratch. In case you have totally different groups it’s good to have the ability to work off of one another and share one another’s content material,” she says.
“Our admissions division focuses on potential college students so that they get to do plenty of actually cool, edgy content material that may not communicate to my complete broader viewers. We now have extra professionals, educators and lecturers who comply with the flagship channels who recognize extra of our bread and butter content material: analysis, science, robotics. The admissions division will get to do extra enjoyable, revolutionary content material—and thank goodness as a result of they’re so good at it.”
3. Embrace and empower partnerships with college students
Elise Holbrook, Senior Social Media Specialist, Ohio College says the coed group is a big a part of their success on TikTok. Whereas Holbrook oversees general technique and content material approval, the coed social group produces content material for TikTok and Reels. Juliana Colant, is a senior member of OU’s pupil social media group and works very intently with Holbrook.
“The coed group has all the time been such an vital a part of our technique as a result of college students know the college and campus life tremendous nicely. They’ve extra of a pulse on what’s attention-grabbing to folks their age,” Holbrook says, “When you’re going to be creating content material for younger folks, then younger folks should be concerned.”
In 2023, BGSU began a model ambassador program. Blackburn meets with ambassadors biweekly to brainstorm concepts for content material. Additionally they create TikTok content material throughout these conferences.
BGSU has leveraged a pupil social media intern group for years, however in 2023, they launched a model ambassador program for pupil micro influencers. The scholars put up on their private social media channels weekly, but in addition have the chance to study, brainstorm and create TikToks with the BGSU social group in-person twice a month.
“Having an additional layer of reference to college students has tremendously helped us keep in contact with what’s taking place on campus and listen to new concepts and views from quite a lot of college students—we get wonderful TikTok and campaigns concepts from them. It’s additionally an excellent studying alternative for college kids keen on advertising and marketing or public relations,” she says.
4. Add your establishment’s personal spin
Holbrook and Colant advocate figuring out methods you’ll be able to join in style content material to your establishment whether or not it’s a TikTok pattern or sound.
“We attempt to see how we will mix OU into the TikTok area in a manner that’s partaking and enjoyable, but in addition informational for the viewers we’re making an attempt to succeed in,” Colant says.
For instance, the group created a number of movies in the course of the Barbie film parody pattern, like this one beneath:
However our social practitioners agree that there’s an artwork to hopping on tendencies. Blackburn mentions how they participated within the “I’m X, after all of XYZ” pattern on TikTok.
Blackburn explains the “I’m X, after all,” pattern was profitable as a result of they have been capable of put up when it was first turning into in style on TikTok. As a substitute of creating it nearly BGSU college students, they made the video about all school college students, which captured a much wider viewers. She advises groups to behave quick when hopping on tendencies and create content material that’s relatable to a broad viewers.
“The upper training business is generalized as being gradual to vary or gradual to advertising and marketing techniques. However TikTok is a novel alternative for us to actually be totally different from that stereotype and turn out to be early adopters,” she says.
“It’s very easy to only do a fast lip sync to an audio, however what actually makes our account stand out is that we’ve a lot selection in content material.”
Together with utilizing TikTok sounds, BGSU posts vlogs and skits. She encourages groups to turn out to be early adopters of various strategies as nicely, akin to experimenting with enhancing kinds.
“Have enjoyable with enhancing like zooming in or including sound results. Actually combine it up, see how your viewers responds, and hold experimenting. Taking considerate and strategic dangers as a public establishment enable you stand out out of your friends. In order that’s been our method as a social-first targeted model,” Blackburn says.
“It’s extra vital to us that we create strong, constant content material even when which means posting one thing that’s totally different than something we’ve performed earlier than or not precisely ‘good’ in our eyes. We all the time attempt for progress over perfection. TikTok development is about being all in—it’s only a matter of going for it,” she says.
5. Have enjoyable whereas leaning into your viewers’s pursuits
Holbrook explains there’s an inclination in increased ed to really feel just like the content material needs to be severe as a result of groups have a model to uphold, however she encourages groups to step exterior their consolation zone.
“An even bigger a part of our technique has been not taking ourselves too severely. To some extent you need to current your self as a legit educational establishment. However folks within the [target audience] of school college students don’t need to see a model–whether or not it’s a university or any model—be tremendous severe on a regular basis,” Holbrook says.
Fowler encourages social groups in increased training to have enjoyable when constructing a presence on TikTok.
“A number of the most partaking varieties of content material are those who can help you tie again to your group or your tradition. These are essentially the most enjoyable,” Fowler says.
For instance, MIT created a Barbie field :
“Even simply calling your viewers Barbies and saying ‘Hey, my nerd Barbies,’ works,” Fowler says.
“I used to joke that one of the vital troublesome selections I make a day is which emoji to make use of. It’s social media. It’s imagined to be enjoyable and typically I feel we neglect that basic truth,” Fowler says.
6. Construct group by way of consistency
Colant says there’s two key issues to recollect with TikTok technique: consistency and group. Consistency is vital as a result of TikTok isn’t a platform the place you’ll be able to simply put up as soon as a month after which anticipate to see an excellent development or response charge. That you must persistently publish content material on your viewers, together with viewers who aren’t following you but, however see your content material on their For You Web page. She additionally speaks to how TikTok is commonly related to the chase of virality, however constructing group is extra vital.
“Getting 1,000,000 views on each single video can be superior, however it’s about constructing a constant group. We need to join with potential college students, present college students and alumni, so take into consideration how one can finest join with the present group whereas additionally receiving nice engagement.”
7. Grow to be best-in-class by analyzing efficiency and opponents
Holbrook says exhibiting proof factors of each quantitative and qualitative may also help present the “why” behind your TikTok technique. For instance, by pulling stories the place you’ll be able to view related engagement metrics like reshares, feedback and likes, you get a quantitative sense of efficiency. She additionally recommends trying to the TikTok feedback to see how the content material resonates together with your viewers to realize a qualitative sense of your posts.
Together with reviewing OU’s TikTok efficiency, the group has a web page devoted to following different schools, universities and competitor establishments to see how totally different colleges method content material.
“How are they masking their soccer video games? Might we do one thing comparable or totally different? You may actually study and develop by your opponents,” Colant says.
Past competitor establishments, the group pays consideration to posts from content material creators, influencers and types.
“That’s a extremely vital factor to contemplate on [short-form video platforms] like TikTok and Reels which might be competing for folks’s views. How do you get on the extent of these manufacturers which might be all the time getting the trending movies,” Holbrook says.
“I like to take a look at TikTok technique as being a pupil of the platform. We’re all the time finding out the platform and listening. We keep away from posting simply to put up as a result of we hear first and see how the overall dialog goes,” Blackburn says.
8. Create partnerships with TikTok training influencers
Fowler says increased ed establishments have a built-in group of micro-influencers as a result of present and incoming college students have by no means identified life with out social media. In the present day’s undergraduates aren’t simply students—they’re content material creators and influencers. And naturally alumni and followers have social presences as nicely.
“You will have ambassadors who already love you and are your actual followers. Folks get excited when their favourite establishment reaches out. Many college students have their very own YouTube channels with a number of thousand followers. To me, that’s a micro-influencer. Faucet into these folks and pitch a possibility to work collectively,” she says.
Together with utilizing micro-influencers inside their ambassador program, BGSU collaborated with their first influencer, @eliemagic in 2023. He travels to campuses throughout Ohio to interview college students and he additionally has a sequence devoted to Greek life and pupil athletes. BGSU reached out after he introduced he was coming to campus, and so they labored to perform one thing he couldn’t do on his personal: interview a professor.
“He got here in and shocked the category, in order that was a cool expertise to see the shock on everybody’s faces as a result of he’s very recognizable in Ohio,” she says.
Similar to TikTok tendencies, the increased training social media playbook is dynamic, however the following pointers may also help you develop your presence on TikTok.
Larger training TikTok: Foster connection past the For You Web page
The widespread piece of recommendation from all three establishments? Give attention to group and connection in your TikTok and different channels to ascertain rapport together with your viewers segments. If you wish to study extra methods to make use of TikTok for training, get impressed with our record of 15 methods to make use of social media for training.