5 Lessons for Smarter University Social Media Strategy

In the UCAS Media Student Lifestyle Report 2018, 100% of students use some form of social media. With that many students online daily, universities need a social media strategy to attract their attention and build relationships.

We’re giving you 5 university-specific lessons to reach the right people and engage them. Grab your coffee, find a seat and get ready to take some notes.

1. Write with your students in mind

If you’re an agricultural university, you don’t want high-flying prospective law students from Central London. They won’t be interested in studying agriculture, so there’s no point trying to tailor content to them.

Create targeted campaigns to connect with the type of student you have and want to attract. By speaking to these people, they’re more likely to engage and convert on your call to actions.

Loughborough University is known as one of the best in the world for sports science and research. By posting content such as university sports podcasts, they can start relevant conversations that matter to their students.

Side note: This tweet is a great example of the power of awareness days. By tailoring your content around a trending hashtag, you can reach new, relevant audiences. Want more content ideas? Check out our social media content calendar posts for inspiration every month.

2. Promote student and community content

Universities thrive on community, whether that’s the wider area or local campuses. This can be a great source of content for social media, so make use of it. Post updates about how community projects are progressing and highlight the students involved. You could also tell the story through their eyes by posting their content onto your platforms. This one’s win-win: it also means you don’t have to create 100% of the content!

We love this from Teesside Uni, celebrating the achievements of one of their students. As well as highlighting Liam getting to the finals, they encourage their audience to support a member of their community.

3. Segment your students

The gaming society is not going to be as interested in Rugby fixtures as the sports societies. Besides, if you tried to post all society announcements along with everything else, your main pages would become crowded and disengaging.

Only target the people that are going to be the most interested in a particular announcement. If this means segmenting your audience out by using Facebook groups, do it! You’ll create engaged communities full of students that are interested in that topic. By separating out content, you can focus on posting the highlights to main pages that will interest more people.

Brighton University knows the importance of building local student communities, leading them to set up campus groups. This allows students on those campuses to meet other people, make friends and ask questions. It also means that campus-specific information only goes to the students who need it, without clogging up everyone else’s feed.


4. Enlist students as content creators

Saying something yourself is marketing; someone else saying it is social proof. People are more likely to trust the opinions of current students, so give them a voice on your social media profiles.

Host student takeovers and virtual tours to allow prospective students to ask questions and get real answers. This can also be a great way to make your university more accessible to people that cannot come to an open day.

When the University of Manchester tweeted about an open day, current students began replying with glowing reviews of the university. This is a great advertisement for how happy their students are, and makes great social media content when it’s retweeted!

5. Give students value in every post

When was the last time you read an announcement, and what did it say? Chances are if it wasn’t in the last hour or so, you’ve forgotten what it said. By bringing value, you’ll keep students engaged and start conversations around the service you’re announcing.

Give stressed-out students tips for coping with exams before announcing the counselling service. They’re more likely to remember the tip and the announcement that goes with it as they’ve gained value from the post.

It’s a busy time for Sheffield University as new and returning students begin their lectures. Rather than just announcing ‘Lecture Capture’, they tweeted 5 tips for getting the most out of the lecture recordings. Announcing a great student service + sharing some valuable advice!


With the majority of young people active on social media, a solid strategy is an absolute must. Being social with your audience starts the relationship so when they are applying to universities, you will be at the front of their mind.

No social media strategy yet? No problem. Lesson 1 of our free social media academy with Helen Reynolds contains all you need to know about constructing a social media strategy to meet your institution’s goals.