Here comes Generation Alpha

Following the success of our September webinar, ‘Social Media Best Practice for Universities’, we asked trusted social media advisor Luan Wise to share some more top social media marketing tips for education marketers.

Here comes Generation Alpha

For many years, the conversation around targeting future students has been focused on Generation Z (born 1997-2012); the first of Generation Alpha (born 2012-2024) will turn 13 next year – the minimum age for setting up social media accounts. Although social media advertising cannot be targeted at under 18’s, institutions need to recognise a new generation will be starting to use social media in 2023.

Due to the limits of social media targeting, we must not forget the role of parents and carers in education marketing. Published data for ‘favourite social media platforms’ by age and gender shows clear differences in the preferences for different social media platforms by different demographic groups – notably Facebook for older groups, and Instagram for younger groups.

It is also interesting to note that social media users access multiple platforms – on average 7.9 different platforms a month – and the chart below shows how use by Gen Z changes at different times of the day.

Source: https://goknit.com/2022-gen-z-social-media-trends-report/

Top Tip: Social media activity needs to go across multiple platforms, and bear in mind the primary audience on each platform. However, it is better to be active on fewer platforms and use them well, than to try and stretch your resources too far, across too many platforms.

Via social media, and at The Schools & AcademiesShow Birmingham (NEC, Birmingham on  Thursday 17th November), we shared a short survey asking for the top benefits and challenges in education marketing. Luan shared the results and offered some top tips.

Benefits of social media

 You shared with us the following key benefits:

  • Students and parents/carers are already on social media
  • It’s easy to separate content for different year groups (eg with a Facebook Group)
  • Staff can get involved easily
  • Social media is good for promoting news and events
  • Social media is useful for recruitment
  • Good access to analytics

Challenges of social media

While remaining positive about the benefits of social media, we can of course acknowledge that there are challenges. In the webinar Luan addressed some key areas of concern for education marketers:

  • Online Safety
  • Finding the time
  • Building your audience
  • Content ideas
  • Measuring success

Luan highlighted some ‘quick wins’ by addressing social media account housekeeping. Reviewing profile set-ups to ensure that they have a good header image, and the bio/about description sets clear expectations for the purpose of the account, and times when it is monitored.

To support the challenges of responding to messages, particularly when out-of-hours, Luan suggested using pinned posts and automated responses to include links to information that will help an enquirer find the answer (eg on the website). An important reminder that pinned posts and automated responses can be updated to support key dates eg holidays, exam periods, results days etc.

The session was filled with best practice examples from schools and colleges, demonstrating content ideas such as ‘sharing your why’, parent/carer information, and the use of polls as part of a community engagement tactic.

To view all of Luan’s advice on these challenges, you can watch the webinar again, here.

Key takeaways:

  • Check your account set-up regularly to ensure bio text and header graphics are up-to-date
  • Stay in control of your time and resources; a social media management tool can help with this
  • Make it easy for people to find your accounts; ensure links in your website footer are working, and consider including a ‘social media directory’ on your website
  • Follow other actions – within and outside of education – for content ideas

Focus on continuous improvement for your own accounts – keep testing and keep learning

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