In the last few years, there's been a revolutionary shift in the way that prospective students learn about study opportunities, as colleges and universities around the world turn to video production and video marketing as their go-to recruitment tool.
However, to take full advantage of any recruitment videos an institution creates or commissions, it's absolutely essential that the video content is also distributed across a variety of online marketing channels and that students are communicated with on their own terms. This means sharing videos via popular online social networks like Facebook and MySpace and creating branded channels on video-sharing sites like YouTube and Google Video.
If done correctly, the student recruitment videos will be viewed by a multitude of online viewers and can act as an extremely powerful element of any marketing strategy. Colleges and Universities who rely only on traditional marketing methods such as student fairs, education agents, hard copy publications and other one-way communication channels are missing out on a powerful new student recruitment tool that in most instances is entirely free. They will soon find themselves behind the competition.
Many people in the student recruitment industry are already calling this “Recruitment 2.0" and many institutions around the UK are fully embracing these new technologies to propagate their student recruitment videos and boost admissions.
Warwick University regularly upload recruitment videos to both their YouTube Channel and MySpace Profile to reach out to potential students.
"We are bringing the academe to audiences in a very new and exciting way, " says Tom Abbott, content editor at Warwick. “This is a rich window into what the university experience is, which may be impossible to articulate in a brochure. "
Durham University also run a popular YouTube Channel, which drives enormous numbers of potential students and parents to the university's main website.
"We're experiencing a 12% increase in overseas applications at the moment and are really excited about the part that our online presence has played in this. Much of the research on courses, student life and the local area is now of course done via the web. Statistically, our video portal has been receiving up to 40,000 clicks per month and we're continually hearing that it's been one of the best conversion tools we have for applications, particularly students from overseas, who often have to make the most educated decision on where to apply based on what they see online and in prospectuses. "
Westminster University and the University of Plymouth prefer to concentrate their attentions on Facebook. Both of their profiles contain a number of student recruitment videos about life at the Universities.
American universities however are really leading the way - often engaging with prospective students for up to 2 or 3 years prior to actual enrollment by creating loyal online communities around their institutions and re-purposing student recruitment videos whenever possible. Both Duke University and Stanford University operate popular branded YouTube channels, which feature hundreds of different videos, ranging from professional produced promotional films to user-generated content.
So. . . if you want to make sure that your student recruitment videos are seen by as many people as possible and that you make the very most of marketing budget, make sure you harness the remarkable marketing power of Web 2.0.
Christiaan Harden is the Business Development Manager at Spectrecom Films Ltd, an award-winning corporate , the UK’s leading online authority and owner of Waterloo Film Studios, a four stage white / green screen complex for hire.