What are the next social media trends?

What are the next social media trends?

by Gavin Howard

Social media platforms such as Facebook are among the best ways to reach potential students through digital marketing, particularly if you are targeting the 16 to 25-year-old demographic that is most plugged into social media. Many in the training and education industry have already had great success with Facebook and other social media tools, but you can by no means rest on your last post or update.

Social media is constantly evolving, while the younger audience – those who are most likely to be searching for your training course opportunities – are notoriously fickle and are always looking for the next big thing. It’s important that you stay up to date with the emerging trends in social media so that your RTO or Training Institution can remain at the forefront. Here are a couple of social media trends that you should keep an eye on and possibly try out.

Engaging with potential students through live video

Video has been a significant element in digital marketing for some time, thanks largely to Youtube and other platforms that allow you to take a video message directly to your potential students for a fraction of the cost of getting your brand on television. That is now moving forward an extra step with the emergence of real-time live streamed video.

Live streaming first reached popularity with Periscope – that was offered by Twitter – while Facebook has joined in with Facebook Live. This is having a significant impact on digital marketing and the media in general. Even mainstream media channels are using Facebook Live as a source, but it provides particular opportunities for the education and training industry.

With live video you can easily set up a camera in one of your classrooms – even mobile phone cameras are good enough to do the job these days – and directly show potential students what they are missing and the opportunities you can offer them. It is also a great way for present and past students to interact directly with those who are thinking of enrolling into your RTO, providing face-to-face referrals that are more effective than any other type of advertising you can create.

Using chatbots to ensure fast response times

More and more people are seeking answers from businesses, including schools and training facilities, through social messaging. Studies have shown that the number of social messages that require a response through platforms such as Facebook have been growing by an average of 18 percent every year. If somebody sends you a message asking a question, they are already halfway to choosing your RTO, so it’s important that you respond to them quickly and open an engaging dialogue.

However, that is not always easy to do, particularly if you run a small business and you do not have the resources for a full-time social media manager. There are a lot of demands on your time and it’s not always possible to place social media responses at the top of your to-do list. An effective solution is utilising chatbots, which are constantly growing more effective and have reached a level that makes them ideal for answering frequently asked questions. Their effectiveness can be easily seen in the way they are being adopted by various companies and industries – for instance, there are now more than 11,000 active Facebook Messenger bots.

However, if you do adopt a chatbot you need to make sure that you don’t rely on it too heavily. We’re still a long way from genuine artificial intelligence and it’s often obvious to your potential students that they are speaking to a robot. The chatbot can provide swift answers to simple questions, but that’s no match for an actual conversation with a person. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what your chatbot is saying and follow it up with further comments when you have the time.

Paid content is king

Paid content doesn’t really count as one of the “next trends” – it’s been out there for a long time – but its primacy in the digital marketing sphere has grown to a level that deserves discussing. If you are not already paying for social media advertising it’s time to start. The algorithms used by Facebook and other platforms are making it increasingly difficult to reach the potential students you are seeking through organic content. Add to that the fact you are competing against similar training and education business’who are already using paid content and it’s clear that you need to join the race. The numbers speak for themselves; in 2017 it is estimated the social media advertising spend will pass $41 billion and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

Of course, you can’t simply hand over the money and leave it at that. It’s just as important that your paid post has a direct message that will catch the attention of the potential students you are trying to attract.

Would you like to know more about using social media to attract new students? Get in touch with Which Training today and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Photo: Video recording by KKniazeff licensed under Creative commons 5

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