User Generated Content has been receiving a lot of attention for quite some time now, not merely for it being a marketing buzzword but for drawing in the right kind of customers to business. User Generated content meaning is something that was born out of brands adopting the idea of their fans promoting their business and has been so effective that it is here to stay. The reason for its effectiveness is simple – word-of-mouth referrals and authentic recommendations by people make for the most effective marketing.
Even Educational institutes are no different when it comes to establishing a brand image
With more and more youngsters being on social media, The use of generated content is a sure-shot way to grab their attention and influence choices of which college or university to go in for. The generated content can be used for education marketing campaign in the form of blog posts, reviews, status updates, videos or tweets is more likely to be favored by prospective students because it is posted by real people and is not an advertisement per se.
The current and upcoming college-goers are a generation of digital natives, YouTube, quora and Instagram are full of inspirational content where usually get a feel for a product or school in a matter of minutes through an Internet search. This could be the great tool to promote your college or university as it comes from real people (students or faculty members, or ex-students). It generates more trust than does paid advertisement’s.
Most educational institutions may offer the same infrastructure and teaching talent, with their websites beaming similar content and images. Using the generated content from real people becomes a differentiating factor in order to stand out and communicate effectively with your audience.
Why does User-Generated Content matter and how is it so important for educational institutes?
1. It is a free source of content
Employing branded content to post on social media and also to use it throughout digital marketing can be an expensive thing to do. On the other hand, you have an excellent alternative in the form of quality, creative content from your institute’s community.
2. The contributors will be mighty pleased about it
Everyone loves having his/her blog, tweet, picture or video shared on social media. Sharing a post is giving recognition to the post. So most of the content generators will be more than happy to have their content displayed on your website or social media platform. Not only will this enable you to source content easily but would also give you content that is more varied in quality.
3. Your audience will find it more convincing than any other branded content
Any that speaks positively of your institute will be seen as a genuine endorsement or testimonial. Prospective students are more likely to trust information shared by peers than the content shared by the institute itself. This gives your institute greater credibility and you can rest assured that it will draw more faith and trust in the quality of your institute than would any advertisement or PR exercise.
4. Employing UGC to your advantage encourages sharing
By using User-Generated Content, you’re encouraging sharing. When you share content that has been put up on social media by students or faculty at your institute, slowly and surely, more and more people at your institute will be encouraged to share the same. This will help you build an entire online community around your institute.
It Builds Trust
Deciding which educational institute to opt for is a big decision. Even before you start talking about the benefits and advantages of your college, it is important to build trust in the fact that whatever you are saying is genuine and trustworthy. This is where UGC comes in. Use generated content coming from real people who have already experienced or are currently experiencing the facilities and quality of education at your institute. It holds more weight than paid content. This instills a sense of trust among prospective students and their parents.
It offers a first-hand view of what the experience at the institute is going to be like
The community of your institute is giving a first-hand view to the prospective students of what life at the institute is like with their blogs, pictures, tweets and videos. Be it videos and pictures of a college fest or a blog talking about a seminar, a short FB post on paper presentation or a competition – each of these is a window for the outsiders to your institute. What distinguishes one educational institute from the other is the experiences they provide and UGC gives the aspiring admission seekers a fair idea of what real life on the campus is going to be like.
It attracts Interest and holds interest
It is content that is going to keep your institute within focus. Choosing an educational institute is a long process. It takes time for students to convert. A prospect may learn about your college two to three years before he is actually considering admission to an institute for higher education. But the action that is happening with UGC will keep him not just attracted but engaged and create a lasting impression to influence his choices when he finally seeks admission. UGC helps your school stay fresh in the minds of prospective students.
In a nutshell, User-Generated Content is helping you to attract future students by creating social proof. Not just that, it is improving your reach and engagement on social media. It is your most credible way to reach out to prospective students (or their parents) to promote trust in your institute for their education.