Earlier this week, we looked at the video marketing services geNEOus (formerly NEO Academy) can provide our clients, and why it is so effective as a tool for education institutions. In this article, we need to add a little disclaimer: video marketing isn’t easy, and it is only effective with the right strategy and creativity behind it. But not to worry- we’re going to take a look now at the top 6 ways in which video marketing content can really make an impact on your audience in 2020.
Facebook tells us that users are three times as likely to watch live videos compared to other forms of content. So how can institutions make that work for them? A growing number of institutions are hosting live Q&A sessions with professors as webinars, but live video can also be used to capture the experience of actually studying with your institution.
Live streaming a discussion with alumni or even current students about how it is to actually study there can be a powerful tool; unscripted, authentic and uncontrived. It can also be used effectively for aspirational content, such as the graduation ceremony. Besides allowing relatives and friends of the graduates to virtually attend, prospective students can be part of the experience too, helping them to visualize being there at their own graduation.
With regular video content, the viewer can only pause, rewind, and skip forward. With 360-degree interactive content, the user is firmly in the driving seat. This is one of the most technical videos to produce well, and HubSpot has a great article on how to make it work for you. With a little preparation, you can use this amazing tool to give fully immersive campus tours, or even show prospective students what their new campus dorm might feel like inside.
A study back in 2010 from Harvard concluded that “ Up to 90% of spend goes to advertising and retail promotions. Yet the single most powerful impetus to buy is often someone else’s advocacy” and if anything, the decade since has only confirmed this. Vlogging is advocacy incarnate, and it really is quite simple. Almost every institution has a student ambassador program, and we can be sure that each of those ambassadors has a smartphone. That’s really all that is needed.
Videos such as a day in the life of a law student at Cambridge University get thousands of views and are produced on a budget of almost zero. The videos can be posted on the institutional website or social media or, if the vlogger already has a sizable following, on their own channel. This apparent loss of control may make some institutions nervous, but the reality is that if a student wants to vlog about their experience independently, they can and will do so. Forward-thinking institutions like Liverpool University actually embrace this by advertising for student vloggers and suggesting topics that fit with aspects of the study experience, which they would like to highlight.
Your video is not just an aside that is left on your website or YouTube channel in the hopes that it will be watched and generate interest in your institution. Videos can and should be an integral part of your SEO strategy; not just to increase your reach and search rankings, but to bring in visitors in a way that enriches the experience. Perhaps you have an incredible 360-degree virtual campus tour video that is just waiting to wow visitors to your website, but only if they get there. By using video rich snippets as part of your SEO, users on google can immediately see that when they click through to your site, there is a video waiting for them instead of text. Look at how this makes the option stand out to browsers, even if you are lower in organic search ranking.
This is a big one. A huge question in the minds of prospective students is: what is it actually like to be in the learning environment at your institution? Filming lectures and tutorials for public consumption is a risky endeavor (not to mention fraught with GDPR restrictions), but recording bite-sized videos to explain useful or engaging concepts can be a window into the academic experience. Not only can this help current students at your institution and beyond but will also show up in searches by prospective students. Undergraduates in particular, who are sometimes apprehensive about the jump from high school to further education, can see a real teacher from your team, and get a feel for how they communicate. Teachers who can deliver content in ways which are conversational and enthusiastic will really help your audience connect.
Things go in circles, it seems, and silent film has made a comeback! We are not sure whether Facebook really intended for this to happen, but their autoplay function for videos in your news feed, has really changed things up. As you scroll down your feed, and the video starts to play, our attention is drawn to it. Around 80% of Facebook users will watch the video without clicking on it, which means-without sound. Facebook’s director of ads product marketing tells us that up to 40% of marketing videos on Facebook do not communicate well without sound. The platform has introduced an automatic captioning option, but if you really want to get that click, the video should work well on a purely visual level, right from the start.
As with every medium in marketing communication these days, there is a myth that video marketing is inaccessible without considerable expertise. However, techniques such as vlogging can be easy to set up, and make a huge difference to your reach and visibility, and at geNEOus (formerly NEO Academy), we are ready to help with any aspect of the process. We believe in supporting you to work your own way, so why not get in touch to discuss how video might work within your marketing strategy and how we can support your team to take it to the next level.