The images conjured when one thinks of marketing online and when one thinks of education are usually widely divergent. Online marketing evokes thoughts of Google searches, SEO articles, and number crunching; whereas education calls up pictures of lecture halls, bespectacled professors, and late night study sessions. However, the two have come together in a productive and rewarding balance as more and more institutions of higher education turn to the Internet in order to pursue marketing online.
Online marketing is certainly nothing new in cyberspace, nor is it particularly new in the world of education. However, continuing changes in technology mean that it is constantly being reinvented and reincorporated into overall development plans. Add to that the fact that the world of education has unique and specific marketing demands, and it is easy to see why the relationship between education and marketing online is a rapidly growing partnership.
One of the areas in which this rapid development can be seen most clearly is with social networking. Education professionals have realized that social networking is key to their online marketing success. However, many in education have lagged in incorporating themselves and their institutions into the networking world. Marketing teams, however, have been quick to move colleges and universities into the online social world as it is the single most effective way of reaching the online demographic that institutions of higher education seek to contact.
For example, Facebook has become the largest social network in the world, and it plays an essential role in the lives of students going on to higher education. Consequently, it is indispensable to any online marketing campaign. However, Facebook is not the only online venue for marketing. A quality marketing team will also connect higher education institutions with Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Tumblr, and a whole host of other networking and social sites.
Successful online marketing also requires a personal touch. Those in education have quickly learned that simply having a Facebook page or a Twitter account is not enough. Effective marketing requires that contact be made with those interacting through these networks, even if that contact is online. Posting on a prospective student’s Facebook page or sending a Tweet to someone who has made an inquiry are ways of connecting in the online environment. Sending an email with a YouTube video of an on-campus event will help a potential student feel a part of student life. Today’s potential college students are not any different from those of previous generations in that they want to know that someone cares about them and will be there for them as they pursue their education. The media for that contact may have changed over the years, but it is contact that must be made if a school’s online marketing is to produce results.