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6 Social Media Trends for Post-Secondary Recruiting

Whether it’s businesses, corporations, individuals, celebrities, or educational institutions, everyone knows the best place to connect with ideal prospects is on social media today. That’s why over $51.3 billion USD was spent on social media advertising during 2018, paying testament to how powerful micro-targeting abilities can be when promoting a product, service, or opportunity.

Naturally, colleges and post-secondary institutions are using social media to their advantage today. Instead of waiting for the top of the top to enroll at their institution, they’re going on the offensive with advertisements that will lure in the exact kind of student they want in their classes. And, with the demographic targeting tools inside social media platforms, these schools are certainly emerging successful.

So, what exactly do these social media advertising trends look like in practice for effective recruitment? How can you leverage these ideas to witness a similar feat? Let’s look at the top 6 social media advertising trends for colleges and universities today:

1. Create a Campaign That Accents the Physical Attributes of Your School:

Tons of schools today will post gorgeous sunset pictures, snow shots, trees in the fall, etc. to show students how aesthetically beautiful the campus can be. Vancouver Island University (VIU) is great at this, showcasing how their college is accommodating for the outdoorsy people that often grace Vancouver for hiking and skiing. Since the school is into outdoor activities and sports, this kind of social media imagery is a great way to attract a student that also loves Mother Nature.

Career Colleges, on the other hand, do well to indicate the convenience of location, since most students will not be immersed in the campus life and living in student housing.

2. Start a Special Hashtag:

Almost every single prospective student is already on social media today. Why don’t you offer them the opportunity to be featured on your social account’s pages if they use your school’s hashtag? A bunch of schools will repost student-generated content around graduation and other big events to showcase the kind of student presently attending the institution, as well as the alumni.

You can even contact the students to ask if you can use their pictures in your upcoming advertisements. It’s free photography for you, and chances are, the millennial and Gen Z students are probably better at taking pictures.


Every college today has some kind of social media group whereby students can interact, ask questions, etc. Be sure to also create one for alumni, different sports, different departments, and different clubs. You’ll get your students more engaged and help them develop their bond to the school. You can then use the information in these groups to run social media advertising campaigns that play up the community bonding and connection that occurs at your institution.


Students want to know what the quality of life is like at your college. It’s one of the most important things they consider before they sign off on attending. Schedule a weekly live session on different parts of campus whereby you provide video evidence of what it’s really like to live on campus. Have fun with it and interview other students on the go, asking them questions to answer in real-time.


Influencer marketing is huge today, and that doesn’t mean it stops with your college. If you have students on campus that know how to command a social following, consider collaborating with them as they act like some kind of virtual tour guide for your campus and classes. You can agree to some kind of housing cut in costs in exchange for X amount of posts.

Use this offer as an advertisement for your college. You will catch the attention of some of the most social savvy people in the game today. Even local community colleges and trade schools often partner with community innovators such as small businesses.


TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2019. It’s a video cutting and editing social media app that has expanded upon the popularity of Twitter’s Vine. If you want to connect with 16-18-year-olds, TikTok is where you are going to do it. Although advertising is still in its ascent stage with the app, simply cut some video of different activities and views around campus, editing it all together with a great song and one student as the guide.

You will not only look cooler to prospective students, but you will also enjoy the far-reaching TikTok algorithm that won’t even cost you a lot in the end.

The Three Es

At Storylift, we have many effective approaches to launching compelling recruitment and enrollment campaigns. Sometimes, I like to think of things in terms of the 3 Es: Engagement, Encouragement, and Education. Obviously, every recruiting campaign is different, but consider these three aspects:

  • Engagement – Connecting with the right people starts with powerful targeting and audience creation to increase your chances of success. For career colleges and trade schools, this greatly increases the probability of prospects responding positively and actively to the idea of going back to school and changing careers.

  • Encouragement – When creating content, think of the positive nudge and encouragement that makes people want to go back to school and make a career and life change.

  • Education – Once you’ve got people’s attention and encouraged them to act, now it’s time to provide a little more information about what they’re getting into and the importance of education as an endeavor and commitment.

Even if your school has its preferred social media and other classic forms of recruiting and enrollment, it’s always good to explore new methods and techniques. As technology changes so should your practices and objectives. If you’re looking for a results-driven candidate recruiting solution, let’s connect.