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Leveraging LinkedIn for Universities

Did you know that LinkedIn has a page dedicated to resources for Higher Education? You do now! As a university, you should be utilizing LinkedIn to engage prospects, current students, staff, and alumni. From the LinkedIn for Higher Education page itself, here are the ways you can utilize LinkedIn for your community.  

  • Gain a competitive advantage: leverage deeper insights to target prospective students who are more engaged and likely to enroll 
  • Target audiences that matter: accurately target your campaigns by demographic, interest, or persona 
  • Optimize each step of your marketing funnel: take advance of a mix of organic and paid advertising opportunities to capture mindshare and drive higher enrollment 
  • Measure impact: LinkedIn gives clear visibility into the impact of your programs at every stage of the campaign  

Not to mention, LinkedIn can be a great resource to connect with alumni and donors. Consider this your guide to using LinkedIn for your university, whether you are just starting out or are currently managing one.  

Setting up on Linkedin

If you are just getting starting, the first step is to set up your LinkedIn page as an educational institution. To start your page, you will need to include the following information:  

  • University Name 
  • Permalink: Educational LinkedIn pages begin with “linkedin.com/school/” and you will need to decide what follows. For example, uci-public-health for the University of California, Irvine’s Public Health page 
  • Website  
  • Industry 
  • School Employee Count 
  • Logo 
  • Tagline: This is one sentence about your school, such as your mission statement  

LinkedIn Best Practices

Now that you have set up your page, here are the best LinkedIn practices to pave your way to success.  

  • Manage: Make sure you have someone dedicated to posting and checking content on your LinkedIn page. Consider 1-2 representatives from different departments.  
  • Follow your university brand guidelines: Make sure your LinkedIn page reflects the same look, voice, and tone as your university.  
  • Post Daily: This will help you establish a trusted voice and keep your page up to date.  
  • Network: After all, LinkedIn is the largest networking platform out there. Utilize connections with your stakeholders to highlight information such as staff achievements, alumni spotlights, and donor and corporate partnership information. You can find your university’s mentions under the Activity tab.  
  • Plan: Fill your content calendar with a variety of content to help you engage prospective students, donors, and alumni  

LinkedIn Objectives

What do you want to achieve out of your LinkedIn strategy? Whether it be increasing brand awareness, generating leads, promoting events, or evoking thought leadership, your objectives should be clearly outlined before you begin your content calendar.  

Brand Awareness 

If your objective is brand awareness, you should be building relationships with prospective students, current students, alumni, and donors. Actively engage with the community by replying to comments or resharing LinkedIn posts. It can be as simple as reposting an announcement from an incoming student with a “Congrats on your acceptance, we here at the University of Southern California can’t wait to see you on campus!”  

Thought Leadership 

When recruiting prospective students or engaging with donors, you want to show that you are an expert in the field. How can your university stand out amongst the thousands of universities out there? Share perspectives on different education trends, and share articles that showcase your university and its achievements.  

Event Registration 

LinkedIn is a great platform to market your upcoming webinars and events. Have students, alumni, faculty, and staff share your event and promote it if they are attending.  

Lead Generation 

By featuring a mix of content from case studies, faculty research, staff accomplishments, and student features, you provide insight to both your prospective students and donor leads about who you are as a university.  

LinkedIn Groups

Along with your LinkedIn page, you can also create a LinkedIn group for more specific members of your audience. For example, Chapman University has a group dedicated to their School of Communication and UCI has a group dedicated to their alumni in the pharmacy field.   

You can use these groups as a forum for discussion, such as asking alumni what events they would like to see in the upcoming future. You can also use it to evoke conversation in your community to connect with new stakeholders and build those relationships. Staff and Faculty can join the groups as a trusted source of information that students and alumni can rely on. This is also a great way to monitor communication between your students to see what they are currently focused on. Utilize groups to really build connections with your audience and to be a resource for them.  

LinkedIn Content

As a university, what should you be sharing on LinkedIn? LinkedIn content will most likely differ from the content on your other platforms. Here are some ideas of content that aligns well with the platform:  

  • University News 
  • Videos 
  • Blog Content 
  • Program & Course Information 
  • Student & Alumni Success Stories 
  • Faculty & Staff News 
  • Faculty Research 
  • Grants and Gifts to the University  
  • Webinars  
  • Visuals & Statistics 

Paid LinkedIn Content

Sponsored Content 

Sponsored Content ads appear in the newsfeed and are similar to ads you find on Facebook and Instagram. Each ad contains an image or video, headline, URL, and text. They can be used to share existing posts or for targeted campaigns.   

Text Ads 

Text Ads appear on the right-hand side of the LinkedIn homepage. They include a headline along with a short description. Keep in mind that LinkedIn text ads only appear on desktop, and 50% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile users. Share infographics, blog campaigns, event invitations, or program one-sheeters.  

LinkedIn Video Ads 

Chances are, you already have an array of videos that would fit well on LinkedIn. With Linkedin video ads, you can drive traffic to your website or add a call-to-action button. If you’re not sure what videos would align well with the platform, here are some ideas:  

  • Student success stories: Share a video of a student’s journey at your university, why they applied, why they chose your university, what they love about it 
  • Alumni success stories: Students love to see successful alumni too. Alumni can share a favorite memory from their time at your university, a favorite spot on campus, how your university prepared them for the workforce, or even highlighting a favorite professor 
  • Showcasing your campus: Take a video to showcase your beautiful campus! Highlight study spots, nearby restaurants, university housing, and more.  
  • Mission Statement: Feature an inside look into your university’s mission and vision. Bonus points if the video features your Dean!  

LinkedIn Carousel Ads 

LinkedIn Carousel ads allow you to tell a complete story. They feature a single ad with swipe-able images to showcase multiple topics. Grab the attention of your audience with eye-catching visuals. You can use carousel ads to showcase information about your school to direct traffic towards your website.  

LinkedIn Message Ads 

If you want to send personalized messages to your audience, LinkedIn message ads are the way to go. Share enrollment deadlines, course launches, program information, webinar recordings, or event information. This can drive conversations with your audience while promoting enrollment and event registration.  

LinkedIn Lead Generation Forms 

If you are running a LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ad or a Message Ad, you might want to consider adding a lead generation form. LinkedIn lead gen forms pre-fill profile data, allowing your audience to send their information along quickly and easily. You can track your campaigns, lead form fill rate, and the number of leads generated. It’s as simple as adding a call-to-action button at the end of your ad. For example, a link to sign up for your upcoming webinar. Once they submit their information, you will be able to see their name, contact information, company name, job title, and location. This comes in handy for reaching out to prospective students, alumni, or donors.  

Now that you’ve learned how to set up your LinkedIn University page, set your goals, and planned your paid and organic content, let’s do a deeper dive into which audiences you can reach with LinkedIn.  

LinkedIn for Students

You can use LinkedIn to engage with your current students and to recruit prospective students.   

Pretend I am a prospective student who is considering going to Arizona State University. This is a life-changing decision for me, so I’m going to do all the possible research on every social media platform. Their profile is complete with their logo, a cover image, and a brief bio of the school. I can easily access their webpage and a phone number if I need to reach out. They use their LinkedIn page to highlight student programs, fun student content, and “fan photos of the week.” Their page is geared towards promoting school spirit and campus activities. This helps to give students an idea of what life would be like at your university. 

Now let’s say I am a student at the University of California, Irvine. Their recent posts feature school news, faculty articles, student highlights, and alumni highlights. Students love to know what is currently going on at their school, and UCI does a great job of showcasing all different kinds of accomplishments.  

The great thing about LinkedIn is that it allows you to target specific audiences. You can target based on location, age, experience, and education. Say you are promoting your MBA program and you would like to reach experienced professionals, you can target members by their seniority level.  

LinkedIn for Alumni

Alumni on LinkedIn are most likely looking for the following things:

  • To stay connected with the university 
  • University Updates and News 
  • Job Opportunities  

Your alumni are a valuable resource. You don’t want to forget about them the moment they graduate. Use the Alumni Tool on LinkedIn to stay connected with alumni and see their career paths. You can search through alumni by title, keyword, or company, and you can see a clear overview of location and job demographics. Highlight all the work your amazing alumni are doing! For example, alumni spotlights make for great LinkedIn content. Reach out to alumni and ask them a few questions such as their favorite professor or class, their favorite university memory, or how your university prepared them for the real world. Now you’ve developed a new relationship that you can continue to nurture over the years. 

LinkedIn for Faculty

Your staff and faculty are another resource for your LinkedIn page. Utilize the employee notifications feature to keep your faculty informed and engaged. This feature alerts them whenever your organization posts important content. Encourage faculty to share your content to reach a wider audience. In return, re-share your faculty’s articles, research, and achievements. 

Case Studies

If you are looking for examples on higher education success stories, check out these four examples from LinkedIn.  

Pepperdine Business School: Driving powerful results with InMail and Lead Gen Forms 

William & Mary Mason School of Business: Reimagines Demand Strategy 

London Business School: Multiple Ad formats to give the school greater control of a high-value pipeline 

Full Sail University: Highlights a graduate who transitioned from his university to a full-time position   

By now, you’ve learned how to create a marketing strategy on LinkedIn. If your university is looking to set up your LinkedIn page or craft a content calendar, reach out to our team today! 

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