How Facebook’s Advanced Targeting Will Impact Higher Ed

Facebook recently offered select page administrators a new feature that will allow them to target audiences with more specific parameters. The new feature, “Page Post Targeting Enhanced” will allow admins to select their target audience through filters which include: age, gender, education, college name, graduation status, major, work place and high school. These new filters will be in addition to the previous geographic location and language filters.

With 100% of colleges and universities using social media sites to reach out to prospective and current students, this new feature could enhance their interactions. Higher education institutions will be able to seek out their target audience much easier with the enhanced filters.  They can create different posts for different groups: prospective students, current students, transfer applicants, and alumni.

The new feature can help college admissions officers reach out to prospective students. Higher education institutions are using social media sites to engage with prospective students. Some institutions offer virtual campus tours, and others have forums for prospective students to connect with current students. High school students can be alerted to open house events and college fair information. This information pertains to these prospective students but not the entire campus community, so the targeted advertising can prevent the institutions from spamming others in the community.

They can appeal to current students by allowing more communication between the administration and students. These institutions could use Facebook to communicate to students about campus events, holiday breaks, school closings, etc. The new feature will also allow posts to be targeted to students by their majors. For example, if there is a speaker coming to talk to business students, the university could send a message to all business majors about the event.

The “in college” filter can also be used to contact students who may be interested in transferring. Many students enter college not knowing what they want to study. After choosing their major, they may realize that another institution has a course offering that is more tailored to what they wish to study. This feature could also help advertise to students who are looking for a study abroad program or who are looking to enroll in summer classes. Many college students take summer courses, and this feature could allow universities to target students who attend other college and invite them to take summer classes at their institution.

Alumni and development offices will also benefit from this new feature. They will be able to facilitate communication with alumni who may have migrated throughout the country. Audiences could be segmented by graduation year and major to deliver more targeted messages. This could also benefit current students. If the career services offices are able to communicate with alumni with ease they could help students network with alumni to find internships or other career advancement opportunities.

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Check out Fathom’s 30-pg. Ultimate Guide to Marketing an Educational Institution with Social Media. It’s full of insightful interviews and illustrative case studies on using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for marketing a school.

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