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December 16

How Schools Are Succeeding with One-to-One Video and TikTok


Engage with more prospective students by meeting them on the channels they prefer! Enrollify’s Zach Busekrus shows you how to use one-to-one video to reach Gen Z in this post.

It’s not a difficult concept.

Yet time and time again I see higher ed brands ignoring this simple principle that we all know in the enrollment profession.

To engage with more prospective students, you’ve got to communicate with them on the channels they prefer.

If we all know this to be true, why do we find it hard to do just that?

Because what Gen Z – and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha – like to use as their primary medium of news, community, and entertainment is probably not what you and I prefer.

If there was any kind of magic trick to enrollment marketing, it would be the ability to think like your target audience.

But even if you don’t have this magical ability, there are some talented people out there to help us think like our audience and engage with them where they are at.

In this episode of The Higher Ed Marketer podcast, we sit down with Zach Busekrus, Founder & Brand Strategist at Enrollify, to discuss how schools are effectively wielding one-to-one video strategies to personalize communication and reach a wider swath of potential students.

Gen Z loves one-to-one video communication.

Enrollify's Zach Busekrus shows us how to use one-to-one video communication and TikTok to reach Gen Z prospective students. In fact, the schools that have adopted one-to-one video communications are seeing up to 10 times more engagement from that channel than from their email campaigns.

Why are schools seeing such a high response from their one-to-one video strategies?

Zach feels it’s because using the medium sends Gen Z prospective students a positive message from your education brand.

I feel like the schools that are adopting these one-to-one video strategies, while still relatively early, are showing Gen Z “Hey, we hear you! We see you. We know you don’t want to read a 500-word email from us. We know you don’t love spending your weekends reading a 2,000-word blog article from us, even if it is a student’s story. 

You like video. You like short, sweet, to-the-point engaging content that is entertaining, inspirational content that is educational.”  

That kind of messaging makes your brand stand out as a brand that gets them, that respects their preferences.

But higher engagement with one-to-one video may go well beyond good feelings.

This might actually be one of the silver linings of the COVID pandemic.

Video as a medium has come a long way. I think COVID is actually to thank for this. People are more comfortable being on camera because of all the Zoom videos that we’ve all had to do. [Now] it’s easier to get admissions counselors and folks within your enrollment management operation to adopt things like recording a quick little video to thank a student for coming to an event or recording a quick little post inquiry video that they then blast to [a prospective student] after he submitted an inquiry form. 

The schools that are adopting these strategies right now and getting comfortable with quick, scrappy video production are the schools that are going to see wonderful engagement especially in the post-app part of the funnel, but also in post inquiry.

TikTok Might Be the Best Opportunity for One-to-One Video

Zach talked to us about the current TikTok phenomenon during our interview.

What really stood out to me was the massive gap between the percentage of Gen Z prospective students that are on TikTok and the percentage of higher ed brands using TikTok.

Zach explains why he thinks that gap is so great right now.

90 percent or more of Gen Z is on TikTok while less than 9 percent of higher education institutions are [using TikTok as a communication channel]. Talk about a significant chasm there! 

If you’re a college or university and you outsource a lot of your content creation to a [digital marketing] vendor, you’re used to that vendor helping write blog content or create video content on your behalf. It’s easier to do that when you run a Facebook campaign or an Instagram campaign. But the thing about TikTok is that it’s so personal. It really does require a representative from the college or university to create the content. 

TikTok is very hard to outsource.

Build Your Own TikTok Creative Agency

If you agree with Zach about the opportunity of using TikTok to reach prospective students but you’re worried about not having the time or resources to do it, he offers a compelling solution.

Where we’re seeing really interesting success is when schools find a way to essentially build like an in-house, TikTok creative agency. 

What that looks like is finding students you can pay (and you really should find a way to pay them) that are already active on TikTok and are good content creators and invite them to help pilot your university’s TikTok account. Work with them like you would your [digital marketing] partner or your in-house marketing team. 

But give them autonomy. They understand the platform natively in ways that I don’t even understand the platform – let alone someone who’s a VP or college president. 

[You can] coach folks or give them some idea around what the content strategy is. You could give some support in that way. 

But at the end of the day, the content creators themselves really do need to be the students at your college or university. This is not a content type you can or should easily outsource. 

And I would even argue that many of your admissions counselors and folks in your marketing team might also not be the most qualified people to be creating TikToks.

Personally, I think Zach’s solution is right for most private colleges and universities.

If you need any help launching or coaching your in-house TikTok creative team, get ahold of us. We’d be happy to help!

Discover more when you listen to the podcast!

Like all of our blog post reviews of The Higher Ed Marketer podcasts, there’s so much more to learn in the podcasts themselves.

Listen to our interview with Zach Busekrus to get even more insights into:

  • How one-to-one video is being utilized
  • How schools should approach using TikTok
  • Tactics for effectively leveraging SEO
  • Other tools you should be using

Looking for Enrollment Marketing Content that Works?

You’re in luck! We’ve curated 25 awesome ideas inspired by top higher ed institutions across the country and put them in one handy guide: 25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content.

25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content In this popular resource from Caylor Solutions, you’ll get…

    • 25 enrollment marketing content ideas you might never have considered before
    • Guidance on how to use each one for best results
    • Brief discussion on why they work to help you sell these ideas to your team

Get inspired.
Get enrollment results.
Get 25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content.
Download your copy today!

Featured image by Denys Prykhodov via Adobe Stock

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