Clearing is one of the most significant events in the higher education yearly calendar, creating one of the busiest times for universities. As UCAS stated that 100% of students use some form of social media, universities must prepare their social media strategy to meet the demand during Clearing.
By getting prepared in advance, you can provide your audience of potential future students with the best experience possible on social media, getting them engaged with your organisation before even getting to enrolment.
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Getting Ready Ahead of Time
For many higher education organisations, Clearing kicks off around 6th July. To ensure that Clearing goes as smoothly as possible and engages as many potential students as possible, you must prepare your social media processes in the weeks leading up to it.
Assign Roles & Responsibilities
On the day Clearing begins, social media channels will be flooded with incoming messages and questions. To deal with this spike in inbound content, decide ahead of time who will be doing what.
At this point, it’s a good idea to bring in members of other teams, such as from Finance, Accommodation and Admissions to answer specific queries. This will cut down the time taken going back and forth between teams, so your audience gets timely answers, helping them along the road to securing a place at your institution.
Plan & Schedule Campaign Content
During the day of Clearing, it will be all hands on deck to answer questions and signpost potential students to relevant places. There will be no time to think of and post promotional content around Clearing itself. It’s a good idea to plan the messages for the week leading up to Clearing, and then on the day itself.
Once you’ve got a clear plan in advance, you can work on putting together the posts and scheduling the content to go out at the right times, so when it comes to the big day, you and your team can focus on serving your audience and filling those Clearing spaces.
Upskill Team Members
In the days leading up to it and Clearing itself, the social media supply-and-demand scale will be tipped out of balance. Upskilling extra colleagues to join the social media team can be the answer to meeting the demand in inbound enquiries.
By upskilling existing colleagues that are already familiar with your university, you’ll also bring in additional expertise from team members that are already familiar with the university and can add extra value to your audience of potential students.
When Clearing is Less of a Priority
For some universities, Clearing is a huge opportunity to recruit students and fill courses ready for the year ahead. For others, there are less clearing spaces available, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be focusing on social media!
Even if you don’t have many clearing spaces to offer, you could still be taking the opportunity to engage with your future students by congratulating them on their exam results and sharing your excitement at having them join you in the coming academic year.
You’ll also inevitably see an increase in inbound messages from students that are unsure about what their exam results mean for their existing offers, or what the next steps are now they have met the conditions of their offer. In these situations, it’s still a great idea to have extra team members on-hand to deal with this increase in social media activity.
Whether your university has a significant focus on Clearing or not, social media will be buzzing with activity in the coming weeks. Preparing in advance is the key to maintaining a professional and helpful presence for your potential future students.