- General Best Practices
To successfully engage millennial parents, your brand has to adapt to the needs of these digital pioneers who are leading hyperconnected lives filled with internet research from their phones, a healthy skepticism about interacting with brands online, and who have the ability to recognize insincerity and misinformation quickly. In fact, 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising!
Millennial parents require a new approach to engagement that hinges on an enrollment-focused website, content that is user-focused and answers the questions they’re asking, and a social media strategy that drives prospective families to that website and content.
Millennials and Brand Loyalty
Millennials get a bad rap for not being brand loyal. However, consumer research shows that millennials are more brand loyal than any other generation. The key to engaging millennials is earning that loyalty early (with helpful content), and engaging often (with authentic content).
Focus on Your Online Appearance
Because we know millennials search the web quickly, and with skepticism, your school’s brand needs to meet their lofty expectations. Your school’s website, emails, content, and even traditional advertising should be created with the goal of standing out from the crowd.
Investing in high-quality photography, professional videography, custom web design, and even a potential re-brand, is essential if you want your school to even be considered by a millennial parent.
Fuel Your Brand With User-Generated Content
By definition, user-generated content is content that is planned and created by individuals who know and experience your product. By nature, this content is more authentic and believable, which explains why 84% of millennials say that user-generated content influences what they buy. Once they’ve done research and have seen that others give something a positive rating, millennials are comfortable and confident in their decisions to use their limited dollars to make a purchase.
FOR SCHOOLS, SOME EXAMPLES OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT INCLUDES:
- Photos and videos that are taken and provided by parents and teachers, which are shared via social media using a unique hashtag. Schools who rely on user-generated content on social media can use a social media moderation and aggregation tool like Finalsite Feeds to streamline user-generated content into a single location.
- Conducting a social media takeover. Teachers, parents, and even students can share their experiences on your school’s social media account — with some vetting done by your marketing team, of course.
- Blogs and news articles that are written by your community, instead of your marketing team. When parents can read about school community, culture, and events through the words of someone like them, it becomes more relatable. If you use a tool like Finalsite Posts, you can enable all members of your community to contribute content without giving them access to your entire website — and content will need to get approved by an admin before publishing.
Think your millennial parents don’t want to get involved? Think again. One study revealed that 42% of millennials want to co-create content with the brands they are loyal to.
Use Influencers, and Reward Them
With 89% of millennials trusting recommendations from friends and family more than claims by the brand, (source) and nearly half (44%) of millennials saying they’re willing to promote products or services through social media in exchange for rewards (source), it’s clear that this group is comfortable spreading the word about products or brands they care about.
By identifying your top “cheerleaders” and influencers and inviting them to be ambassadors for your brand, you can incentivize them to spread the word about their child’s great experience. For example, you could offer parents school swag in exchange for a review.
Embrace “Edutainment” Across All Mediums
“Edutainment” is the term used to describe content that is both educational and entertaining. Since millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts who happen to be strangers than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites, (source), your school should embrace the use of experts sharing educational entertainment on your site or social channels.
FOR ENGAGING MILLENNIAL PARENTS, TRY THESE IDEAS:
- Answer questions that the parents have in an educational and entertaining way. Rather than list FAQs on your Admissions page, record a simple video of your admissions team giving the answers and post on Facebook.
- Create a YouTube channel with faculty and students sharing their thoughts on your curriculum and activities.
- Write a few blog posts answering the admissions teams top 50 questions with keywords and Google-friendly SEO.
- Make Pinterest boards with helpful resources for back to school shopping, classroom supply lists, or summer reading suggestions
- Create a short, entertaining video on your iPhone with young students sharing their experiences at your school, upload to social media, and share with your community by pulling Finalsite Feeds into key site pages.
Cultivate Emotional Engagement
Here’s a statistic that shows millennials’ dedication to brands that reach them on an emotional level: 82% of consumers always buy from a brand they have high emotional engagement with, and 86% of these engaged consumers want brands to reciprocate their loyalty in two-way interactions. And, as a result, 81% are willing to give back to the brand (source).
How can your school benefit from all that brand loyalty? Consider the emotions that millennial parents feel throughout the year, and plan to produce content that appeals to those emotions. Then, appeal to those emotions in all mediums with quality photo and video that generates emotion on the website and in all content channels.
Investing in inbound marketing software that provides millennial parents with the right content at the right time ensures you are making the most of your efforts.
Would you like to learn more about how to leverage your brand for the kind of real engagement with millennials that increases enrollment and retention? Download our free eBook on engaging millennials below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hadley is Finalsite's Director of Communications and is a former independent school teacher, fundraiser and marketing director with a passion for cooking, travel, and spending time outdoors with her growing family. She founded the FinalsiteFM podcast network and enjoys meeting Finalsite clients from around the world.