More than ever before, the current generation of students expects an E-Experience when checking out your campus. What exactly does that mean? Well, they are looking for more than a static website full of information. They expect an experience that engages and communicates what is important to them. While some campuses have come up with ways to effectively show off their site and community, few have been successful in boosting true engagement.
Here are five ways that your campus can make real connections with prospective students using 360-degree video that will drive requests for in-person tours and enrollment.
Campus tours have been around for some time; well, since real estate agents started using matterport to create walking tours of properties. Today’s campus tours are much more sophisticated than the tours that simply take you from room to room when you are house hunting. These tours are interactive and include engagement elements that help you tailor the right message to define the customer journey on campus. An important key to a successful tour is to keep it brief. Ideally, you want to limit the tour stops to ten or less and really focus on the content messaging that will get the viewer to click on the option to schedule an in-person visit or some other type of follow up. These tours can also include exciting tracking capabilities to show exactly how viewers engaged with the interactive elements.
Schools who use campus tours have boasted a significant increase in both campus visits and out-of-state and international enrollments. The most effective tours will promote your campus community, specific majors or programs, and use elements to support your diversity goals.
Another way to connect virtually is to host an open house. While similar to a campus tour, the goal is to get more details about campus life from actual people on campus. In your 360-degree environment, layer in videos of students and faculty with options to connect over social media or via email/zoom for individual questions and a one-to-one conversation. Also, layer in elements that communicate your values and organization’s mission. Students want to know that their values align with the school they will be attending. The really cool thing about this option is that viewers can attend your virtual event at their leisure instead of being limited to a specific day and time. It’s easy and works perfectly for everyone’s schedule!
Connect with Students
With everyone engaging online through social media, this is the most underrepresented option in the virtual space. Create a virtual environment that is welcoming and inviting. Let prospective students interact with video content of existing students and connect via social media or email. This is a great way to utilize your “influencers” and to promote checking them out on the Connect with Students tour. Be sure to provide some general school information and include your CTA for in-person visits and follow up calls.
According to the RNL Trend report, nearly 40 percent of all college students are transfers, so you’ll want to make sure you are setting up some of your content to address this market’s needs. And the most important information and content these students are looking for is academic programs. Make this information engaging by interviewing department heads and having students share testimonials regarding their program experience. Layer in videos of faculty presenting information about themselves and their goals for students. You might also include interactions that highlight topics such as study abroad programs or unique degree offerings.
The most requested stop locations on most tours are the housing options. While many school tours focus only on freshman housing, it’s important to make sure you include detailed information for transfers who will be interested in other housing options. And don’t show just one image of the room - details matter to those who are living on campus. Spend time showing rooms, restrooms, and community spaces. A flat picture in a brochure just can’t compare to what you see in a 360-degree image with furniture placement options. Also, first-time resident students will want interactions explaining what you can and cannot have in your dorm room.
The really great thing about these options is that it doesn’t take a long time to pull them together. Plus, many elements may be interchangeable and work in multiple experiences. For example, assets you use for a campus tour may also work well in a housing or program offering experience. Working collaboratively with faculty and the right vendor to create the 360-degree videos, you can affordably have one or all of these experiences on your site and on social media ready to engage with those prospective students within weeks.
We can help you get started. Contact us for a free website assessment to determine where you have opportunities to boost engagement.
About FUEL it
We drive results with strategies and performance solutions. We help power the transformation that drives your organization's growth and success by aligning your goals, processes, and activities to a framework that generates results. If you want to learn how to introduce VR and engagement in your organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-383-5488.