Jason Boucher

Short-Form Video & #HigherEd Social Media Marketing


It’s been the case for a while–there are many reasons to use short-form video, but one of my favorites? It helps your institution or business stand out from the competition. Create your own quirky, original identity on Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Tik Tok. Create a series, interview students and professors, or show off your human side as well as your academic side.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, where the human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish, connecting with your audience is a challenge that requires inventive and modern solutions. Picture this: An average student scrolling through their social media feed, glancing over countless posts and updates. In such a fast-paced environment, how can you capture their attention and deliver a message effectively? The answer lies in short-form videos. Platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok have redefined content consumption by offering engaging, bite-sized videos that are quick to digest and impossible to ignore. Short-form videos, typically ranging from 15 to 60 seconds, are optimized to seize attention within the first few seconds. With the right hook, you can pique curiosity and ensure your message is preserved in the world of digital noise. You’re trying to grab their attention as soon as possible. Videos also have a unique power to convey emotions, stories, and messages in a visually addictive manner. Through well-crafted visuals and short concise narratives, you can tell the institution’s story and values in an impactful way. Visual storytelling may be the most powerful form of social media. The prevalence of mobile devices means your audience carries one in their pockets at all times. Short-form videos are tailor-made for mobile consumption, enabling you to reach students wherever they are — they’re always accessible.

Photo by Amanda Vick

Crafting effective social media campaigns involves a mix of strategy, creativity, and data-driven decision-making. Here’s how your marketing and communications staff can make it happen:

• Define Clear Goals: Begin with a well-defined goal – whether it’s boosting admissions, promoting an event, or showcasing campus life. The clarity in objectives guides the entire campaign.

• Know Your Audience: Understand the interests, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience. This insight helps in tailoring content that resonates with them.

• Storytelling: Craft a compelling narrative around your campaign. Use the power of storytelling to evoke emotions and establish a connection with the audience.

• Content Creation: Create short-form videos that align with the campaign’s theme and messaging. These videos should be engaging, informative, and shareable.

• Engagement & Interaction: Encourage audience engagement through polls, challenges, and CTA (calls to action). Interact with comments, respond to queries, and foster a sense of community. It’s a college campus, so this should be attainable.

• Consistency & Timing: Consistency is key to maintaining a strong online presence. Plan a posting schedule and consider peak engagement times to maximize reach. Create a content calendar.

• Data Analysis: Monitor the campaign’s performance using analytics. Understand what’s working and what’s not, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Digital communications have shaped perceptions and influenced many decisions. By embracing this, you can bridge the gap between your institution and its audience, ultimately fostering a deeper connection and redefining how you engage with the future generation of students, thinkers, and change-makers. Let’s embark on this journey together and explore the endless possibilities that social media marketing in higher education offers. Your stories deserve to be heard, and through the lens of short-form video, we have the tools to make them resonate like never before. Short-form videos and well-crafted campaigns are the keys to unlocking the potential of your marketing efforts.

Need more info? Look at OHO Interactive for tips, tricks, and more. There is also a Facebook Group for university video producers.