Did you know that in January 2021, almost 80% of Australians were actively using social media?. Many RTOs underestimate the power of social media for reaching new prospects and connecting with students and alumni. If you post the right content that attracts the right audience, your social media presence could be a game-changer for generating new leads, prospects and customers.
For a learning institution, connecting with potential students and establishing a sense of trust and engagement is an important part in helping them on their vocational journey. As the way audiences consume content evolves, new marketing strategies are needed to better connect with prospects and customers. One effective way you can connect with your learners is through social media.
From getting more people to your website, to building brand awareness, to staying on top of competitors and reaching the students you want at your RTO, social media can be the key to taking your business success to the next level.
This article will give you the foundational knowledge you need to set up your RTO’s social pages and start posting.
We all know that people tend to search for information online before making a purchase decision. Think about the last time you were deciding which restaurant to go to, or which toaster to buy, and then where to buy that toaster from. Did a negative review put you off choosing that product or place? The way a company communicates with their audience, and the way their audience communicates about the company, is a major factor in the consumer decision-making process. Although the student journey is a bit more complicated than buying a toaster, the impact of an RTO’s social and online presence holds a lot of power. This is why RTOs should be ‘listening’ to these conversations related to their organisation, and VET in general. In fact, today’s prospective students often don’t physically visit a campus – they research training options online often months or even years prior to enrolling. RTOs can use social listening to refine their online brand presence to improve the online path to enrolment.
Target audience analysis
First, you need to define your target audience. Your target audience is the specific group of people you want to reach and attract through your social channels. Your target audience is likely to have an interest in the training you provide, and should have some common characteristics. These characteristics can help to refine the content you create. It’s good to do some research on your target audience before doing anything else, as this will become the foundation of your content strategy and online brand identity.
How do I find and refine my RTO’s target audience?
If you already have a following on social media with some interaction, that’s a good place to start when figuring out who is interested in your organisation. If you’re starting fresh with no following or a small following, there are some characteristics that are useful to consider. These include:
A Brisbane-based RTO provides hair and makeup training. This RTO could tailor their marketing towards:
If this RTO also delivered training online, they could expand their geographic focus to include all major capital cities in Australia, for example.
Your target audience analysis doesn’t have to be too detailed or strenuous to complete, but getting a good idea of who you’re trying to reach and interest is important for making the most of social media. You could even develop buyer personas for your RTO to take your targeting to the next level.
Similarly, analysing your competitors’ social media can be insightful, as you’ll be able to see what content is resonating, and what is falling flat with your target audience. You’ll also be able to see which platforms your competitors have chosen, and if they’re working or not. Using our earlier example, we could see what platforms the RTO’s audience is using by looking at other successful beauty training providers’ social media. It’s important to note that not all platforms work for everyone, so picking the right platform to put energy into for your business is key.
Before you create your social media accounts, make sure to brush up on ASQA’s marketing requirements. ASQA requires RTOs to include their RTO code on their social media pages and posts. Usually, RTOs find the easiest way to do this is including the RTO code in their social media handle, for example ‘VM Learning RTO Code 32200’. This will mean your code will always be in every post without having to think about it. You’ll also need to include the title and code of any specific references to a training product in social posts. Any training products advertised should result in a qualification or licensed outcome, and all information needs to be up-to-date, accurate and reliable.
Put simply, content marketing is educational, not promotional. For an organisation, this means sharing content that is useful and valuable, but isn’t about the product or service the organisation is selling. Educational content can also position your RTO as a credible thought leader in the industry. With consistent, reliable content marketing being posted on social media, an organisation can gain a loyal social audience.
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to create this type of content, try sharing other people’s posts. For example, a beauty influencer may have a popular video on five ways to wear blue eyeshadow. You could simply share this video with a caption, CTA (call to action, such as ‘learn more’) and a link to your website.
Take a look at this example, where we shared our client Mater Education's post on International Nurses Day:
And this example where we shared our work with Expression Australia:
Did you know 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends?. Aside from Google and Facebook reviews, reviews can also come in the form of positive comments on social media, or you could even create content surrounding student success stories. Using student success stories and case studies, you can showcase your training offering in a way that is attractive, relatable and resolves your audience’s pain points. If prospective students see lots of positive online sentiment about your RTO, they will become more likely to believe that your RTO is the best choice for them.
Creating a content calendar
A content calendar is a great way to plan out social content into an organised publishing schedule by date. Having a content calendar for your social media content means you can keep track of when you should be posting, what content needs to be created for future posting, and gives a good birds-eye-view of any campaigns you may be running. There are plenty of free tools you can use to create a content calendar. Asana is our favourite, but you could also try Notion, Monday.com, or HubSpot.
Using social media analytics
Every large social media platform should have some form of free analytical tool for business accounts, showing insights that could include number of likes, comments, reach, impressions and more. You can use these tools to see which posts are performing well and which aren’t.
When you’re writing captions and creating images (Canva is a great free tool for doing this), sticking to basic brand guidelines can make all the difference in how your social media looks aesthetically. Try to stick to your brand colours, such as the colours in your logo, and pay attention to grammar and spelling when writing captions. Write your captions in a style that will resonate with your audience. It’s also useful to use relevant hashtags in social posts, as this will help to get your posts out to more people. Using our earlier example again, some relevant hashtags could be #makeuptraining #hairandmakeup #makeupbrisbane #makeuptutorial. Pro tip: include both generic (#makeuptutorial) and specific (#makeupbrisbanesouthside) hashtags.
Scheduling posts in advance can save so much time, as your finished posts will go up automatically whenever you’ve set them to be posted. Facebook has its own free built-in scheduling tool, but for most other platforms you’ll need to use a tool like HubSpot or Hootsuite for scheduling.
There are so many other things you can do with social media to market your training business, but we hope this has given you a solid foundational level of how to use social media for your RTO.
Let us know on our social media if you have recently set up social media for your RTO – we’d love to see what you’ve been posting and sharing.
Want to know more about taking your RTO's success to the next level? Check out these articles:
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