2020 was a tough year for higher education. The Covid pandemic cast widespread uncertainty across the sector, forcing institutions to revisit how they attract (and satisfy) prospective students.
This, of course, impacted the role and responsibilities of student ambassadors.
While your team of ambassadors once invested a lot of their time into open days, tours and fairs, they've now had to ditch any in-person duties.
But what does this mean for their role going forward?
The future of the student ambassador role
Much like any other industry, higher education bodies have had to adapt to remote-first methods.
Fortunately, they've been fast to make this shift, making use of online channels for both teaching and student marketing, admissions and recruitment. This includes developing the student ambassador 'online' role.
Going forward, institutions like yours now have the opportunity to build upon these foundations and make your online channels, content and communications a resounding success.
Let's take a look at the sort of job roles your student ambassadors could adopt now and in the future.
1. Online, peer-to-peer communications
Student ambassadors provide something your marketing teams and prospectuses can't: the true, authentic, lived university experience.
We're not just talking about course details, here, but the finer nuances, such as where the best place to get lunch on campus is, or at what time the library is quietest.
The great thing is, your ambassadors not only have the information prospects are looking for - they have the desire to strike up conversations with them. In fact, 37 percent of ambassadors told us having direct conversations with prospective students was the best part of their job.
Providing your student ambassadors with a safe, online messaging platform will allow them to speak one-to-one with prospective students (or their parents). This, of course, means that any potential candidates needn't only rely on one-off open days or school fairs - they can find out important information about their chosen universities whenever they'd like.
2. Ambassador-generated content
Content marketing isn't just a good way to share individual university insights, it's great for website traffic and lead generation, too.
So, why not inspire your student ambassadors to create videos, images and written content that can engage prospective students and do wonders for your marketing teams?
Certain prompts you may want to include are:
- 'A day in the life of [student]'
- 'My job role as a student ambassador'
- 'X unique things about our campus'
- 'Frequently asked questions'
Our customer, NCUK, prioritized sharing student faces and student-led content in 2020. By utilizing an Experience Communication Management platform and repurposing their content, they increased their ambassador content by 121 percent from March to May. This resulted in a staggering 460 percent increase in FAQ views.
3. Social media campaigns
Go where your prospective students are.
Social media takeovers are a great way to engage prospective students, hold 'AMA' sessions, showcase ambassador-generated content, or even perform live university tours. They're also brilliant at inspiring creativity in your ambassador teams and increasing your followers.
Choose your platforms wisely. Twitter might be perfect for answering short, snappy questions, whereas Instagram may act as a great way to repurpose your ambassador-generated content.
For example, our partners, INTO UAB, often share ambassador profiles on their Instagram page. As a call to action, prospects can then follow a link to chat with the student in question.
Give your ambassadors the right foundations
2020 reinvented the ambassador playbook for good.
While the higher education industry won't be solely online forever, it's clear that digital, ambassador-generated content, FAQs and peer-to-peer communications are here to stay.
If you're interested in kickstarting your ambassadors' online journey, we'd strongly recommend adopting an Experience Communication Management (XCM) platform, such as The Ambassador Platform.
These platforms act as a highly secure, dedicated place for your ambassadors to share valuable insights, write content and FAQs, and engage in peer-to-peer and group chats with prospective students.
Interested? Get the ball rolling and book a demo today.