How to maximize influencer marketing for your language school

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The use of social media influencers has become more common in international education as educators realise the potential for online engagement to be given a big boost by connecting with thousands of influencer followers via social media.

Why has this form of marketing become more common? Simply put, because it actually works. Influencer marketing is simply a modern form of word-of-mouth marketing.

Influencer marketing is a strategy that makes use of key content creators to drive authentic conversations and engagement around your brand, your location and the courses and student experience you offer.

Influencer marketing taps into the ability for you to engage with potential students and show your total school experience (location, facilities, courses and social programme) through the eyes of someone they trust. The influencer will feed their aspirations for English language study abroad.

Why should you consider influencer marketing for your language school?

Advertising

International education has a limited shop window and often a delayed result from efforts in terms of investment returns.

Influencers take you directly to potential student social media accounts and can create quick wins depending on your goals.

Trust

It was reported recently that 63% of customers aged between 18 and 34 trusted influencers more than traditional brand advertising.

If an influencer supports a brand, then the thousands of followers are very likely to at least consider what the brand has to offer. In many cases, only a small percentage is required to cover the investment in an influencer campaign.

Create Great Content

Influencers connect with people for a living and know what kind of content excites and engages with their fans. As a result, instead of agonising over the content choices for your own sponsored post campaigns, let an influencer (or an intermediary) handle the content side.

You’ll get better content and more engagement. An influencer campaign including content creation is ideal to have the event adequately publicised and to get the best ROI.

Reach and Engagement

Influencers are motivated to get results for your brand. It is mutually beneficial for the campaign to be a success as influencers visiting new cities and having new experiences will add to their already considerable audience.

What they do provide is the chance to engage with potential students who may otherwise have been out of reach. Engaging with these many followers would take investment and time to reach similar numbers.

ROI

Influencer marketing is not just a passing ‘fad’. Proving the ROI for marketers can be a challenge but understanding the goals and completing a successful campaign can bring returns as much as 6-fold.

Any campaign can be clearly tracked for leads and bookings, so the ROI is clearly demonstratable.

Get Involved

Some of your competitors are already investing in influencer marketing in varying degrees so get involved. Influencer marketing can be fun, and it can have a great impact on your brand.

So how do you set up influencer marketing?

Social Media Influencers Luca and Katy at EC Dublin

First of all, do some thinking….

DIY or Get Help?

Firstly, decide whether you have time, resource and energy to arrange this yourself, or whether a better option is to engage with a media company who have previous experience and can do a lot of the donkey work for you.

It can take a lot of time to investigate influencers and agree on terms. With all of your other daily commitments, it may be worth investing in an education-based media company who can do this for you.

Identify the goals

Are you simply looking for better initial brand awareness in certain new markets or do you want to generate leads in a particular market? You need to decide clearly on your goals for the influencer campaign.

Are you looking for increased awareness, ROI satisfaction, content creation that can help with your social following, better online engagement, bigger ‘fan’ numbers, or a combination of all of these?

Do you want the campaign to be for direct recruitment, via an agency or a hybrid?

For macro-influencers who bring considerable leads, having an agent partner work on these can be a great help. How better to foster a relationship with a fairly new agency than offering them leads that you create!

If you go down the agency route, make sure they are prepared for lots of leads, and create a way which ensures that the leads are managed for your own benefit.

Identify the channels

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube? Which channel are you seeking to develop using influencer marketing? Your choice of influencer should take this into account as you research their own strengths in engagement online.

Influencers will have a multi-channel strategy but play to your strengths too and try to engage on the right channels you want to develop using this campaign. Make sure the influencer knows what channels you see as your main focus and agree on the number and type of posts in advance.

Identify an Influencer

You should research and audit any influencer you are looking to use. Mega-influencers have millions of followers, and they are an excellent way to raise brand awareness but can be pretty expensive, and you may not see a lot of conversions as a percentage (even though only a few bookings will likely more than cover the cost of the event).

Working with micro-influencers who have a deeper reach may be a good route if leads are your focus as these influencers have a smaller following, but their close relationships and niche audience can be great for conversions.

Be open to influencers who may contact you directly. Also, there are many online tools to help identify influencers (e.g. Socialbakers) or you can engage with education-specific media companies who have experience running campaigns and contacts with string influencers.

Influencers, as mentioned should be well researched by you, especially with respect to their engagement numbers and the relevance of their following.

You will need to ensure that they are focused on authentic content and engagement rather than just about the promotion of products.

Are they the right cultural fit for your business? Look at their posts, their interaction and if you can identify a focus that can be strongly linked with English languages and travel.

Get Started

Influencer Maicon Santini visits Bell English in London and Cambridge

Choose your method

If you want to develop your own campaign then you need to commit the sufficient resources and plan ahead. Media company who might create a programme for you will require at least 3-months for arrangements to be made.

Agreement

Agreements should be thorough and provide security for both the influencer and your business. All aspects of safety, security and work to be completed by both parties should be detailed in writing.

An education-focused media company specialising in influencer events will have agreements in place and can quickly take away the difficulties, but they will charge for their services.

Pre-Campaign Arrangements

Arrangements need to be made for logistics such as flights, accommodation and event bookings, etc. as the costs for these can increase closer to the intended event time.

Influencers will have a Manager/PR Manager and they will work with you to arrange for the details of the tour. They may make demands for airplane cabin classes or spending money. Negotiate, but always try to make sure the influencer is and will be happy.

There also needs to be a clear collaboration with the influencer to agree on the specifics and responsibilities for the campaign to make sure there are no surprises, and everyone is happy.

Delivery

From the influencer arrival at the airport, the logistics need to be very well thought out and executed and the event execution should be smooth.

Language schools and universities are specialists in pre-arrival and looking after students, but influencers are not students and may not have spent months preparing for a language course. Details of a schedule of events are vital.

It can also be a good idea to ask if the influencer has any ideas of what they want to do. A bored influencer will not create online engagement. Roll out the red carpet and give them the very best couple of days in your city and your premises.

It can also be useful to arrange for some students who are the same nationality as the influencer to be available during the day when the influencer visits the premises or campus.

Documenting the event – Consider recording the visit and the activities around your city or discuss arrangements for the media company to produce additional video content to celebrate the event and increase investment returns.

Be prepared for a diva! Depending on the influencer. If they have a huge following they may be a little pampered.

Prepare your sales, marketing and admissions teams and be ready to boost and share campaign posts. Also, have a system in place to track leads and definitely have processes to measure your success.

Make sure the influencer is always fed and watered! Find out about food dislikes/allergies etc.

Next Steps

Follow these guidelines if you choose to create and deliver a campaign under your steam own involve an education-based media company with influencer contacts and experience in delivering influencer events.

See our influencer marketing projects and get in touch with the LV team if you would like to use influencer marketing.

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