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Using LinkedIn in Your Graduate Student Recruitment

4 min read

Thaís Roberto

Higher ed marketing on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook are commonplace. But, while these are the most widespread platforms among all ages, when it comes to professional life, none surpass the giant of online networking: LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a largely untapped source in student recruitment, but it offers great potential in reaching prospective students – especially at the graduate level.

Here are some insights on planning a successful campaign using LinkedIn’s multiple ad formats, elevating your university’s outreach, and boosting your graduate recruitment.

Optimize your audience

Before you start creating and promoting your content, it is crucial to establish a clear profile of your ideal student candidates. LinkedIn allows you to personalize and filter audiences according to demographic data like location, areas of interest, degree level, seniority, and years of experience.

This data ensures your communications reach your ideal prospects, maximizing engagement and qualified lead generation.

For example, if your university wants to promote a Master’s degree in Health Administration, your campaign can target professionals with a Bachelor’s degree and work experience in the healthcare sector.

Alternatively, to promote an online MBA, you can target members with higher seniority and expand your search to countries with increased interest in MBA programs.

Once you have defined your audiences, you can save them as templates for future campaigns.


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Use multiple ad formats

LinkedIn offers higher education marketers various advertising formats, each with unique advantages. Here is a closer look at the main formats:

  • Sponsored ads: These versatile ads seamlessly appear in users’ feeds, offering an unobtrusive yet effective means of promoting your school. They can be used to deliver a message crafted specifically for a selected audience or to promote an existing LinkedIn post, making your most successful content reach an even wider audience.
  • Dynamic ads: This format leverages LinkedIn’s first-party data to deliver more personalized content to users. They combine details like the user’s profile picture, job title, or company name with your school’s picture and customized message, creating a highly tailored and attention-grabbing ad.
  • Sponsored InMail: InMail is LinkedIn’s direct messaging feature that allows marketers to send personalized messages to their target audience. This format is similar to an email, delivering a long-form message directly to your prospect’s inbox. InMail also includes a CTA button that redirects the user to a lead generation form.

Once you have used LinkedIn’s multiple features to create personalized campaigns, track and analyze each campaign’s results to know which approach is the most effective and continue to optimize your strategy accordingly.

Tell authentic stories

Modern audiences crave genuine insights from real individuals, particularly as students progress through the later stages of the decision-making process. This becomes even more vital when targeting Gen Xers, who are inclined to explore lecturer profiles at various stages of the student journey, or Gen Zers, who might connect with current students for a closer glimpse at campus life.

Incorporate alum testimonials, student success stories, faculty achievements, and profiles into your marketing strategy. Delve into your campus community, conducting interviews to promote unique stories that will serve as inspirational narratives for future students.

You can create an Alumni Showcase Page to share updates and achievements by the institution’s previous graduates – Showcase Pages are extensions of your main LinkedIn page and will be listed under “Affiliated Pages” on your main page.

Alternatively, you can create a Showcase Page to highlight specific programs, providing prospective students a place where they can step away from the school’s general marketing material and get a closer look at the program they’re interested in. A program’s page can be ideal for sharing more specific updates and research opportunities.

Highlight personal satisfaction

A graduate program cohort can be formed by a diverse group of people. In many programs, it’s not uncommon to see 30 or 40-year-old students with long and established careers sharing a class with students in their early twenties, freshly graduated, and excited about the opportunities ahead.

These students typically have different priorities when choosing a program. The older students, who often need to reconcile the degree with their current job and family time, tend to value flexibility and career advancement above other criteria. On the other hand, the younger ones are often driven by their passions and the enjoyment of campus life.

Your school’s content on LinkedIn – as well as other platforms – must be diversified to address the distinct factors that weigh in different students’ decisions. A strategy too focused on employment outcomes might drive away students looking for a fulfilling student experience; a strategy too focused on campus life might drive away more career-oriented students.

Learn what your prospective students are looking for and use that knowledge to craft compelling content that will set your university apart from competitors. When so many universities offer world-class degrees, the quality of education loses its weight as a deciding factor. Showing students how your school will fulfill their aspirations can be the ultimate differentiator. 

LinkedIn has proven to be the place to find motivated, experienced, and growth-driven students, offering the tools to create optimized audiences that allow you to find your ideal students. Once you have your prospects, all that is left is letting your content show why your university is the right pick for them.

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