I recently attended the ICEF workshop in Berlin, Germany that brings together educators, service providers, work & travel professionals to meet the world’s best student agents. Agents are people who recruit and assist students who want to study abroad, both short-term and long-term.
ICEF holds global regional workshops all over the world and the biggest is this annual conference in Berlin. The 2017 conference had over 800 participants representing 104 countries and over 1,700 organizations. Over 30,000 meetings took place.
On the first day of the conference there were numerous professional development seminars and below are my notes the sessions.
Video Marketing in the Education Industry: Pushing international student recruitment to the next level – Florian Schafer
Florian Schafer is the director of the ICEF media production team. Schools need to have video as part of their marketing plan. Research shows that videos are watched more than reading text, at a 4:1 rate. Put video on your landing page and even putting a video in the email subject line helps generate interest in your school. As a parent and educator, I see my children and students watching more and more videos and reading less.
With literally millions of videos available, the fight for attention and differentiating your video is fierce. Videos need to be short, usually no more than 1-2 minutes. An image video ideal length is 90 seconds and an online ad 15 seconds. If it is going to be on Instagram or Facebook, it should be able to be viewed silently with hip text with the key messages. Many videos today are watched with no sound.
To get your video noticed, schools should use “influencers” who are popular students w with lots of friends and a social media presence and use those students as “multipliers” to share the videos via social media. This is also called “seeding” and identifying key students to share your videos will help them get more views.
Making a video is a process has several steps:
- client brief – What makes you unique and how are you going to differentiate yourself? Who is your audience?
- pre-production – prep your subjects, know what footage you need; have a storyboard
- production – shoot multiple takes; “Don’t wait for the lion to come to the waterhole” – stage shots!
- post-production – most expensive and time-consuming; choose music carefully, best if in-house with a student;
- distribution – website landing page, social media
A good idea to have a YouTube Channel and work to increase followers. YouTube is not a library or archive, but a social media channel. It is a good idea to try to publish with a schedule. Make sure to customize the thumbnail and it is better to make the thumbnail a close up and emotional. Use keywords to help search engines.
Florian shared many examples of good videos, including an innovative one from London South Bank University that uses stop-motion techniques to make it stand out. It made its debut at the conference and is not released to the public as I write this, but I’ll try to link it when I can. Another example was to show potential customers who want to study Russian in Riga, Latvia, that the city is not just full of old buildings and a beer-drinking destination. The Liden & Denz video accomplishes this. More examples of ICEF videos can be found on their YouTube page.
It costs schools about 2000 Euros to make a video with ICEF. I was most impressed with their focus on helping a school discover their unique and distinctive characteristics and putting out a message that will drive interest in a school. As Florian said, you are selling the dream of becoming a part of a school community and place.
Most international K-12 schools do not have intense competition as language schools or universities because the families you are trying to recruit are usually being posted to your city through work or family reasons. However, there is competition within the city and region and with more international schools being founded yearly, video marketing is a must-have for school.
My final takeaway from the session – videos need to be short, authentic, unique and have a social media & mobile phone friendly format.