How to use edutainment to build an online student community
A key aim for content marketers is to create something which has real value for their audience.
Whether it’s a blogpost, a podcast or a webinar, if you have given your audience an insight or a piece of information which is genuinely useful to them, then you’ll have positioned yourself as an expert in your field and a business that can be trusted.
So how can you offer them something fresh and exciting? Edutainment might be the key.
What is edutainment?
The knowledge economy has produced a demand for lifelong learning and constant upskilling. This has created a generation which sees education not only as an enjoyable use of their free time, but also as a solid investment in themselves. Millennials form half of the workforce, and 87% of them cite learning as a top priority when it comes to their careers.
So how can you tap into this market? Well, edutainment is an ideal way to create some engaging and informative content to use on social media channels.
Edutainment is a portmanteau of education and entertainment. It refers to media – podcasts, videos, articles, programmes, apps and games – which are intended to educate the consumer as well as entertain them. The word was first used by Walt Disney in the 1950s, but edutainment as a concept has been around for hundreds of years. An interest in making education enjoyable can be traced back as far as the Renaissance.
You’ll be able to create some fun teaching moments at home for your current students, and you’ll also reach and engage new potential students. And with so many countries on lockdown, or practising social distancing, it’s more important than ever to create a sense of community through your school’s social media.
Why is edutainment digital marketing gold?
Games are predicted to be a top story in 2020. This rise in gaming on our smartphones represents a big opportunity for brands and educational institutions. What’s more, this drive to self-improvement is more in evidence at the moment than ever before. People are actively using their extra time at home to learn a language, or practise a new skill.
Now, we’re not suggesting you build an app to promote your school or course, but you can still make games part of your digital marketing efforts. You can tap into this trend for free, using your social media channels to create games, write quizzes and set challenges for students to play and learn.
Quizzes: Shareable content
Quizzes are catnip for social media users, and are among the content most likely to be shared on social networks. So how can you create your own quizzes? You can build your own quizzes on WordPress, or create them directly on Instagram stories.
But what kind of content should be in your quizzes? First of all, you need to decide on the aim of your quiz:
- Who is it for?
- Is it aimed at new clients?
- Do you want to introduce people to your school or company and tell them about the kinds of courses you run?
In that case, a ‘getting-to-know-you’ type quiz would work well, with questions about when the company was founded, what your school offers and how students benefit from studying with you.
However, if you want to engage with your current students, a quiz on something they are learning or studying with you is a good choice. This type of quiz, offering your students a teaching moment, is actually easier to write. For content, reach out to your teachers – they probably already have an exercise or test that could easily be adapted to a quiz. These are a great way to engage with your students and give them little nuggets of knowledge outside the classroom.
Challenges: User-generated content
Set your students a social media challenge. It’ll depend on what your school teaches, obviously. For example, if you run a design course, you could ask your followers to share an image of their favourite design piece.
If you run a business school, ask them to share their business role model or favourite entrepreneur. And if you have a cookery school, get your students to share a photo of something they’ve recently made.
A good example of this type of user-generated content is the Hammers at Home challenge by West Ham Foundation football club. They posted a video of one of their Foundation coaches doing the wall challenge, to show users how it’s done and encourage them to share their own videos with a specific hashtag. The Getty Museum also challenged their followers to recreate famous works of art with household items, leading to some inventive responses.
The challenge will be specific to your subject area, but you’ll be connecting with students over a shared passion. And if you get them to tag you in their uploads, you’ll be able to reshare on your own channels. This will help to build that sense of community online that your students are missing out on at the moment.
Games: Engage and entertain
You can also use social media posts to create individual games. Again, everything depends on your subject area. It’s important to keep it relevant to the courses you’re selling. Use Facebook or Instagram posts as a way of posting trivia questions, asking your students to share the answer in the comments. Your course materials will provide you with inspiration for this, and it’s a good idea to reach out to your teachers for their ideas.
On Instagram, you can use Stories to set questions – almost like setting your students a little pop quiz. If you use the text box you can then go on to share their answers. This is great for sharing knowledge and community building. For example, you could share famous quotes related to your subject area and ask students who said it.
And the most important thing?
The most important thing, when creating any content for your social media channels, is to make sure your voice is consistent with your brand and messaging. Authenticity is crucial on social media. So, it makes sense to connect with your students over your shared enthusiasm for a topic. Think about if you, as a user, would share your content. If so, you’re on the right track.
But creating a flow of interesting, engaging content can be time-consuming. If you need more inspiration, reach out to Hubbub Labs to help you craft a social media presence that is engaging, informative and fun. For more insights into getting your marketing strategy working for you, check out our blog.