Who do you think is best equipped to talk about your classes and your school? You? Your staff? Not really…
So, who is the best person to talk about your school?
Your students are best equipped to talk about it, as they have a fresh look that you have lost and are at the heart of your activity.
They see, feel and take into account certain things that you no longer register about your culture, your country, your city, your neighbourhood, your school, its reputation, your staff, the content of the classes you provide, your equipment, the size of the classrooms, the number of students, your host families, your prices, the accommodation you provide, your activities, the atmosphere in your school, etc.
Your students connect prospective students to your school
Your students express themselves in their own words and are more likely to be listened to by other students.
They can use Facebook and Twitter better than anyone. During their stay, thanks to these social networks, they often create a bridge between your school and their friends and family back in their country.
Once they have returned home, they are the best ambassadors for your school as they have a large network of friends to which they can recommend you.
In fact, they are often so happy and proud to have had the opportunity to experience their first stay in a foreign country that they want to tell everyone about it and encourage others to do the same.
Numbers don’t lie
People want to learn from people like them when they make purchasing decisions.
– 92% of consumers around the world say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.
– Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70% of global consumers surveyed.
Your students are talking – don’t just listen.
Encourage them to talk about and recommend your school by sharing their experience with others.
- When they refer a friend, give them and their friend a discount.
- Encourage them to blog about their experience during their stay at your school.
- Ask them to “Like”, “Share” and “Tweet” your school on Facebook, Google + and Twitter.
- Organize amazing activities and take great pictures of them that will then be published on Facebook and seen by all their friends.
- Invite them to review your school on popular rating websites. These reviews will be read by prospective students looking to study abroad.
What if they have a negative experience?
99% of students are satisfied with their language study abroad, so don’t worry (unless you are running the worst language centre in the world!).
The reason for this high satisfaction level is that, unlike hotels and restaurant, students tend to spend a fair amount of time in your schools and therefore, if there are any issues, you will usually be able to detect and fix them during their stay.
This fear of negative feedback is one of the biggest factors causing some schools to hesitate to embrace customer-generated content. But the truth is that “bad” reviews are really just opportunities to improve your offer and build trust in your company.
Improving your offer
The most obvious positive potential in negative reviews is the opportunity for your school to improve its services. Student feedback helps language centres discover weaknesses in their offer and act on them to deliver a better experience.
Building trust in your brand
The mere presence of negative feedback on the web shows the transparency of your brand. Students see that your online community hasn’t been whitewashed with rose-tinted marketing speak.
Review your enrolment strategy and unleash the power of word of mouth marketing
Today, advertising and marketing are so omnipresent that they become more invisible. In the end, people tend to ignore advertising because they prefer to hear about the experiences of people like them through social media.
Good marketing should encourage the right sort of conversations and word of mouth should be the starting point for your enrolment strategy.
Maxime Braire is the founder of www.my-language-travel.com and the director of the Webmarketing Agency SKA.