This blog post was updated on 22 December 2020. 

Of course, utilising social media is a surefire way of getting your campaign seen by your prospective students. The advice in this article still stands true, but 6 years later we know that you need a comprehensive content strategy on a variety of platforms to make an impact. From Twitter, to Instagram, and the new player in the game, TikTok, here’s an updated look at creating a compelling Instagram content strategy, and here’s another for where to begin with TikTok. For all the latest news on student recruitment, such as how to utilise social media for maximum effect, then make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter.

In 2016, Twitter announced that it’s monthly active users has reached 255 million with 198 million using the platform from a mobile device and a 125% year-on-year increase in advertising.

That means there are about 80 million potential students on Twitter, more than any one institution can handle but with the right targeting it will be an important element of your social and digital marketing campaigns.

But before you jump on the Twitter ads bandwagon, read through the advice from our digital marketing experts to find out how we can help you get it right first time.

Two types of twitter advertising

To start with we need to work out what you want to achieve?

  • More followers? = Promoted Accounts
  • Visits to your website/leads/increase brand awareness? = Promoted Tweets

We’ll focus on the latter as it gives us the greatest flexibility for your campaigns.


As we’ve mentioned there are more targeting options for promoted tweets with promoted accounts limiting us to ‘Interests’ and ‘Tailored audiences’.

Keywords – reach students that are searching for, talking about and engaging with specific keywords and phrases relevant to your institution and campaign. E.g. For Universities in Clearing we’d want to expand beyond the word ‘Clearing’ and add broader terms for specific courses and phrases like ‘universities with places in Clearing’ etc.

Television – when done right this method means we can achieve TV level reach with the benefits of digital targeting. For the full list of suitable TV programmes we’d target for your student recruitment campaign, contact a member of our team.

Interests and followers – a unique-to-Twitter method that allows us to reach students based on who they follow. We can target an account like @MTVUK to reach a young, fashionable, trend-setting audience. But a more focussed approach for our College clients would be to target local schools and local authority accounts to reach potential students and their parents/guardians.

Tailored audiences – we can promote your campaign to existing students and your database of leads, based on their visits to your website, previous enquiries or other data lists you have.

We can also combine targeting methods:

  • We can maximise your audience reach with device targeting
  • If you’re targeting mobile then we’ll use Big Top to make sure your landing page is mobile responsive for a consistent user experience
  • We can also target by region if you’re after local students or those from nearby regions – see the full list of UK regions you can target on Twitter

Choosing the right content for promoted tweets

We’ll choose from one of three content options for your campaigns; use an existing tweet, create a new one or with a bit of development work on your site we can create customisable cards that allow us to display more engaging content to the target audience.

Some limitations to be aware of

  • Age is not available as a targeting option but we have other smart ways of reaching those 80 million students
  • Twitter is predominantly mobile so if you don’t have a mobile responsive site we’d recommend Big Top for multi-device landing pages

If you’d like to know more about using Twitter for student recruitment and engagement contact the team via email or call us on +44 (0)1273 734 640

Article by


Charlie Penrose

Creative Director