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Don’t be afraid to ask!

Author: Dave Musson

Sometimes, the most difficult part of a conversation can be getting it started - be that because of nerves or simply not knowing what question to ask first. Our partners at GM Higher found a novel way of clearing that particular hurdle recently, which we wanted to share here on the blog.

GM Higher uses our platform to help reach Uni Connect students, but also to provide all students across Greater Manchester with information, advice and guidance about higher education.

To help them reach that target audience, they ran a competition that incentivised prospective students to engage with their Ambassadors and, ultimately, get those conversations moving.

Promotional image used by GM Higher that says 'The 12 days of HE'

For 12 days in December 2020, students in Year 9 – Year 13 were encouraged to  ask the following three questions about higher education through TAP:

- What and where did you study, and what was your favourite thing about your course?

- How have your higher education studies helped with your career?

- What do you want to find out about higher education? Ask your own question to our team!

All students who asked those questions were entered into a prize draw, and three of them won a £10 Amazon voucher.

The competition was advertised on GM Higher’s website, their social media channels, and their other usual communications channels. Their staff Ambassadors were also given a list of appropriate follow-up questions to ask and help keep those chats moving.

Over the course of the competition’s duration, 9 students started conversations and exchanged 110 messages. For context, in the whole of November, 9 students used GM Higher’s TAP Page and exchanged 115 messages, so this competition effectively gave GM Higher a month’s worth of data in just 12 days.

Even better, a number of the conversations started during the competition carried on even once the prizes had been drawn, allowing GM Higher’s Ambassadors to offer lots of useful advice about Higher Education choices.

The Ambassadors also made great use of our Content feature to share photos and videos around the themes of New Year and wellbeing, giving those prospective students reason to keep coming back.

Sarah Starkey, Marketing and Communications Lead at Greater Manchester Higher, said:  “We launched the Ask Us platform in July 2020, to provide students across Greater Manchester with a virtual platform where they could get 1:1 information, advice and guidance about higher education. Although we have a full communications and content plan to support this, we felt we needed something extra to help boost interest and engagement.

"We came up with the idea of running a Christmas competition; ‘The 12 Days of HE’, the aim of which was to raise awareness of the platform amongst our main audience – students in Year 9 – 13, and start some of those much needed conversations around higher education. Overall, we were pleased with the results, and hope we can continue to build upon this engagement going forward.”

Key takeaways:

  • - Running a competition is an excellent way to drive traffic to your TAP Page, particularly when you use it to really focus on your target audience

  • - Sometimes, giving your prospects some ideas around what questions to ask can be a great way to kick-start a conversation

  • - Giving your Ambassadors a selection of potential follow-up questions ensures that those conversations can keep moving

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