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Campus Tours Post-COVID: Digital Storytelling Techniques That Every College Should Be Using

StudentBridge Staff November, 11, 2022

Digital storytelling is a valuable asset for any college. You can customize your brand to portray your institution's values, mission, and goals. Storytelling draws on the visitor's emotions and creates a meaningful connection. Prospective students obtain the necessary information and experience what campus life would be like for them.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual tours have become more popular nationwide. Colleges have added the feature to their websites so prospective students and their families can visit without leaving their homes. It's an essential part of the digital experience, allowing anyone to place themselves on campus despite never seeing the school in person.

Below are digital storytelling techniques you should use for your college to incorporate informative and engaging content into your virtual campus tours.

1. Consider the Needs of Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the people you want to attend your school. The competition is fierce in today's world. Virtual tours are no longer unique. Many institutions use them to replace physical visits with digital ones.

Offering a virtual campus tour isn't only about including a link on your website. You must determine your target audience and make the feature cater to their needs for a personalized experience. Think about the prospective students you want to attract. Tailor your virtual tours to their interests, desired programs, and career goals.

You must also remember the students' parents. They have a say in where their children go to college. Many pay for tuition. They'll look elsewhere if they don't believe your college is the right match. That means you must provide the information they want and need to make a decision.

2. Ensure Functionality

Virtual tours are fun. They look great while you're presenting them to the board about recruitment and marketing initiatives. However, your virtual tour must be visually appealing while remaining functional. Visitors won't stay on your website for long if the virtual tour isn't easy to use.

The images, videos, embedded links, and other features should take interested students anywhere they want to go on campus. Scrolling through each webpage to find academic programs, recreational activities, and other specific details is frustrating. The content should clearly show what each part of your website does and how it can give visitors the information they seek.

3. Incorporate Unique Features

Traditional content is boring. It doesn't engage the reader the same way digital content does. Including unique features in your virtual tour allows interested students to find their place at your college. They don't have to wonder what walking around campus will be like. They can actually experience it in real time.

Each feature must allow prospective students to seamlessly transition from one part of your campus to the next. An Interactive College Map tells the story of your institution, students, and faculty. While touring, visitors can listen to alum talk about their time at your school, painting a picture of where they'll fit in if they enroll. Faculty can explain the programs they offer and the career opportunities they provide.

A Video Viewbook is fully customizable and personalized to the students you want to attract. Highlight your college's selling points with a captivating story. You can promote more than the buildings and exterior areas. Visitors can dive deeper into campus life with 360-degree images and embedded videos.

4. Communicate Your Brand with High-Quality Visuals

Static images don't provide a realistic view of the campus. Your virtual tour must show visitors every aspect of campus they could see if they were there in person. With StudentBridge's Campus Visit Experience, prospective students can walk around your college using a GPS-enabled map. It shows their location with real-time 360-degree images, text, and audio communicating information about each stop on campus.

Unlike an in-person tour, virtual tours allow visitors to proceed at their own pace. They don't have to follow a predetermined path with a tour guide. They become their own tour guide. They can visit the spots they're most interested in and spend as much time there as they want. If they want to return to a place they already saw, they can. The possibilities are endless.

5. Show More Than Campus Life

Prospective students want to learn about the campus to determine whether a college is right for them. However, discovering what life is like beyond the campus is also vital. Your virtual tour can show the places surrounding campus so visitors get a sense of how they can spend their free time.

You should avoid an isolated approach to your virtual tour. Think bigger. Instead of only highlighting your faculty, academic programs, current students, and athletics, showcase the community your prospective students can expect to join if they attend your school.

Tell Your Story with a Virtual Campus Tour

StudentBridge has provided educational institutions with innovative digital engagement solutions for over 20 years. Our video production and map creation services allow you to connect with your target audience to turn prospective students into enrolled students.

Let us help you design customized and personalized digital content for your college campus. Request a meeting or call us at (678) 824-8181 to get started.

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