Uncovering Student Voices: A Guide to Authentic Marketing and Student-Generated Content

Uncovering Student Voices: A Guide to Authentic Marketing and Student-Generated Content

Authentic marketing is at the heart of student recruitment. Universities have a wealth of student experiences and stories ready to be told, with each one of these being unique. Building connections and putting people at the heart of your content is key for your storytelling marketing campaigns.

Advertising and social media campaigns are, of course, significantly important to reach the millions of students across the UK and internationally. Once their attention is captured, your prospective students want to hear real-life experiences from the current voices at your university.

Enrolling social media ambassadors and influencers for your brand and subject areas is an important way to support your advertising and marketing campaigns. It brings breadth, depth of experience and evidence points that back up the key brand messages you are trying to tell.

The challenge many universities face is learning how to engage and motivate students to work collaboratively with the marketing teams to tell their stories. Barriers may include communication, confidence, lack of time, pressures from the studies, and having awareness about the opportunities available. However, it is possible to build a group of highly engaged students to produce quality student-generated content.

Building Rapport

To create high-quality videos and content with impact, it’s crucial to take the time to really understand the students and make them feel as comfortable as possible. It’s asking them questions about their life, why they came to university and showing a genuine interest in what they have to say. Success in this area means being able to communicate and provide students with valuable experience, mentorship and often money that will benefit their university experience and career. 

Freshers’ Fairs

A highly effective ambassador recruitment tactic is having a stall at Freshers Fair. Market the opportunity as a part-time job and an opportunity for students to build their skills within marketing alongside their degrees. 

Social Media

A social media post promoting positions and marketing opportunities often encourages students who are active on social media to apply. When the main university account has a high following, there can be a greater promotion of the opportunities available. However, experience has shown that students applying for these roles are often studying social science and humanity/creative degrees. To attract a wider range of subject areas, other approaches are needed.


Your students’ union and societies cover a huge range of subjects, sports, and interests. These groups often include the most engaged and more outgoing students seeking opportunities that universities provide. Engaging in direct messages on social media is a great way to connect with society leaders and provides students with the chance to increase their society profiles. This can mean more publicity (for both your University and their society) and therefore funding for something that they are passionate about!

Academics/Course Leaders 

To be able to have a full range of students representing different areas and groups, a more personal approach is needed. This includes speaking to academics and course reps to understand who the most engaged students in their course areas are. This includes maximising relationships that have already been built between the student and tutor to help and support the students to share their stories and experiences.

Old school posters

How often do you read the posters on the back of the toilet door? It’s a little old school but we had significant engagement from this activity. Students spoke about the opportunity in corridors and although it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, this increased the awareness for others who were interested!


Once you have a group of keen students, the next step is to provide social media and content training. The aims are to build their skillsets and understanding of formats and best practices and to create a connection between the group, so they feel comfortable contributing their ideas and collaborating together. 

The more time you invest at the start, the more streamlined the process becomes!



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