Live video has been around for a long time, but live video on social media is a relatively recent phenomenon. Since August 2015, Facebook users have been capable of sharing live video directly with their friends and followers from the cameras on their phones. With other social channels quickly following suit, live video exploded in popularity. With social media being so popular among college-aged students, live video is the perfect addition to any university's marketing mix, but the question remains—how do you use it effectively?

Check out these five practical applications for live video that your college or university can put to use.

1. Answer Common Questions

As an institution of higher education, universities have the unique advantage of knowing the vast majority of problems that the target audience of their recruitment efforts face. High school seniors looking to advance their education deal with a nearly universal set of problems and, from those problems, a fairly common set of questions. As a university marketer, you have the opportunity to respond to these students' questions, but doing so through a cookie-cutter blog post or landing page is no longer quite enough. Students today want to feel connected to their universities in any way possible. By taking the time to film a prominent member of the faculty, such as the university president or the executive director of admissions, answering these questions, you personalize the university and begin building prospective students' connections to the institution without the need for a personalized campaign.

2. Publicize University Events

You know as well as we do that colleges and universities are bustling places with a variety of events happening all the time. These events are great for student engagement, but odds are good that you're not using them to their full potential. Send a student ambassador to these events with a microphone and a cell phone camera, a mobile phone video stabilizer and a microphone, and you've got a live reporter on the scene publicizing the event to everyone on the world wide web. Share the video around your social channels to increase exposure, and you'll see better turnout for these events in the future. When it comes to university event marketing, getting the word out is half the battle. If you can effectively publicize your events before they happen, while they're happening and after they're over, you stand a solid chance of increasing your student turnout and engagement. 

3. Host a Live Q&A

Another opportunity that is unique to colleges and universities is the wealth of knowledge contributed by the members of your faculty. Expert-generated content is a massively popular field of content for consumers across all industries, and universities are inherently packed with experts in numerous areas of study. Launching a "TED Talks"-style video series of your professors discussing something interesting in their fields of work could be just the boost you need to see increased engagement on your social channels. Hype up each video in the days beforehand, and watch campus excitement grow. 

4. Offer Virtual Campus Tours

Out-of-state students are oftentimes nervous about going to school on a campus that feels entirely foreign to them. Students can scour the internet to piece together a mental map of the campus grounds, but wouldn't it be better to give them a virtual tour that leaves them wanting more? Take a student ambassador around campus and have him or her talk about the buildings, the landmarks and what the students can expect as a student at your institution. An afternoon of work can then become a valuable resource for prospective students that might just tip the scales in your favor.

5. Personalize Your President (Or Anyone)

Something about seeing someone speak live and on camera makes them feel more human. This is why live video is a great way for your new and prospective students to meet your university's president, your school's mascot or the head coach of the football team. Regardless of who you are trying to introduce, having them address students through live video will give them a personal touch that students will have a hard time finding at other institutions. They'll immediately feel connected and cared about by some of the most prominent individuals at your university, and that emotional connection can sometimes be a deciding factor in students' college selections. 

Regardless of what you're hoping to accomplish with your social media usage, odds are good that live video can help you get there in one way or another. Whether it's for student recruitment, student engagement or simply university announcements, live video is a valuable tool to have in your toolkit and one that gets your messages directly in front of the students and prospective students who need to hear them. 

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