Pearson serves millions of students but struggled to reach them on Instagram. Here’s how we helped them craft relatable content and grow their following quickly.
Pearson Education is one of the world’s largest education companies, focused on creating cutting-edge learning aids for learners of all ages. Their higher education materials include textbooks, phone apps, and tools such as MyLab that provide an interactive learning experience.
Pearson wanted to transform their “Pearson Learners” Instagram account (@pearsonstudents) into a go-to resource for college students, by exploring higher ed topics including studying tips, career planning, and finding their own passion for learning. They hired Sculpt to build the organic social strategy that would make that vision a reality.
In our kickoff, Sculpt identified a primary goal of reaching 10,000 followers, so we could begin sharing swipe-up story links. From there, we focused on creating useful, entertaining, and consistent content for college-aged students, knowing that one of the biggest challenges would be capturing (and holding!) a younger audience’s attention. Finally, Sculpt paired a proactive community management strategy with the use of “studygram” influencers and user-generated content to boost reach and engagement.
A major piece of our strategy for driving rapid follower growth included tag-a-friend giveaways. Students were encouraged to follow the account and tag a friend in order to win. Relatively simple but still effective.
We learned that running the same prize multiple times isn’t continuously effective, and varied our approach. The key here was choosing giveaways that were genuinely exciting for Pearson’s audience but still relevant to minimize follower turnover.
Pearson partnered with a number of student “Studygram” influencers to promote their products and encourage follower growth with sponsored content. The influencer program was key for developing study inspiration (surprisingly popular on Instagram), campus life, and extra-curricular content.
Part of our paid growth efforts involved shoutout posts from viral influencer accounts encouraging people to follow the Pearson Learners account.
This tactic worked for an account like Pearson’s because their audience is mainly U.S. based Gen Z and Millenials but wouldn’t work for a B2B client or a company with an older customer base.
It’s also worth mentioning that based on our findings out of every 2k that follow, an estimated 250 – 500 will unfollow within the year. Because our primary goal was to grow quickly in order to start driving traffic through the “Swipe Up” feature, this method was ultimately still valuable despite attrition.
Student ambassadors are the foundation of the Pearson Learners account – in fact, before Pearson hired Sculpt, the ambassadors were the ones running it. Sculpt helped curate content from Pearson Campus Ambassadors by sending out regular, timely surveys that capitalized on hot topics and organizing student takeovers of Pearson Learners’ Instagram Stories.
Sourcing user-generated content like this kept our publishing calendar full of posts that were fresh and firmly within the voice of our audience.
As part of our strategy planning, Sculpt built a content blueprint to align Pearson’s content production efforts with their channel goals and messaging. Using this blueprint as a guide for topic ideation, we developed useful, engaging content that remained on-brand and relevant to Pearson products.
We built the Pearson Campus Ambassadors into the blueprint as they are a crucial part of maintaining the authentic voice of the account.
We used proactive commenting and direct messaging to engage with incoming and existing college students’ posts and Stories. Around 30% of students responded to our direct messaging initiative and commenting helpful tips, compliments, and other non-salesy notes resulted in positive engagements and follows.
While sentiment metrics are by nature harder to quantify, our proactive community engagement did help increase positive brand perception online – a key issue that Pearson had been struggling with.
With Sculpt’s help, the Pearson Learners Instagram page grew from 3,347 followers to 10,336 followers – a 209% increase. Additionally, we increased the average engagements per post from 59 to 111 year-over-year – an increase of 88%.
The Pearson Learners account has a clear and focused brand voice now. Most importantly, Pearson’s internal team now has the organic social know-how to plan and develop content that will maintain their follower count, engage their audience more directly and authentically, and continue building off of this success.
What didn’t Sculpt handle? Their creativity, can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it took to make things successful impressed us.