Using Reddit effectively in the student funnel

Over 65% of Gen Z reportedly feel more confident online when using community-focused social apps.

The younger generations are seeking to build deeper connections via social media use. In contrast with the influencer boom of the millennial generation, where communication and connection is very one-sided, digital communities foster deeper and wider bonds with their peers. These online communities provide an opportunity for everyone to contribute their own voice, perspective or funny meme. It’s in this arena where highly-engaged social platforms like Twitch, Discord, and Reddit reign.

What is Reddit?

Reddit is an online social media platform made up of over 100,000 'subreddits’. These subreddits are online communities where people can post and discuss specific topics – whether it be a hobby, passion or cultural interest shared with other like-minded Redditors from across the globe. You can join subreddits based on many specific subjects, whether they be useful or futile – from investment tips on the ‘Wall Street Bets’ subreddit to the ‘HydroHomies’ subreddit which encourages users to stay hydrated. 

Reddit’s place in higher education marketing

Reddit has become a well-known platform for information gathering – with users often asking questions on these subreddits to get firsthand advice and experience from the online community. And the same can be said for prospective students looking to apply at your university. If you do have a thriving online community, these questions are often around which classes to take, how your university stacks up against your competitors and queries around admissions processes. Those asking these questions are looking for an unadulterated perspective, which is ultimately the core appeal of the platform: it's built upon real experiences from real people willing to share their unfiltered take.


How can universities tap into Reddit?


Social listening

Universities can unlock a goldmine of insights by tuning into their subreddit. It’s the world’s most honest focus group, where students, alumni, and prospects candidly share their experiences, opinions and concerns. It can be a vibrant hub of online activity, filled with content coming directly from the mouths of the people —students swap tales from the dorms, debate the merits of the cafeteria food, or dissect the latest campus event, all in real-time. This open forum offers marketing and admissions teams a unique vantage point to understand what makes their university tick, from the perspective of their audience. By tailoring your messaging to echo the authentic voices of your subreddit community or launching initiatives that directly address their most pressing needs, you’re showing that you are actually listening and care about your student body.

Direct response

It’s worth noting that the authenticity of Reddit can also be its downfall. The reality is that, sometimes, people can just get it wrong. A response to a question can be outdated, littered with bias or simply reflect one bad experience out of a thousand positive ones. Monitoring your subreddit and guiding students to more reliable sources of information can help right the balance of misinformed answers to questions.

A word to the wise – Redditors are an unfiltered bunch. Attempts to directly influence perceptions from a pseudonym account goes against the grain of authenticity of the site and is often called out, and can get you kicked out. 

If you’re answering questions from an obvious pro-establishment perspective, make sure that you’re engaging with your subreddit from an account clearly labeled with your intention. A good example would be ‘UniversityXAdmissionsHelp’. This is not the time for trying to persuade a student to enroll, but to provide the information they’re looking for in an unbiased way. 


After monitoring your subreddit for a while, you may notice a pattern of similar questions or that you’re often providing the same resources again and again. If this is the case, then get in touch with the subreddit moderator and ask if you can post a pinned FAQ on the subreddit. This will provide an additional resource for students coming to the site for help and advice from things like admissions requirements to application deadlines and decision dates. 

Reddit can be a wacky and wild place at times, but it’s still a go-to for users who want answers from specific communities. Getting involved in these online communities is important, not only to provide students with the information they need, but to also get a raw perspective of your HEI. Sometimes the feedback you’ll receive won’t be overly favorable, but look to embrace it and find use in it. Learn from it. Continually adapting and striving to offer better services and support to your student audience could make the difference in where students choose to apply.

Interested in working with a reliable and trusted partner who can offer guidance when it comes to student recruitment? Get in touch to learn more about the work we do for our higher education partners.