Elevate Your Organic Social Strategy with These Four Overlooked Paid Tactics

Carly Golan May 07, 2024 Carly Golan Director, Social Media Marketing + Digital Strategy Persona The Compassionate and Poised Philosopher

In the fast-paced and crowded world of social media, eye-catching content alone won’t get your college or university the visibility and engagement it wants. Standing out to your audiences — whether prospective students or their guardians— requires creative thinking and strategy. Here, we explore how four underutilized paid ad opportunities can supercharge your organic efforts on two critical platforms, TikTok and LinkedIn.

It’s time to get noticed, attract new followers, and build a strong community around your brand.

First, Let’s Rethink Your TikTok Strategy

Reach a Broader Audience with Spark Ads

Want to show off your team’s recent wins? How about a unique event or tradition that highlights the spirit of your campus community? TikTok Spark Ads can help get the word out. Unlike traditional paid tactics, these ads attribute all interactions to the original, organic content you post on your page. Every like, comment, share, and follow resulting from the ad will enhance your post’s visibility, increasing the likelihood of additional interactions.


The versatility of Spark Ads is another reason why this tactic belongs in your toolkit. Let’s say your team hits a creative wall and finds itself without original content to promote. No problem. With permission, you can “spark” posts made by other TikTok creators. This is a great way to get your more engaged and creative students involved!

Key Takeaway: Don’t hide the great things about your school. Leverage Spark Ads to get your organic TikTok content noticed by more of the right people, including prospective students and members of your alumni network. Find inspiration here!

Employ Community Interaction Campaigns To Attract New Followers

TikTok followers are more likely to like, share, and comment on your organic posts. A strong follower base is a promising source of future conversions, such as visit registrations and application submissions. But where do you start? Consider Community Interaction (CI) campaigns, a tactic that harnesses your Spark-powered visibility to build your follower base.

Colleges and universities have many options here. For example, your campaign might highlight student success stories, sneak peeks of campus, or video testimonials alongside a clear call to action to “Follow” your school to learn more. For best results, opt for messaging that emphasizes community and conveys the benefits of connecting with your institution on a deeper level.

Key Takeaway: Transform conversations into connections and passive viewers into brand advocates with engaging Community Interaction campaigns.

Now Focus On Improving Your LinkedIn Presence

Expand Your Institution’s Network with Follower Ads


If you want to attract a more mature, professional audience — maybe to promote your institution’s continuing education or graduate programs, for instance — you can’t go wrong with LinkedIn Follower Ads, which are similar to TikTok’s CI campaigns.

Here’s why you need more followers on LinkedIn. As your base grows, your content’s reach will extend, fostering increased awareness of your school and its offerings. This enhanced visibility often translates into a higher conversion rate for both your organic and paid initiatives, making it a win-win for your digital marketing efforts.

Key Takeaway: Embrace LinkedIn Follower Ads as a way of boosting brand awareness and building a community on one of today’s most powerful professional networks.

Choose Thought Leader Ads To Cultivate Brand Equity


You likely work with dozens of talented and inspiring educators — true visionaries in their fields. That makes you uniquely equipped to excel with Thought Leader Ads, a paid ad option that celebrates the important work and expertise of your institution’s changemakers.

Why this approach? Aside from saving time and resources on content production, promoting preexisting content from faculty and key personnel puts a face to your brand and signals authenticity to your audience. Moreover, since Thought Leader Ads appear to come directly from your thought leader’s profile, your colleague can expect a welcome boost in personal visibility and engagement as well.

Key Takeaway: LinkedIn’s Thought Leader Ads can help you convey authenticity, build brand equity, and spotlight the real-world impact of your academic community.

What Stories Will You Tell?

When it comes to planning an organic social strategy, your team has some powerful new options to consider. By embracing the new, you can achieve higher levels of engagement with your audiences, extend your reach, and guide the narrative around your school’s brand.

Questions about these paid ad options? Start a conversation to get help from Carnegie’s expert social strategists!

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