Posted by Daniela ● 12 October 2017
How to Influence Your Ranking in the Times Top 100
Ever wondered why some employers always feature in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers? We’ll let you into a secret… it’s all about getting your brand noticed on campus!
In the next five minutes, we’ll share our ideas on the best ways you can promote your brand on campus and influence that all important ranking in the Times Top 100.
Context is key
First things first. How is the Times Top 100 created? Here’s the background info…
A company called High Fliers produce an annual survey called The UK Graduate Careers Survey. As part of this research, 18,353 final year students from thirty leading universities are asked the unprompted question:
“Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?”
Between them, finalists name over 1,500 different organisations during the survey – the hundred employers with the most student votes form the highly influential Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.
Why is it important to be in the Times Top 100?
The table is highly influential in the graduate space and is the go-to resource for graduates, with 50,000 hardback publications being distributed to universities across the country.
That’s why many employers ramp up their campus activity in Spring to raise the awareness of their brand and opportunities, making sure they’re front of mind when the survey is taking place.
At RMP, we call this a 'Times Top 100 Campaign' and help several employers each year to influence their ranking in the table.
So how can you influence your ranking?
From our knowledge over the last eight years, the best Times Top 100 campaigns contain three fundamental ingredients…
- A great concept
- On campus exposure
- Digital promotion
Why all three? To ensure final years have the best opportunity of seeing your brand across multiple channels, keeping you front of mind when the survey comes out.
Let’s explore these ingredients in more detail below...
It starts with a great concept
A great Times Top 100 campaign is underpinned by a great concept. This is the first step before you even think about how to promote it on campus.
Last year we worked with an energy client to increase their position in the Times Top 100 by 26 places. How? We created a unique online competition with a concept that was centred around students answering weekly brain teasers in the hope to win a prize, hosted on a fully branded micro-site. The competition was designed to be quick and easy to enter as well as very shareable, ideal for a student audience used to instant gratification.
Another example of a great concept was one of our finance client's campaigns, involving students competing for £1,000 seed funding to bring an idea to life. The campaign captured the hearts and minds of students across target campuses and saw the client go up two places (from 18th to 16th place!) in the Times Top 100 in 2016.
Go where the students are
Once the concept has been created, it’s all about getting it out to the right people in the right place. Being on campus is one of the best ways to raise your profile, with 95% of students stating in a survey by RateMyPlacement that it’s beneficial to meet employers on campus. Let’s run through a few of the key ways you can do this.
Hire Brand Managers
Students trust other students when it comes to promoting brands on campus. In fact, 88% of students surveyed by RateMyPlacement said they would recommend employers to use students as Brand Managers to educate them about work experience opportunities and graduate schemes. That’s why we recruited Brand Managers for our energy client's campaign at all Times Top 100 universities.
They acted as micro-influencers on their university campuses and pushed the message in places that we didn’t have access to, including Facebook groups and their own personal networks. Between them they delivered a huge 6,326 clicks to the competition, providing huge exposure for our client and the campaign.
Run an event on campus
Running an event on campus will make a big impact. In a recent survey by RateMyPlacement, almost half of 1,000 students surveyed said an outdoor installation such as a pop-up stand would attract them to an employer on campus.
We’re not talking about the usual event (such as a workshop, presentation etc). If you really want to make an impact on campus then the more creative the better!
Events can come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what budget you have. We all know students love free food so installations and events can be as simple as giving out cereal, popcorn or coffee on campus.
We ran a campaign with an employer last year, which saw 80,000 branded cereal bowls being given out during the Times Top 100 period. This resulted in their brand being seen by over 400,000 students. This was excellent at creating a buzz on campus and ensured the employer was front of mind during The Times Top 100 survey. The result? They moved up one place in the top 10 of the Times Top 100.
Let’s get digital, digital...
Reaching students via digital methods is now easier than ever, especially with a student audience who are always online.
Let’s explore how email and social media can support your attraction strategy and influence your position in the Times Top 100.
Social media is a key part of any Times Top 100 campaign as it helps you reach a large audience that you might not be able to reach on campus. In a recent survey by RateMyPlacement, the top three social platforms used by students were Facebook (93%), Snapchat (76%), Instagram (76%) so it’s important to think about how you can maximise content on these platforms throughout your campaign.
Think carefully about how you can maximise the reach of your social activity. Boosting a post on Facebook across target segments can increase the reach by up to 50-100% according to RMP’s year in review infographic.
For our energy client, we used boosted posts to promote the competition through RateMyPlacement’s social media channels, generating over 1,200 clicks to the competition. We also got all 45 of the Brand Managers to post on their personal social media channels, giving the competition more authenticity and credibility at target university campuses.
Email is not dead!
Email might be one of the 'oldest' modern communication channels but it should not be underestimated! Email still proves to be the most widely used social platform, with 75% students in a survey by RateMyPlacement saying it’s the best method for educating students about work experience and graduate schemes.
Whether it is an event a student can register for or a competition that they can enter into, email is a great way to get your brand in front of students and consistently delivers great results.
For our energy client's campaign, email was used to promote weekly brain teasers to 200,000 final year students at all thirty Times Top 100 universities. The emails had an average open rate of 27% and a click-through rate of 4%, driving thousands of students to enter the competition and take part.
Our final thoughts...
So there we have it! Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas on how to maximise your presence via on campus and digital methods to influence your ranking in the Times Top 100.
While activity during the Times Top 100 period is key, if your aim is to get further up the table then having an all-year-round presence on campus and online is important to ensure your brand is front of mind among final year students.
If you’re looking to take your Times Top 100 attraction strategy to the next level, get in touch below as we’d be happy to help!
Topics: Industry Insights