More Higher Ed Institutions Using Social Media as Recruiting Tool

A new class of undergraduates will be arriving at many college and university campuses within the next few weeks. So it must be time for the admissions office to crank up the marketing machine again. For many institutions of higher education, marketing these days is all about digital and social.

All surveyed colleges and universities in the latest UMass Dartmouth study use at least one form of social media. But some formats are proving more popular than others. As newer tools are introduced, the admissions staffs consider which ones will be effective in recruiting the most sought-​after students. In the current  year, here are the percentages of school using specific social media formats:

  • Blogging: 66%
  • Message/​Bulletin boards: 37%
  • Video blogging: 47%
  • Podcasting: 41%
  • FourSquare: 20%
  • Facebook: 98%
  • Twitter: 84%
  • MySpace 8%
  • LinkedIn: 47%
  • YouTube: 86%

Note that MySpace was the one tool that saw a drop in the number of schools using it – from 16% last  year to 8% this year. This decrease is likely linked to the number of Millennials, the target audience, that actually use MySpace. Likewise, fewer schools are using message and bulletin boards. And there’s been a slight decline in the number of schools that use video blogging.

Schools are also turning to social media (19%) and search engines (13%) to research students. For the most past, this effort is about finding geographic regions to target rather than checking on specific students who have applied to the school.

College officials largely believe their social media efforts are successful. Facebook (95%), YouTube (92%), LinkedIn (87%) and Videoblogging (88%) receive the highest scores from administrators. And 68% of officials say social media is very important to their recruiting success. The researchers did point out that only 68% of colleges and universities are monitoring online news for information regarding their institutions. This may be the next step for schools who are concerned about reputation management.

[Source: Barnes, Nora, PhD. And Lescault, Ava. Social Media Adoptions Soars. UMass Dartmouth. 2011. Web. 17 Aug. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.