More Higher Ed Institutions Using Social Media as Recruiting Tool

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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.