As social media grows in popularity as a means for marketing to prospective students, Private Social Networks (PSNs) offer a complementary platform for helping accepted students connect with one another and with current students. In our webinar, “The Power of a Private Social Network,” Braelan O’Toole, assistant director of admissions at Franklin Pierce University and Megan Heany, a Franklin Pierce University senior who works in the admissions office, spoke with Liaison’s Suzanne Sharpe about the benefits of PSNs and how Franklin Pierce has been using a PSN to yield accepted students.
Nurture Accepted and Deposited Students
Admissions departments focus a lot of effort on responding to inquiries and encouraging students to apply. But even after students are accepted, you have a lot of work ahead of you to convince admitted students to attend your institution. As it becomes more common for students to confirm that they’ll attend and submit deposits to more than one institution to keep their options open, it’s increasingly important to focus enrollment efforts on accepted students.
PSNs don’t replace other types of social media, but they do have a key advantage: they are more focused and exclusive. The PSN administrator at your school opens the PSN only to accepted students and offers them a place to meet one another and gather information about your programs, extracurricular activities, students, events, and anything else that is important to them as they make their decision about which school is the best fit for them.
Why use a private social network when there are so many types of social media already available? PSNs have been proven to increase deposits, decrease post-accept withdrawals, and keep students informed and engaged through the entire recruitment lifecycle. In a survey of three Liaison clients who offer PSNs, 73% of enrolled students used the PSN to help them learn more about programs and connect with other potential and current students.
Help Undecided Students Choose Your Institution
PSNs are a great tool for reaching out to students who are still on the fence by helping them connect with people like themselves. Because a high percentage of the students who use PSNs have already decided to attend the institution and have enrolled, their excitement can help sway students who haven’t decided yet.
How can you provide them with the most accurate information about what it’s like to be a student at your school? Rely on your current students, of course!
Let Current Students Manage the Outreach
PSNs rely heavily on student ambassadors, current students at your institution, to offer a support system for accepted students, answering their questions, sharing experiences, and welcoming them to the PSN. Student ambassadors can also help accepted students connect with groups that might be of interest to them (from majors of interest to sports teams and other extracurricular activities).
Of course, a professional administrator is necessary, but the goal is to let the student ambassadors reach out to potential students—who are far more interested in hearing from their potential classmates than from administrators or faculty. Because the student ambassadors once had the same questions and concerns as the accepted students and have first-hand experience as a student at your institution, they are in the best position to let future students know what it’s like. Equipped with the personal connections and credible information about attending your institution gathered through the PSN, your accepted students are far more likely to become your enrolled students.