Most admissions professionals inherently understand that social media is a crucial component in connecting with prospective students. Often, however, it can be a challenge to get administrators on board. It can be difficult to demonstrate value — especially in the early stages of a social media marketing program. Here are three compelling reasons for admissions to use social media:
1. There’s an opportunity for big reach on a small budget.
Facebook has more than 2 billion users, including 81% of U.S. 18-29 year-olds. A whopping 91% of people in that age group use YouTube, 68% are on SnapChat and 64% are on Instagram. The vast majority of teens are using social media as well. Whether you’re looking for undergraduate or graduate students, your prospects are online — and social.
There’s no cost to set up an account or post on social media channels (though most also offer paid advertising opportunities). And in many cases, colleges and universities have already created content that can easily be adapted for social media — event announcements, photos, blog posts, videos and the like. In addition, many of your current students and alumni are on social media creating content you can leverage. With a little time and effort, you can connect with a vast audience.
2. It’s an opportunity to humanize your brand.
When students choose a school, the connections they’ve made with the institution’s people have a tremendous influence on that decision. Social media offers a behind-the-scenes look into life at your school and an opportunity to get a sense of what it’s like to be part of your community. Social media also presents an opportunity to listen to what your students and prospects are saying and to engage with them.
In a recent webinar, Dr. Leila Samii, assistant professor of marketing at Southern New Hampshire University, said many people “forget the ‘being social’ part of social media.” That includes interacting with students, alumni, faculty and others online, sharing their content, and inviting them to engage. “It’s all about empowering people to join the conversation,” Samii explained.
3. Students expect you to be there.
Students have grown up conducting research via social media and purchasing online. Students aren’t just connecting with their friends on social media — they’re following the coffeeshop down the street, sharing videos by their favorite bands and recommending products they love. They’re accustomed to being able to interact with businesses, brands and organizations via social media.
Odds are high that your competitors are on social media, engaging with prospective students. Don’t give them an unnecessary advantage.
Want to learn about how to leverage social media for recruiting? Watch our on-demand webinar, “Getting Social with Admissions,” for guidance on how to create content, connect with your audience and express your brand.