Drive Admissions by Getting Social

By Laura Rives — Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 1:00pm

Drive Admissions by Getting Social

While the social media landscape for higher education is consistently evolving, there are several channel-specific best practices that work in getting more fans and more engagement. And let’s face it, your community of prospective students, current students, alumni, and faculty are all congregating on social media channels - so there’s no better time than the present to get social!

To put things in perspective, according to the 2015 E-Expectations Report from Ruffalo Noel-Levitz, 80% of high school seniors said school websites influenced or highly influenced their interest in specific colleges or universities. Additionally, 60% said social media accounts are a source of reliable information. And when asked, seniors said the top three channels for researching colleges are: Facebook (54%), YouTube (31%), and Twitter (27%).

It’s evident that social media marketing can be a game changer. And even though we’re trying to relate to a young and constantly-connected demographic, it’s possible to stay ahead of the curve and use our social media channels in the most impactful ways possible.

Facebook

Facebook is a dominant force in teens’ social media ecosystems. According to a Pew Research Center report on teens and social media, Facebook is the most popular and frequently used social media platform among American teens ages 13-17, with 71% of all teens using the site. Additional findings show that teen Facebook users have an average of 145 friends (100 for boys and 175 for girls).

You can use Facebook to foster relationships by initiating conversations, jumping in to existing conversations, offering helpful advice, and escalating issues to the appropriate person. A few ways to generate buzz include on Facebook:

Show Campus Culture

What does a typical classroom look like? What are the students like? What groups are they passionate about? What can a prospective student expect after enrollment?

Promote Upcoming Events

What exciting live and virtual events are on the horizon? Is there a theatre performance coming up? Or maybe a big game?

Help Students Connect

Are there extracurricular activities that prospective students might enjoy? What’s going on in the classroom, after hours, or on the athletic field that will draw new students out of their dorm room?

YouTube

According to Caylor Solutions, teen viewership on YouTube is up as they desire scannable, rich media content that addresses an immediate need. If your school doesn’t have any videos, start creating them! They don’t need to be professionally produced or long  (1 or 2 minutes is best). A few ways to boost YouTube viewership include:

Show Scholarship Opportunities

What scholarship opportunities are available to students? Which funds are traditionally under consumed? How can students apply?

Explain How to Apply

Are there steps in the application process where prospective students consistently make errors? Is there an opportunity to eliminate the burden of your admissions team answering redundant application questions?

Highlight Different Areas of Focus

What are the current and past student and alumni success stories? Do you have successful alumni to spotlight?

Twitter

According to thePew study on teens and social media, 33% of American teens ages 13-17 maintain a Twitter account. 8% of older teens (ages 15 to 17) cite Twitter as their most often used social media platform. A few ways to spark conversation on Twitter include:   

Encourage Real-Time Dialogue

Are you able to respond quickly to questions? Do prospective students and parents have an easy way to connect with peers or interest groups?

Reward Brand Advocates

Are there people who frequently tweet in support of your school and its activities? This behavior often rubs off on their peers, so consider rewarding them by posting their content on your website.

Reach Targeted Groups

How do you reach targeted groups with specific messages? How do cultivate niche discussions?

What about you? How do you use your social media channels to attract candidates to your organization and drive admissions?

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