For Admissions Officers, social media has always been a bit of a mystery. Or, as Principle Analyst at Eduventures, Kim Reid more aptly describes it in her EDUVENTURES Wake Up! blog post entitled “Tap into Undergraduate Market Segments with Social Media, a “conundrum.” Higher Ed marketers have witnessed firsthand the unprecedented growth of social media over the past ten years even as they’ve sought to leverage these social platforms as a recruitment tool. The meteoric rise in its use….has created an increasingly complex climate. According to the Pew Research Center for Internet, Science, and Technology, 12% of 18-29 year olds used social media networks in 2005, compared to 90% in 2015.
Clearly this is a channel that offers an important opportunity to reach prospective students. The problem is there are more and more social media platforms coming online all the time. In fact, as Reid points out, “in 2011 there were 74 major social media outlets as compiled by the website Practical Ecommerce. As of 2015 there are 91 platforms available through which to connect.”
While schools have long accepted the need for a strong social media presence, reaching out through such a vast number of sites is unmanageable. Making the most of limited resources is an issue at most schools. Not to mention that customizing campaigns for such a wide and varied audience would be impossible. The question then, as Reid asks it is, “How can you use social media to do so most effectively? “
Using results from a 2015 Eduventures Survey of Admitted Students, Reid tells us that 57% of respondents reported using social media “expressly” to search for colleges, and 54% of respondents say their interactions through social media “positively influenced” their enrollment choices. To help us narrow our social media focus, Reid identifies the top five sites most commonly used by those surveyed.
- 50% - Facebook
- 32% - Instagram
- 31% - Twitter
- 28% - YouTube
- 21% - Google+
Reid goes on to offer advice on how to maximize social media outreach and avoid redundancy. She provides guidance on making the most of the big five to reach underrepresented minorities who are more likely to us Google+ than Facebook. Reid encourages what she calls exploration of the different platforms outside the top 5 established sites particularly when searching outside the US, but also cautions recruiters against spreading those valuable resources too thin.
Read more findings along with their straightforward and simple approach to making the most of your recruitment efforts on social media.