Student Recruitment – social media in student recruitment

Front cover of Varsity Outreach reportVarsity Outreach, a US-based marketing agency specialising in Facebook marketing for colleges and universities in North America, has just released a survey ‘Facebook in Admissions’ from 150 colleges across the US. The survey, called ‘Facebook and admissions’ contains a good insight into the use and management of social media in student recruitment.

It makes interesting reading because of the insight it gives into the potential complexity of university student recruitment in a competitive marketplace – something that’s going to be more and more topical here as the student cap is lifted. And it’s also relevant to the future of CRM in education, as the student recruitment process becomes more fragmented.

Facebook and Admissions

Here’s some of the headlines that I took away from the report – but I’d heavily recommend reading it yourself as there is so much additional information within it:

  • Four out of five institutions surveyed have an admissions-specific Facebook presence. And Facebook was rated as the most important of the social media options that they used (well ahead of YouTube, blogs, Twitter etc)
  • The major reason quoted for those who don’t an admissions-specific Facebook presence is that they don’t have enough resources to support it. I wonder though if that’s hiding an underlying reason, as for those who do have a presence, 87% have three or less people involved, and in three-quarters of responses, they spend less than 4 hours per week dedicated to it. It was interesting to see that a majority of institutions use current students to help manage their Facebook presence
  • 70% are measuring the performance of their Facebook efforts in some way (Here’s a shocking flipside – it means 30% don’t measure their Facebook presence in any way)
  • The last nugget I’ll mention is that less than one in three institutions had dedicated social media staff, and just one in six had a dedicated social media budget.

My reflection on this survey is that it hints that student recruitment processes through social media currently aren’t well integrated into the ‘mainstream’ student recruitment processes in most institutions. And yet I know that it can be done really well, and monitored and measured effectively. I wonder if Australian institutions are ahead of or behind North American ones?

I’m working on setting up a roundtable discussion in Sydney about the use of CRM in education, and I think that this would make a great discussion topic for it. Anybody interested in participating and sharing their experiences?

Learn MoreDownload the Varsity Outreach Whitepaper – Facebook and Admissions