Social media is vastly changing the way students research and evaluate schools—making social media marketing an essential component of the college recruiting process.
As marketers, we inhabit a constantly changing environment. Our job requires the ability to stay up to date with the times, embracing new technologies, anticipating new trends, creating innovative ideas, and taking risks. We cannot afford to wait and see if a technology catches on, as other companies will not. By waiting you risk the momentum and energy a revolutionary idea brings, and the chance to be a part of something new.
Oftentimes, the ivory tower is slow to accept new trends. There is a common belief that knowledge stems from books and that technology—especially social media networks— distract and dilute from the learning environment. Reynol Junco, a professor at Lock Haven University, expresses a prevailing belief among professors: “The assumption from faculty is that students are on Facebook and not doing anything else, and taking all their time away from study.”
There is a pervading amount of undeniable evidence demonstrating that college students spend a significant amount of time on social media sites. However, schools that ignore and underutilize social media marketing channels, miss an invaluable opportunity to engage students. You can use social media marketing to promote guest lectures, upcoming events, seminars, cultural gatherings, and school related news. You can also use it to stimulate discussions and promote activism among fellow students. College Facebook advertising and social media marketing enable students to connect with each other and faculty members about academically relevant issues in a format they love.
Social media marketing is a necessary part of the recruiting process, as teens are heavily absorbed with social media sites. In fact, social media is vastly changing the way students research and evaluate schools:
According to a survey conducted by Zinch, about two-thirds of high school students use social media to research colleges, and more than one-third of those students use social media to help decide where to enroll. It’s a channel that provides colleges with an effective way to keep their audience of current students informed while targeting prospective teens who are embarking on one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
This demonstrates just how vital a social media presence is for prospective students. Utilizing social media marketing with traditional recruiting practices will enhance your college marketing recruitment strategy. You can also create a college Facebook page specifically for prospective students and recently admitted students. This will allow them to feel like they are special and part of a community.
This small gesture can have a great affect on your college marketing plan and recruiting efforts. Students will tell their friends who are interested in their university, to check out the Facebook page for prospective students. The Facebook page will feel more personal; it will act as a forum for interested students to learn more about the university. This college marketing technique can be easily adapted by graduate schools and study abroad programs looking to attract more qualified applicants. Embrace social media marketing and use it to connect with today’s youth!
 Sternberg, Josh. “Social Media’s Slow Slog Into the Ivory Towers of Academia”. The Atlantic. 2 Sept, 2011. <http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/social-medias-slow-slog-into-the-ivory-towers-of-academia/244483/>
 Murphy, Brian. “How Colleges Can Engage Prospective Students Socially”. MediaPost. 9 May, 2013. <http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/199919/how-colleges-can-engage-prospective-students-socia.html#axzz2T8HYbUuS>