Is Your Social Media Presence Viewed as a Credible Information Source for Prospective Students?

BLOG POST

BLOG POST
October 2013

While social media marketing can be a more cost-effective option, especially for smaller universities on a tight budget, it’s still vital to get the most out of your efforts. A recent online study revealed that one-fifth of university students polled felt that universities didn’t use social media marketing effectively or function as a credible source of information for prospective students. This isn’t good news for university marketing managers or the agencies helping them, but there is hope.

BLOG POST

Is Your Social Media Presence Viewed as a Credible Information Source for Prospective Students?

While social media marketing can be a more cost-effective option, especially for smaller universities on a tight budget, it’s still vital to get the most out of your efforts. A recent online study revealed that one-fifth of university students polled felt that universities didn’t use social media marketing effectively or function as a credible source of information for prospective students. This isn’t good news for university marketing managers or the agencies helping them, but there is hope.

Prospective students want to engage with universities to learn more about them and all that’s offered. On the other side, universities want to attract prospective students and engage them with informative, relevant social media marketing. Yet the online study revealed that many prospective students aren’t even aware that the university of their choice has a Facebook or Twitter page. Of those that were aware of their university’s social media presence, many found the information provided to be irrelevant.

What can university marketing departments do to ensure that the time and money they invest in social media marketing isn’t wasted on campaigns that fall flat or fade into cyberspace? Although the use of traditional marketing methods continues to be employed by universities, these methods are on the decline while social media marketing is on the rise. Clearly, increased effectiveness with social media marketing is essential for universities that want their online presence to be impactful in the prospective student community.

 

Increase the Credibility and Usefulness of Your Online Presence

  • Integrate All Marketing Methods. Similar to a three-legged stool, your university’s marketing methods should work together, providing balance to your student recruitment campaign. A weak, ineffective social media campaign creates instability by impacting the university’s credibility. Integrate in a way that makes sense. For instance, advertise an open day with flyers and printed advertisements while also promoting the open day through social media.
  • Provide Useful Information at All Stages. The heads of university marketing departments with successful social media marketing campaigns are finding that it’s vital to provide prospective students with useful information at all stages of the recruitment process. Some students might be influenced by social media marketing during their initial search. While others find that a university’s social media marketing campaign helps them make their final choice. To provide the credibility sought by prospective students, it’s imperative to maintain a consistent presence throughout the recruitment process by providing information that’s relevant every step of the way.
  • Market Your Marketing Methods. To be fully effective, your online presence must be easy to find and steadily growing in visitors or followers. Prospective students won’t know that your university is on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest if you don’t tell them. Include this information on all forms of traditional marketing and during face-to-face or telephone conversations.
  • Invite Conversation and Interaction. Providing useful, credible information to students throughout all phases of recruitment is an important first step. But, alone, it’s not enough. Once you attract potential students, it’s important to keep them engaged while inviting interaction. Pose questions and encourage comments and responses. When followers comment on your social media posts or ask questions, ensure a timely response so the momentum of the interaction isn’t lost.

Changing the Numbers

Nearly two-thirds of students use social media venues repeatedly on a daily basis. Yet, these students find that universities’ social media presence is less trustworthy and influential than traditional marketing methods. These numbers need to be changed because being viewed as less than credible can translate into a loss of students at recruitment time.

When the simple strategies above are implemented with consistency, they can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of your university’s marketing campaign. Use them in conjunction with your traditional marketing methods and with the professional support of a marketing agency. Sixty percent of universities intend to increase their investments in social media marketing. Are you on-board for this trend? If so, you’ll want to ensure your social media presence is relevant and influential at every stage of student recruitment.

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