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10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

10 Social Media Dos and

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

Social media has become fashionable in the marketing world; The must-have solution for all marketing challenges.

It’s cheap, fast, and close to saturation in some age groups.

But leveraging social media marketing – the art and science of getting your message across using this online

ecosystem – isn’t as simple as creating a Facebook page. Your ability to shape the views of prospective students,

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

current students and alumni in this online world is largely determined by the social authority your message carries.

In other words, successful social media marketing campaigns depend on market trust in your messenger.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s the same trust process we use as admissions professionals when we visit high

schools, work with college counselors, and host alumni-sponsored events in remote cities. The only differences are

the distribution channel and the types of trusted sources. For social media, the distribution channel is web-based

(via a social media site) and reliable sources tend to be students and peers rather than adult authority figures.

In this playbook, we outline how colleges can leverage their existing resources to create an effective social media

marketing strategy. We’ll also guide you on “do’s” and “don’ts” to get your message heard as you develop your brand identity.

Why should you care?

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

So why should college registrars be interested in all this social media business? Because your expectations matter – a lot!

According to a recent EDUCAUSE study[1], social media use has approached saturation levels, with 95 percent of 18-

to 19-year-old college students using social media sites regularly. Facebook still takes the lead, with 80 percent of 18-

24 year olds checking in multiple times a day. Social media touches almost every aspect of these students’ lives.

It has become the primary way for today’s students to stay in touch with each other and the world.

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

This is where their attention is focused and where they first look for information, including details about colleges.

These trends have a direct impact on college admissions because high school students are increasingly turning to

social media rather than a college website when they start looking for a school.Mixed sites with titles like “Ten ways

to use social media to pick a college”[2] are the new equivalent of the college section at your local bookstore.

In a recent study by Noel Levitz[3], 74 percent of college-bound high school seniors said they thought colleges should

Eighty-one percent of these students admitted to relying on formal and informal online content about colleges during their search process.

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

Yet despite this obvious shift to social media content, college marketers haven’t been able to keep up.

The study also showed that only 26 percent of private four-year institutions deliberately use social media resources in their marketing efforts.

To make your voice heard, you must meet your expectations on their court. Social media is the foundation and future

of modern college recruiting and marketing because it is their domain. The ultimate goal is to have your messages

received by the marketplace and delivered spontaneously – and often exponentially – by trusted sources.

You want your message to go viral! (“Going Viral” means that an image, video, or link is shared with a few people so

that it spreads quickly through a population; social media makes that sharing easy.)

Now, a little background.

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

3 Parts of Social Media

Since the early days of the Internet, people have viewed online communities as a reliable source of peer-based

information. It started with the original dial-up systems of the 1970s – remember the “moderators”? – and later

evolved into web-based communities filled with “collaborative filtering” websites in the 1980s and 1990s. While th

10 Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Higher Education Enrollment

tools and technology for engaging in online conversations have certainly evolved, the underlying process is pretty

much the same as it was 30 years ago. Similarly, effectiveness and ability to shape opinions still depend on the

credibility of those who serve as key opinion leaders (KOLs) online.

Fast forward to today.

Modern online communities have evolved into an ecosystem teeming with millions of fan pages, blogs, and tweets.

Facebook alone claims over 700 million users, with over 50 percent of them logging in every day. This growth turns

unknown hobbies on the internet into a marketer’s dream.

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