Experts: Go all in with Facebook for college admissions—or don’t bother

“They can be smarter about what they’re doing each year when they understand what got people involved,” Rothbaum said, adding that the most successful schools mapped out Facebook activity spikes as they posted items, questions, and comments on the admissions page.

Varsity Outreach suggested colleges create Facebook Pages that counselors can manage, rather than personal profiles.

“It helps avoid the awkwardness of a student friending a counselor or vice versa,” the survey said. “And the potential of an inappropriate picture or post leading to much stiffer consequences than expected.”

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in August released a study that indicates significant changes in recruiting tactics as higher education warms up to social media.

The newly released data show for the first time that using social media cuts costs for college recruiters, and as a result, 86 percent of surveyed schools plan to increase investments in these tools during the next year.

From November to May of the 2011-12 school year, researchers conducted 570 interviews with admissions officers at four-year undergraduate schools. Schools included in the survey sample were 22 percent public and 78 percent private, and represented a range of enrollment sizes and tuition costs.

“Social media is increasingly becoming the preferred way college-aged students obtain and absorb news today. Having a presence on social media outlets allows colleges to honestly be in the discussion when students are leveraging where to apply and enroll,” said Jeff Fuller, director of student recruitment at the University of Houston.