Universities still have a way to go to ensure that their social media presence is seen as a credible source of information for prospective students, The Guardian’s Higher Education Network reports. Our research, conducted with online student community The Student Room, surveyed over 300 potential and current students about what information sources or channels influenced their choice of university. We found that although 65% of students use social media channels several times a day, students rated universities’ social media presence as less influential and less trustworthy than more traditional sources such as prospectuses or open days. Prospective students are keen to engage with their university through social media channels, with one fifth of students saying that universities don’t make enough use of social media in recruitment, which meant they currently didn’t expect or look for information there. What’s more, many of the students we surveyed were clueless that their chosen university even had a Twitter or Facebook account – showing that there is a need for universities to ensure their social media presence is clearly signposted to attract the widest audience.

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