Campus admissions offices cutting back on Facebook

College and university admissions offices, it seems, have reached a saturation point with their use of Facebook as a recruiting and interactive social media tool.

Colleges are looking toward social platforms outside of Facebook.

Facebook, long a key online platform for college admissions officials hoping to interact with students in a familiar environment, is still the most popular social media site in campus admissions offices, with 83 percent of admissions departments maintaining a Facebook presence, according to an annual survey released Dec. 13 by Varsity Outreach.

Admissions offices are spending less time on Facebook, however, due to growing interest in other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram — sites that haven’t traditionally been used to recruit prospective students and communicate with current students.

A closer look at admissions officials who are using Facebook to recruit prospects shows that those who spend the most time on Facebook communicating with potential students are more satisfied with their experience.

One in five respondents who spend less than five hours recruiting students on Facebook every week said they were unsatisfied, while that number dipped to 14 percent for those who recruit on Facebook for more than five hours every week.

The No. 1 challenge for those who said they were unsatisfied with Facebook as a recruitment tool was getting prospective students to join or “like” a school’s Facebook page. Getting students to post or comment on a college’s page was a secondary concern for these respondents.

“Facebook tends to be really good at fostering interactions among people with whom you have an existing relationship – people who have friended your profile, joined your Facebook Group, or liked your Facebook Page. However, it’s not very good at getting people involved in the conversation that are not part of this relationship,” the Varsity Outreach report said.