student recruitment

Are you using social media for student recruitment? You should be

A new survey tracks how institutions use various social media platforms for engagement and student recruitment

Higher-ed institutions should try to invest more in digital presence and digital student recruitment strategies, according to a new survey.

Although students primarily use web and social media channels to research a particular college or university, the investment in digital and web recruiting varies by institution. In fact, students often make their final application decisions based solely on online information.

The 2018 Global Higher Education Digital Marketing & Web Survey, from TERMINALFOUR, examines digital marketing, web, and social-media trends, along with their perceived effectiveness in engagement and student recruitment when used by higher education institutions.

The survey includes responses from 432 higher-ed professionals in 383 institutions across the globe.

Higher-ed recruiting professionals expect Facebook and Instagram to be their top social-media recruiting platforms, though Facebook appears to be falling out of favor. In 2017, 62 percent of those surveyed said it was the top platform for student engagement, while just 45 percent believe the same this year.

In 2017, just 20 percent of survey respondents believed Instagram had top ability to engage prospective students, while 36 percent of respondents say the same this year.

In fact, 32 percent of those surveyed say Instagram will be the social-media platform they give the most attention to in the next 12 months. In 2017, 54 percent of respondents said they would give Facebook the most attention, and this year, just 36 percent say the same.

Behind Facebook and Instagram are YouTube (8.2 percent), Twitter (7.1 percent), LinkedIn (4.5 percent), and Snapchat (3.7 percent).

Investment in digital recruiting strategies are still low, despite a positive impact on student recruitment.

Just 22 percent of respondents say they have increased their investment in digital marketing in the last two years, despite the fact that 85 percent say student recruitment is the primary objective of their web strategy. Forty-two percent, however, are unsure of the numbers behind that primary goal. Forty-five percent of web and digital marketing teams say they have increased in size since 2017.

Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed say they measure web-strategy success based on inquiries from prospective students generated online. Thirty-two percent don’t track this activity.

In 2017, close to 35 percent of those surveyed said their online/web strategy was decided by a collaboration between web and marketing teams, but that declined to about 23 percent in 2018. The communications and marketing teams have exclusive ownership of online/web strategies in about 32 percent of responding institutions.

Laura Ascione