a smartphone with tons of social media icons floating above it

It’s time for social-media recruitment

A recent survey tracks how higher ed uses social media for student recruitment

TERMINALFOUR’s 2018 Global Higher Education Digital Marketing & Web Survey examines digital marketing, web, and social-media trends, along with their perceived effectiveness in engagement and student recruitment.

The survey, which includes responses from 432 higher-ed professionals in 383 institutions across the globe, shows that higher ed should try to invest more in digital presence and social-media recruitment strategies–particularly because students often make their final application decisions based solely on online information.

Social-media recruitment

Higher-ed recruiters expect Facebook and Instagram to be their top social-media recruiting platforms, though Facebook may be falling out of favor. In 2017, 62 percent of those surveyed said it was the top platform for student engagement; that number dropped to 45 percent in 2018.

In 2017, 20 percent of survey respondents believed Instagram had top ability to engage prospective students, but 36 percent of respondents chose Instagram in 2018.

In fact, 32 percent said 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; last year, that dropped to 36 percent.

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

Digital recruitment

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

Only 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