Successful college recruiting has become a mystery to many universities and lots of schools have started to wonder if they should ditch their traditional recruiting of mailing brochures and switch to using social media to entice college bound students. Two of the biggest social media tools are Facebook and Twitter and colleges all over the country have started to try to utilize these channels to show their schools personality and attract the attention of new students.
The better twitter accounts give followers with interactive hashtags, provide conversations with followers and show and retweet lots of pictures. Some of the best university twitter accounts are the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky.
- The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, whose twitter handle is @UTKnoxville, uses the #bigorangefridays and encourages fans to use the hashtag and submit a picture of themselves showing school spirit.
- The University of Kentucky, whose twitter handle is @universityofky, interacts with its followers by giving individual shout outs to newly accepted students and consistently retweets followers pictures. The University of Kentucky also uses their See Blue recruiting campaign on their twitter through pictures and hashtag campaigns.
- The University of Alabama, whose handle is @UofAlabama, has substantial following on Twitter, but only uses their account to provide links to their own articles and proves to have no personality. There are barely any pictures, few videos and no conversation between followers.
The University of Alabama’s twitter account should take direction from the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee in order to make their accounts more interactive in order to keep fans happy and show the schools personality to prospective students.
Facebook may be getting the reputation of being outdated, but many colleges have hundreds of thousands of likes on their pages proving Facebook is just as relevant as ever. Auburn University has 279,794 likes on its official Facebook page, which seems like a lot, but Louisiana State University wins by a long shot with 780,442 likes. What both Auburn and LSU do on their Facebook pages is utilize the power of a picture. Both of these universities post more pictures than just articles in order to get attention. Auburn consistently does cameos on alumni and students and shows Auburn’s involvement in other things like Nascar, the NFL and the Olympics.
Auburn’s Facebook keeps it fun by posting super-zoomed pictures of parts of buildings on campus and asking fans to locate what building the picture is of, this contest type atmosphere keeps fans coming back to the page to not only to find out the answer but to see what will happen next.
LSU does something that not many other schools do, they let fans post pictures and comments onto their wall. By having a public wall LSU is cultivating a community atmosphere making fans feel their voice matters. Both Auburn and LSU have utilized Facebook as a successful recruiting tool by having it not only appeal to their current fans and alumni, but attracting new students and fans by showing their schools involvement and personality.
The University of Kentucky’s Facebook page also provides student cameos and alumni articles, but takes their Facebook page a step ahead by having a video and inspirational quote of the week.
Prospective college students come from a technology driven generation and their recruiting preferences have changed from their predecessors. These students are sick of having brochures and flyers thrust on them like useless junk mail and want their information to be digital and interactive. The most social media savvy schools have the ability to both show their schools personality while maintaining a professional image and to engage prospective students by their cool posts and witty tweets. Understanding how to use social media successfully is necessary for colleges and universities to recruit strong students and high numbers, and if colleges don’t get on board with this digital revolution they are at risk of becoming obsolete.
Author: Katie FitzGerald is our Fall Community Manager here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.