Friday Five: Social media and student recruitment, according to #SocAdm14

This week’s Friday Five comes to you thanks to Mallory Wood of mStoner, who recently shared (via mStoner’s “Intelligence” e-newsletter) some key points from the 2014 Social Admissions Report from Chegg, Zinch and Uversity. In her email, Mallory shares five great data points from the research, all of which support her assertion that admissions marketers should “put your visitors (prospective students) in direct contact with current students, other admitted students, and admission counselors” through your social media channels, rather than trying to mediate the relationship through more traditional PR and marketing approaches like “second-hand stories and student testimonials.”

From the #SocAdm14 report: How often prospective students report using various social media platforms. Instagram and Twitter come out on top. LinkedIn and Snapchat are practically irrelevant.
From the #SocAdm14 report: How often prospective students report using various social media platforms. Use of Instagram exploded between 2012 and 2013.

But it would be too easy to merely repost mStoner’s five points. So I dug into the data to bring you five other interesting takeaways from that report. As for mStoner’s five takeaways, they’re embedded in this post by Michael Stoner, who got a sneak peek at the data prior to release. (He has connections.) But you should also sign up for mStoner’s Intelligence newsletter so you don’t miss out next time. That’s the intelligent thing to do.

Key takeaways: 2014 Social Admissions Report

  1. Prospective students are connecting to your institution on social media. The percentage of students who follow official social media accounts grew by nearly 47 percent between 2012 and 2013 (from 49 percent to 72 percent). That would suggest that your official social media presence is important for student recruitment.
  2. They’re checking you out on mobile, too. Ninety-seven percent of the prospective students surveyed for this report say they’ve looked at a college or university’s website on a smartphone or tablet. (OK, I did re-use one of Mallory’s bullet points. But it was worth repeating.) As the report says, “Mobile is not the future. Mobile is now.”
  3. McKayla Maroney makes a cameo appearance in the report.
    McKayla Maroney makes a cameo appearance in the report.

    But they are not impressed. According to this research, nearly two-thirds of those students who viewed our websites on mobile devices said the experience was “OK” at best or “challenging.”

  4. Ditch the mobile app. Three-quarters of the students said they wouldn’t download an app for a school they were researching. So don’t bother.
  5. They’d rather talk to students and counselors. Nearly three-quarters of students (74 percent) surveyed said it was either important or very important for them to talk to currently enrolled students in social media. Sixty-nine percent said the same about admissions counselors. They don’t care that much about talking to faculty, alumni or administrators.

Want to talk about this research on Twitter? Or see what others are saying about it? Use the hashtag #SocAdm14.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

2 thoughts on “Friday Five: Social media and student recruitment, according to #SocAdm14”

  1. Excellent takeaways. So maybe time to ditch the mobile app for a YouTube channel connecting prospects to student stories? Anybody had success with admissions Hangout-type chats?

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