Question: Why Social Media Becoming a Secret Weapon in College Recruiting
According to sigmaessays the recruiting process has already changed greatly over the past decades – and now it’s probably the time for it to change again. The growth and development of social media affected students greatly, allowing them not only to network with peers but also to learn more about various colleges, to contact the students studying there, and to get a better understanding of the culture of these colleges. Just like job seekers turn to LinkedIn profile makeover services, willing to improve their profile to land a desired job, students reach out to both peers and college representatives, trying to decide which college is going to benefit them the most.
Moreover, it’s not a minor amount of students I’m talking about. In 2010, Pew Research Center published a statistic, according to which 73% of young Americans aged 12-17 were using social media daily. By now this statistic is probably even more impressive. And so many college recruiters began adjusting the recruiting process, trying to make the most out of these changes. So how does it work for them?
Benefits of college recruiting through social media
The students do trust social media a lot these days. That’s why for colleges social media can become a great tool to reach students, to make a certain impression, and to establish a connection with talented candidates (which is extremely important for athletic departments).
1. Raising Awareness.
Sure, students can get some information about a college by studying their website, paying an on-campus visit, and so on. However, social media presence can give them even more valuable insights on college life and culture.
The goal here is to give students some information that can hardly be found on the official website but is still considered important. This could be some updates about the upcoming college events, both formal and entertaining, information about various facilities, etc.
2. Making Connections with Talented Students.
Sometimes the college is willing to get a certain student. In this case contacting them on social media can give you an advantage of the other colleges. It’s important to make this connection as early as possible so both you and the student would have more time to get to know each other.
3. Providing Information.
Despite the basic information can be easily found on any college’s official website, students and their parents might still have some questions left unanswered. Social media give them the opportunity to ask these questions directly to college representatives and to receive answers. Colleges benefit from it too, maintaining their reputation by providing quick and detailed feedback.
4. Checking out Talented Students.
Just like students can use social media to check out their colleges of interest, colleges can use social media to find out more about talented students they’re interested in. And sometimes the results could be quite unexpected.
While students do rely on social media a lot, not all of them actually understand how big impact their profiles can have on their future. Sometimes studying a social media profile could be enough to turn down a candidate, no matter how perspective did it look. However, college does benefit even from these upsetting cases.
Of course, in order for this to work, a college needs to develop the right social media strategy and stick to it. Here’s how you can do that.
How to develop a recruiting social media strategy?
1. Choose the Right Social Media.
Generally speaking, Instagram, Pinterest, and other image-based social media aren’t a good fit for college recruiting. There isn’t a research to show that these resources are a decent source of traffic for colleges’ websites.
LinkedIn isn’t usually a good fit too. While it was considered a social media originally, it is focused mainly on job search, becoming some sort of a job board these days. While your potential students might be present there, usually it’s unlikely as they are too young.
However, sometimes the final choice doesn’t depend on general rules. It is important to know your audience in order to choose the right social media for your strategy. For example, if you are an art college, there’s a possibility that your potential students are more active and present on Instagram, not on Facebook.
2. Form a Team.
Though colleges indeed do their best to adjust their recruiting strategies to social media, for many of them the whole concept is quite new. That’s why it’s so important to form a team consisting of both recruiting and social media specialists. While recruiters sure know how to do their job well, they still might need the help of social media specialists, who know how to present the information and to reach people online in the most effective way.
3. Define a Strategy.
Now that’s the most challenging part of the process. In order to do this right, you have to evaluate your current situation thoroughly.
Are you already building a strong social media presence or does it sound like a completely new concept? In the first case, it’s important to come up with a list of things you’re already doing in order to avoid repeating them. After all, you wouldn’t want to invest money and time in duplicating your efforts.
Another important thing is to check out your competitors and to find out what are they doing as a part of their social media strategy. Maybe they are presented on a couple of social media, while you are focused on one only. Maybe they’re doing something that gives them an amazing result. Maybe they try using a type of content you never thought you could use.
After that, check out the most innovative colleges in your field. While it’s important to know what your competitors are working on at the moment, in the end, you have to learn from the best. Study the tools and strategies they use and think how to add them to your own social media strategy.
Of course, you have to be smart and careful here. Don’t simply add the tools you consider successful – find a way to adjust them to your college, to make them more unique.
Being present on social media and recruiting via them not simply means that you are trying to keep up with time (though you’ll definitely look more modern while doing so). The most important thing about that is taking a step towards your potential students. Sure, they will still be coming to take on-campus tours, they’ll still visit your website. But with being present on social media you’ll make sure that the conversation isn’t one-sided anymore. The students won’t only come to you – you’ll come to them too, finding them in a place they feel the most comfortable: on social media.
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