Research led by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes of the Center for Marketing Research found that colleges and universities increasingly are using social media, especially social networking sites both to recruit and to learn more about prospective students. (High school juniors, take note!)
The findings are based on 456 interviews with a public (28 percent) and private institutions (72 percent) in all 50 states.
Among the takeaways:
- 100 percent of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media. This total acceptance represents a 39 percent increase since 2007-2008, and reflects year-over-year steady growth.
- Facebook is the most popular platform, with 98 percent of respondents reporting having a Facebook page (up from 87 percent last year). Eighty-four percent have a school Twitter account (up from 59 percent), and 66 percent have a blog (up from 51 percent). Podcasting rose from 22 percent to 41 percent in just one year.
- Admissions professionals are using LinkedIn. Nearly half (47 percent) of admissions professionals are using LinkedIn, up from just 16 percent last year. Eighty-six percent are using YouTube, and 20 percent are using Foursquare. Message board and video blogging use remains roughly unchanged at 37 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
- Colleges and universities remain committed to their blogs. While Fortune 500 companies and Forbes Top Charities are reporting a leveling off of blogging, higher ed adoption has grown significantly in the past year. At most schools, the IT department sets up the blog, and the admissions office or marketing and public relations manages it.
When asked about the social media marketing success, most schools gave it an “A.” The breakdown is as follows:
- Facebook: 95 percent success
- YouTube: 92 percent success
- Foursquare: 61 percent success
Not surprisingly, the exception was MySpace, which showed a decrease in perceived success from 42 percent to 34 percent.
I find it interesting to look at these trends in relation to what happens in the classroom. There, professors strongly prefer YouTube over Facebook and Twitter. This is a small reminder to avoid generalizing too much about social media within a given industry. Different tools have their different purposes and places.
Another result worth noting: While schools are flocking to social media for recruiting, they’re less diligent about paying attention to what people are saying about them online.
According to the research, the percentage who monitor the internet for buzz, posts, conversations and news about their institution dropped from a high of 73 percent in 2009 to 68 percent in the latest study.
This unexpected finding contrasts with other industries, which seem to be listening intently.
Tags: B2C social media, blogging, blogs, brand, digital marketing, Facebook, LinkedIn, marketing, social media, social media listening, social media marketing, social media research, social media strategy, socialmedia, Twitter, YouTube