Universities not taking full advantage of digital marketing
- Recruiting in higher education remains rooted in conventional approaches that don't take advantage of students’ affinity and familiarity with social media and digital marketing, Ready4 Founder and CEO Elad Shoushan argues in eCampus News.
- Shoushan cites research indicating that only 15.7% of private universities and 16.8% of public universities employ an individual whose sole focus is on social media, despite the fact that 67% of students reportedly use social media in making their college selection, and 75% say it is a significant influence in their choice.
- Further research indicated that universities, particularly private ones, were not marketing their institutions via mobile apps or mobile sites, with 23.6% of private universities using mobile channels in contrast with 45.8% of public universities taking advantage of the strategy.
The article aptly stresses the importance of utilizing mobile messaging and social media in marketing for educational institutions. In 2015, Pew Research found that 90% of people between the ages of 18 to 29 used social media, in comparison to just 12% ten years before. Universities should not be surprised if their inability to recognize and react to such a seismic shift results in lower enrollment and applications.
The use of digital communication and social media can have a profound effect on colleges’ interactions with international students, not just in marketing but for the entire application process. The article states that international student enrollment in U.S. schools jumped by 78% in the past decade, and universities spend profusely on recruiting international students, but tend to invest in trips to interview potential applicants and other non-digital approaches. Utilizing social media could cut down on recruiting costs and help universities reach qualified applicants who they may not have otherwise discovered by engaging via conventional marketing means.
The possibilities are plentiful. Texas A&M University debuted virtual reality campus tours this week, so students who might not otherwise be able to visit have a chance to see the campus for themselves. As many universities are reporting a drop in college applications from international students this year, it is all the more important for colleges to strengthen the marketing strategies to reach those applicants.