Social Media International Education Digital Strategy
International education university marketing, recruitment and social media, connecting the dots…? From The Pie International Education News:
‘Social media survey: 1/4 of unis disappoint. Over a quarter of universities contacted in a ‘mystery shopper’ social media survey failed to respond to enquiries from a prospective student, with particularly dismal performances from US and Canadian universities.
The survey, conducted by strategy and research firm International Education Advantage (Intead), monitored how universities responded when contacted via Facebook and Twitter using a profile appearing as a 22 year old Indian resident interested in studying abroad.
Of the 80 institutions surveyed – 50 in the US, 15 in Canada, 10 in Australia and five in New Zealand – a surprising 29% of the institutions surveyed did not respond on either platform.
The study, as in previous years, showed universities in Australia and New Zealand to be “generally more capable than the average US university” when marketing to international students, Intead’s CEO, Michael Waxman-Lenz, told The PIE News.
Australasian universities took an average of 2.04 hours to respond to enquiries, compared with 4.58 hours for Canadian and 22.15 hours for US institutions.
Despite faring well in Intead’s two previous surveys, a third of Canadian universities failed to respond to either message.
Overall institutions responded more quickly to enquiries made via Twitter than Facebook – in 4.22 hours, compared with 11.18 hours – suggesting a tendency to monitor Twitter more closely.
Intead COO Waxman noted a “clear lack of understanding” of how to use Facebook effectively, with many universities treating their pages as “a one-way communication channel”.
“Money and energy are being wasted,” he said.
Universities that impressed in the survey responded not only quickly but engagingly.
“For most institutions, not responding to a student query will quickly disqualify you from a student’s consideration set,” commented Waxman-Lenz. “When making the investment in social media as a marketing channel, a minimal effort simply won’t help you win against your competitors. Staff it or don’t waste your time.”‘
One could add that social media should be part of a holistic marketing and recruitment strategy, with benchmarks, however:
- Students contacting a university may also be speaking with several simultaneously, including agents?
- All commencing and enrolled students know how they found your university, have they been asked how so as to give insight into student decision making?
- Do relevant personal communicate with each other and students, in addition to using web analytics for enlightened and grounded market intelligence?
- Are all communication, marketing and recruitment channels appropriately benchmarked and evaluated for key performance indicators or outcomes?
- Has your online presence or visibility been search engine optimized for maximum utility via linked up (and active) social media, websites and other digital resources, in the ‘empirical field’ e.g. partner institutions, agent websites etc.?
- If international managers have neither required digital skills nor inclusion on job descriptions, do they have access to CPD continuing professional development? For example Google has brief and free online SEO guide accessible to anyone, at minimum those working in education should be capable of learning new skills?
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